I love this TED Talk from Pam Warhurst, founder of Incredible Edible, an initiative in Todmorden, England dedicated to growing food locally by planting on unused land throughout the community.
Although I first watched it ages ago, Sue from Daily Echo reminded me of it the other day. It was one of the inspirations behind the birth of the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm (along with our raging desire for tasty and beautiful produce in North Texas).
Please have a watch. Even if you aren’t too keen about digging up your own front yard, if you see your neighbors doing it, hopefully you will encourage them. Besides, if you do, they’ll probably give you some of their bounty.
It’s raining tonight here in North Texas. I’m glad for the water and the pollen scrub. My allergies have been going so insane that my boss gently suggested that three weeks of being snotty is not normal and I should get checked out before I hop on a plane. Turns out we are having some of the worst allergy conditions ever. Hopefully the rain washes away some of the ick. The rain barrels are full again. And I don’t need to water the Urban Farm tomorrow.
We are not digging up our front yard and planting food. We have too many trees and lovely native North Texas plants. But we will continue to add to the backyard!
I don’t ask much of you (beyond reading). Please watch this awesome TED Talk by Ron Finley so you’ll understand why I’m so fired up*:
I agree with Ron that we need to make gardening sexy. Not just for the obese residents of a food desert. Not just for bored teens with nothing to do. Not just for the homeless.
We need to make it sexy for everyone. And take back the simple act of growing some of our own food. Anything. A pot of herbs is an excellent start and very practical even for space-constrained city dwellers, little kids, or even those with a black thumb. You like basil? Grow some!
I love the idea of being a garden gangster, an eco-lutionary. Picture my swagger as I put on my headlamp to water the seedlings tonight! Watch my lean as I pull out the weeds and water! I love that a it’s a defiant act to tear up the lawn and plant some deliciousness.
Gardening IS without a doubt the most therapeutic thing that I have done. It beats the hell out of yoga, as much as I loved that. Even better a good run. Give me a backache from weeding verses a pulled calf muscle any old day. It pushes the crappy days out of me and clears my mind so I can be a better solution provider. A harder worker. A nicer person.
Plus, I’m much more artistic about it than I ever was with cake decorating or pretty much any craft I’ve done. When I’m outside with my hands in the dirt or with the watering can in my hand, I feel more alive than ever. I’m contributing. I’m improving the air. I’m putting effort into something that I will receive back tenfold. A gift I can share with my family. And something I can share with friends and neighbors and have it gratefully received because we all have to eat and vegetables don’t make you fat. Unlike my baking.
So now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go grab the 3G Network, head outside, and water the crops. And think about planting some more shit.
*A big thank you to Brandy Slater (aka The Grammar Belle) for thinking of me today and posting this marvelous TED Talk on my Facebook page. You were right when you said one of the best lines was “Growin’ your own food is like printin’ our own money.” I certainly feel rich these days.
On this Valentine’s Day eve, I’m going to share a big secret with you: I write love letters. They’re to someone other than my husband, Bruce.
I write them frequently too. Usually once a month, but several times a month if I’m asked. And sometimes, when the spirit moves me, I write them and leave them places. In those annoying pockets on an airplane. In restaurants. In a dressing room. In a magazine I abandon at the airport. In a hotel lobby. Sometimes even at work. And I always have some sort of notecard or paper plus my trusty assortment of Sharpies on hand for emergencies. Shhh. Please don’t tell or you’ll blow my cover.
You see, I’m a secret (love letter) agent. I enlisted back in September during a typical dining al desko lunch break. I watched a TED talk featuring a woman named Hannah Brencher. She founded an organization of love letter writers called moreloveletters.com. So I joined it.
Once a month, Hannah’s team asks me (and scores of other people all over the globe) to share words of love, hope, support, friendship, inspiration, motivation, and care with people we don’t even know and will never meet.
Here’s what Hannah says about her organization:
“We’re going to tell you that we write and mail love letters, handwritten love letters, to strangers in need all over the world. We’re going to invite you to request a love letter for someone in your life who needs one. And we’re going to insist that you step out of your own shoes of Comfort & join us. You are going to think we are a bit crazy. A tad loopy. But you’ve been looking for a website that leaks love all this time… so we aren’t worried you’ll leave us.”
You’ll probably want to check out moreloveletters.com on your own if you want more details. No point in cutting and pasting their content here.
I’d like to say I’m not in this for myself and that my heart is completely pure and selfless while I write. But it’s not. What I really liked about joining moreloveletters.com was that it was an easy way to take a few minutes out of my busy month and do something nice for someone who really needs to a boost.
Selfishly, I usually write the love letters during lunch at work when my day is going particularly wonky and I need to remind myself of what’s really important. On those days when I need to breathe. When I need to think and not speak.
Perhaps if I was a smoker, I’d take a smoke break. Instead, it’s a writing break. Taking those few minutes to pen some encouraging words and tell someone that they matter and that things will get better for them, makes me feel better too.
Writing the letters has also made me more aware of the power of the pen. Of course, people can write terrible, hateful things. Things that they’d never in a million years say to that person’s face. But you can also write wonderful things. Loving things. Hopeful things. Uplifting things. Joyful things. Comforting things.
So on this Valentine’s Day eve, I ask you to do one thing for me tomorrow. You love birds might not have a lot of time, but do it anyway. Even if your heart is hard because romance hasn’t gone your way lately, go about your day with love.
When you pick up your morning coffee, thank your barista with a smile.
Greet your coworkers like you’d want to be greeted by them.
Hug your kids and furry family members extra tight.
And on this silly Hallmark holiday, maybe consider leaving a little anonymous note where someone who really needs a boost can find it. You’d make someone’s day. And yours too.
PS: Please don’t worry about Bruce. He will get a real “from the wife” Valentine love note sometime tomorrow even though he hates this made up event. Remember, I like writing.