Cali Tour 2013 Reaches 3,000 Students!

Yesterday I taught at the last school on our 2013 California Spring Tour. Children of the Night is both a school and a shelter, rescuing victims of child-prostitution. It was really wonderful to share with these girls how powerful they actually are, and how much they influence their bodies and the world by the choices they make regarding food. After an active 1 hr discussion global food sustainability, we went outside and revived their garden. What a joy it was to see their eyes light up when I put living seeds into their hands. Or to see how quickly the moved from disgust to excitement as the worked the soil, discovering worms and other crawly things. I felt so grateful to our sponsors for enabling us to provide this educational opportunity to these girls.

On Monday and Tuesday, we taught at Bethune Middle School, near South Central L.A. Once we got through the rowdiness that comes from being outside and exploring something new, I found the students to have a surprising amount of knowledge, most of which even they didn’t know they possessed. When I first asked them how we make soil, nobody knew, but as we lead them forward, they quickly remembered the word compost, and learned about what it meant. It was gratifying to see that even in that concrete jungle and food desert, knowledge works it’s way around. After our 2-day visit to Bethune, I hope that the experience and incentives we offered will get these kids to make use of their own knowledge and creativity even more fully.

It has been an excellent tour, from California’s agricultural Central Valley and Delta Region to inner-city L.A. to the well-to-do schools of San Diego and Orange County. I’ve talked with thousands of people and seen lots of areas where fresh healthy food exists only as an idea. As usual though, meeting people, watching them wake up to what’s going in the world around them in terms of food sustainability, and hearing their response to our project, I am once again hopeful. It renews my own dedication and inspiration and I feel empowered and grateful, all at once. In the words of Trevor Triano, “Onward and upward.”Bethune MS photo 1

 

Ahhh, a few day’s rest.

I’ve got two surfboards in the mobile greenhouse. Each time I teach somewhere, some student will ask about them. I tell them John Jeavons’ definition for sustainability, from How To Grow More Vegetables: a system is sustainable when it can “thrive and flourish indefinitely.” I love this definition, because it I think it is much more correct than to talk about a system that can sustain itself or survive indefinitely. It’s not enough to just survive. If only the needs for survival are met, it’s not truly sustainable. Nature, like human beings (which are part of nature) wants abundance. So for my own sustainability, I don’t just teach all the time, even though I love it. I need rest and activity, so I’ve scheduled myself a few days off to rest up and surf.

Also during the rest period I get the opportunity to see what cool things others are doing. Yesterday I visited The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. It is an amazing place with an excellent team of people who are educating in an exciting and practical way about food, water, shelter, and the environment. It was an inspiring visit and something I hope to encounter more often as I travel through a country that is transitioning to a more sustainable existence.