Garden Journey

 

photo 2 (4)My name is Brina I’m an intern with Summer Solution.  We have a garden at a high school called Connecticut River Academy. Where we weed , water and grow fruits and vegetables also making a cleaner safer environment for the high school. Recently we had crops and decided to take them to a homeless shelter. My favorite part about working at Connecticut River Academy site is the soothing view of the connecticut river. its soothing to me because i can work in a relax manner in the garden with a beautiful outlook. I remember first starting i thought the site was so amazing. Everything was well taken care of i was so excited to join and be apart of creating something for the high school.

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Exhibit In a Day: 3 Ways to Grow Food in A Window

Reblogged from Summer of Solutions Hartford

I’m on the team working at the Burns Latino Studies Academy and the Connecticut Trash Museum. Recently, we planned to build an indoor garden exhibit at the museum using recycled materials.

This is the wall where we installed the exhibit. It has three big windows. Step 1: Remove the window blinds
This is the wall where we installed the exhibit. It has three big windows. Step 1: Remove the window blinds

The exhibit is an inside garden used as an example of things you can create in your own garden, house, or apartment. The purpose of the exhibit is to show that you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own food and it can be as simple as hanging curtains on a window. We installed the garden in one big workday on June 27th as to interrupt the museum visitors as little as possible. We planted a variety of things that need just the right amount of space to grow in a box, gutter, or plastic bottle. We planted swiss chard, lettuce, parsley, rosemary, mint, strawberries, and succulents, cilantro, basil, and a few flowers.

This is Tenaya painting the gutter garden. The gutters were recycled from a construction project. We cut  them to 4 feet, drilled drainage holes and wire holes in the bottom, and cemented gutter caps to the edges.
This is Tenaya painting the gutter garden. The gutters were recycled from a construction project. We cut them to 4 feet, drilled drainage holes and wire holes in the bottom, and cemented gutter caps to the edges.
Step 3: We filled each gutter with soil and transplanted our seedlings. Next, we installed hooks over the window frame and hung the gutters. At home, you can just hang them, but because the museum has thousands of children visit each year, we also drilled the gutters into the window frame on each side, so they couldn't be tipped over.
We filled each gutter with soil and transplanted our seedlings. Next, we installed hooks over the window frame and hung the gutters. At home, you can just hang them, but because the museum has thousands of children visit each year, we also drilled the gutters into the window frame on each side, so they couldn’t be tipped over.
This is Brendan and Tenaya mixing compost and manure to make a soil mix for the gutters.
This is Brendan and Tenaya mixing compost and manure to make a soil mix for the gutters.

The first window holds a gutter garden. We built this by taking used gutters and drilling holes at the bottom. Next we strung the gutters with wire that was strong enough to hang from a window and hold the gutters once they were filled with plants and soil. After threading the wire through the gutter, we looped it at the top so the garden would have something to hang from. After assembling the garden we filled it with a mixture of manure and soil (you can use whatever you find suitable for what you want to grow) then transplanted all of our seedlings. With the help of all of our team members and volunteers we hung the gutter garden on fish hooks that we screwed to the top of the window.

Last year, Mike Roach carved a sign for the Zion Street Garden, renaming it in honor of our neighbor, Wesley Colbert. We built this box out of the scrap wood he used to practice the carving.

Last year, Mike Roach carved a sign for the Zion Street Garden, renaming it in honor of our neighbor, Wesley Colbert. We built this box out of the scrap wood he used to practice the carving.

In our second window we made a window box using recycled wood that we painted and lined with landscape fabric and plastic bags. This window will act as our activity station for children visiting the museum. Here we’ll teach them how to make recycled origami planters and more about what they can do to create a garden at home. We’ve also installed a shelf on the window to display samples and visitor creations.

First, Becky and Brendan cut holes in the bottoms and sides of recycled bottles.
First, Becky and Brendan cut holes in the bottoms and sides of recycled bottles.
Next, we wove each bottle through recycled twine to make sure they were evenly suspended.
Next, we wove each bottle through recycled twine to make sure they were evenly suspended.
We installed a hook in the window frame for each column of bottles.
We installed a hook in the window frame for each column of bottles.

The last window in the exhibit holds our bottle garden. We used recycled beverage bottles and removed the label, giving the roots of the plants an opportunity to show. We removed the top off the bottle, giving ourselves enough room to insert soil and plant inside of the bottles. Next, we poked holes onto the side of the bottom so we could have a way to hang our bottles in the window. We then threaded string vertically through the holes we poked each bottle so they’d hang about 4 inches away from each other, allowing what we planted to have room to grow. We filled the bottles with soil, transplanted our seedlings, and then hung each set of bottles on a fish hook from our window. Once the bottles were hung it created a beautiful stained glass effect that can be a great accent in any apartment or garden.

Here is our exhibit at the end of the day!

Here is our exhibit at the end of the day!

We are so grateful to our extra volunteers who came out to help us pull it off in one day! Thanks Brendan, Diane, and Joey! We are so grateful to our extra volunteers who came out to help us pull it off in one day! Thanks Brendan, Diane, and Joey

CT March Against Monsanto

Reblogged from Summer of Solutions Hartford

 

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Last week we participated in the March Against Monsanto put on by Activate CT! March Against Monsanto is a world-wide day of action against the biotech company Monsanto. They were the makers of Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, and rBGH, and now they are the leading producer of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The safety of GMOs is still up in the air, with Monsanto and the FDA saying they are safe, but independent scientists and concerned activists don’t think their studies have been through enough. When the history of Monsanto is taken into consideration, it makes sense that people would be worried about the safety of their products. For more information, check out the pamphlet below. We were in Hartford near the Old State House on May 23 handing out these pamphlets to people on the street and holding signs about Monsanto and GMOs to raise awareness. We handed out 300 pamphlets to people on the street and had some great conversations. We also included information about all the farmers’ markets and community gardens in Hartford to help residents find access to fresh, local, GMO-free produce.

Ring in the New Year! January Gatherings Got Me Pumped!

Friends,

A quick note from the National Gatherings Team — we wanted to let you all know how excited we are about the programming that this January Gathering is boasting, and we wanted to bring you into the know.

As always, our January Gathering is being modulated to meet the growth needs of our many teams, team members and regionalities! Our three gatherings, Oakland, Chicago, and D.C., will each have specifically designed curricula to explore old and new topics — we will continue developing our anti-oppression programming, our trainings on how to train, our budgeting and fundraising sessions and our personal development sessions.

THE NEW AND EXCITING SESSIONS ARE: a totally revised and revamped media training that will more intentionally link media to local needs AND a session on fractal leadership model development. There is room for more sessions, too, so if you have something to suggest, let us know! Anthony from the Agenda Committee can take your comment or question at anthony.betori@gmail.com.

The food is going to be good // the connections are going to grow our network stronger // the snow in each city will be beautiful // the possibilities are growing!

We can’t wait to see you, new teams and old! The second best time of the year is here — January Gathering is coming!

January Gathering is Coming

A Year of Beekeeping in Bulgaria

After our prolonged blog silence – for which I apologize! – I decided to share with you chronological glimpses of what happened with our GA Local Initiative Program: Sofia, Bulgaria. Just as a reminder, our program revolves around an urban beekeeping project which I, Elena, and my friend Teo have been working on for over a year now.

At this time we have wrapped all summer and fall activities and are assessing the results and sustainability options. Our first and foremost achievement is the successful and legal installation of two Langstrot Ruth hives and one demonstration hive in the Physical Garden at the very very center of the city. We also managed to lead over So here’s how it all progressed.

February, 2013 – Brussels

We leave for Brussels! So, the funding we received for our project came from a contest for sustainable urban development ideas. The contest was conducted in many other European countries including the Czech Republic, Luthuania, Romania, Hungary, Poland. The winning teams were invited by CEE Bankwatch to present their ideas in support for changes in the structure of the EU funding mechanisms that would allow small citizen-lead projects to qualify.

People loved our project and we loved the dynamic and vibrant international community. Other projects included urban farms and community gardens, bike-recycling, and many more!

Continue reading

Over D.C., Into Pittsburgh, Towards a New Country!

As we celebrate a government that is open, let’s take a second to remember that it’s ridiculous that the shutdown even happened. Let’s take a second as well to consider that the government more often than not is working against us even when it’s working. As Power Shift 2013 arrives in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow, let’s remember why we’re here, not D.C.

In 2009, even in 2011, it made sense to be in D.C. There was a climate bill on the table, we mustered the largest single-issue lobby day in history. Hell, Hurricane Sandy hadn’t happened. Fukushima hadn’t been dumping 300 metric tons of radioactive waste per day into the Pacific for two years. Things were looking up!

Then Barack Obama has a press conference saying natural gas is clean energy. Then Keystone XL becomes a bargaining tool in the budget negotiations, as if it is at all negotiable! Then, we hear about TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, referred to as NAFTA on steriods, secretly negotiated by corporations and governments and up for a vote in just a few months.

Yeah, I’m over D.C.

Grand Aspirations as a whole is mobilizing in Pittsburgh with other activists from around the country because we just don’t have time anymore. We just can’t wait any longer for the stodgy and corrupt Congresspeople to start giving a damn about everything from the American indigenous populations to the Gulf of Mexico. We just don’t have time anymore to negotiate sub-par energy bills and pollution standards. We need to STOP. We need to ORGANIZE. We need to DISOBEY. We need to BUILD SOMETHING NEW.

Power Shift is a challenge because it is not the end, it is the means. Many of us organizing the conference have been pouring effort into what will happen there because we want to structure the next steps, not just have a great conference. The Green Economy Working Group, a function of the Energy Action Coalition, has the goal of setting up 100 new Green Economy projects after the concert, and I’m hella pumped to say that these are on the way! The network is in place, the flyers are printed. We’re ready for Pittsburgh.

We’re not going to be lobbying, we’re going to be planning. We’re not going to be marching on a deaf White House with an ambivalent climate traitor inside, we’re going to mobilize against fracking at the heart of its dirty soul. We’re going to Pittsburgh because, to lift a term from undercover climate activist Winnie the Pooh, we could give less than one bother about Congress at this point.

I’ll be at the Green Economy Hub. Let’s hug and congratulate each other on being a part of the most important people’s movement in history: the movement to save our planet and each other from the stained and greedy fingers of corporation and government alike.

See you there!
-Anthony Peregrine Betori

Guest Blog: Why Solutionaries and Social Services Need to Network

Power Shift is an incredible opportunity for environmental activists, a vital moment in capitalizing on the momentum of increased awareness about climate change, fracking, and the green economy (to name a few). But what about those of us who aren’t professionally involved in going green? What does Power Shift have to offer to, say, someone who is involved in social services? What about activists that work with at-risk populations in their communities?

As someone deeply committed to social justice, I saw the potential for accomplishing important work in Power Shift immediately. My connections to the green economy are vague – as a native of southwestern Pennsylvania, I have seen firsthand the problems that come with the proliferation of fracking sites, but my understanding of the movement mostly ends there (something I hope will change after next weekend!). My forte lies more in working with communities to encourage healthy choices, self-agency, and positive change that benefits generations to come.

Still, I sense that there are important things for people involved in social services and community health to take away from the conference. Powershift is all about organizing – organizing around issues, organizing with each other, organizing in communities across the country. This past summer, I worked out of the western governor’s office in Massachusetts with the family homeless shelter of the Department of Housing and Community Development. Many families we served had been homeless for extended periods of time, and sometimes even struggled to find food, let alone shelter. Unfortunately, the requirements of the program prevented some families from utilizing our services. It was very difficult to turn away people I knew probably had no alternative – I could literally have been sending them back to sleeping on the streets. Networking between organizations became key in these situations: even if I couldn’t place them in one of our shelters, I could still give them a list of community resources that might be able to give them better support.

And here’s where Power Shift comes in. What’s transpiring this October is a meeting place for all kinds of activists, working on all types of issues, to come together and build a network of support which reaches far beyond any single community. It’s going to be a place to exchange ideas, inspire others, and lend a shoulder to commiserate about a line of work that is, at times, extremely daunting. No matter what cause we are fighting for, we can draw strength from each other and find new ways to better serve our communities. With coordinated efforts, our reach can only improve.

-Rachel Susko