Following Leaders 3/18

It’s been a while since we gave proper shoutouts to our Twitter friends.  It’s not like we stopped reading posts or following everyone, but so many exciting things have been going on for us so rapidly that, well, we’ve been a wee bit distracted.  No more!

We’ve resisted formal fundraising for our organization for so long. After all, our work was (and still is) helping others get the resources to move forward with their work!  And we were (and still are) all about community building.  But, as we’ve delved into the details of our Original Green Community Food Plan, we’ve seen so many of our Twitter friends with great ways of integrating community building and food planning.  We also realized that this type of integration should form the basis for our first go at formalized online fundraising!  Yikes!  It’s been an education, and there have been a lot of models out there.  Have you checked out these friends?  You should!

@urbanfarmhub – for multiple contributors informing about urban agriculture and transformation of food systems.

@buylocalCA – for methods to build relationships between multiple actors in a community food system (growers, markets, consumers etc).

@DUGTweet – for ideas about what kinds of community resources to offer (along with neato note cards).

@UWFarm – for ways to integrate institutions of higher education into community food planning, and news about their new partnership that will train at-risk youth on their farm.

@StartSomeGood – for a great platform for helping us launch our first online fundraising campaign. Check out our video!


Following Leaders 8/20

It was nice patting ourselves on the back last Friday – and evidenced by the work our friends are doing out there, we all should do that now and again.  But now it’s back to proper props.

This week, as mentioned in the last post, one of us (me) had to deal with a cranky collaborator.  While I was dealing with this, um, person, I was also gaining a better appreciation for how social media could enhance our work here.  It allowed me to share a life lesson (that apparently resonated with more than a few people), and it helped our OriginalGreen page grow to 31 states and four countries.  In particular, though, a few of our Twitter friends were the consummate social media mavens this week.  And while the cranky collaborator had me dreaming of criminal acts, it was fun to see other “criminal” acts in the fields.

Oh, and we couldn’t go without acknowledging an amazing 49 days in Arizona.

Thanks for another great week!

@DoreenPollack – for being the ultimate retweeter of helpful information and for a great link to a story about a family of four that grows food in their pool.

@BeetnikMedia – for an exciting new social media venture helping gardening and eco living businesses make those important connections.  Can’t wait for more!

@alleycat_acres —  for robbing potatoes and serving as the Washington State resource on our OriginalGreen page this week.

@hominc — for 52 move-ins in 49 days!  What?! Wow! So very cool and inspiring.

How (and where) does your public housing garden grow? Part 3.

It’s Friday.  And usually we give thanks to our Twitter friends, in the “follow Friday” tradition.  But today, we follow ourselves.  We put in a lot of work this week on our public housing and community food project…so we’re giving our own back a pat.  It has been really exciting to continue our work finding community gardens and urban farms in public housing.  Since our last update we’ve confirmed that produce is growing at nine more sites in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, California, Washington and Virginia.  Alabama is a new state on our list!

The community food project we’re working on includes a large garden at a public housing development.  (You can check out photos and information about it at our Facebook page.) So, you can imagine that many of the programs we’re finding are really helpful!  Many serve as wonderful models with programs we will certainly replicate in our own local project.

For every public housing garden (or farm!) we find, we’re excited at the prospect of finding more!  We’d like you to see some of the recent additions, because we think you’ll feel the same way.

The Ohio City Farm grows at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Riverview Towers site in Cleveland.  It includes a community kitchen and farmstand.  While the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles’ Growing Experience at Carmelitos Housing Development, has a CSA program and green jobs component.  St. Mary’s Urban Farm is in Alemany Public Housing a development of the San Francisco Housing Authority.  And, a garden provides food at the Seattle Housing Authority’s Yesler Terrace development.  The Garden of Goodness grows its goodness in Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Friendship Court in Virginia.  We’ve got Georgia growing in a Thomson Housing Authority plot.  And that garden in Alabama?  The Garden of Park Place in Housing Authority of Birmingham’s Park Place public housing neighborhood.

Stay tuned!

Being Service

A lot of people pooh-pooh tweeting.  But, the leaders we’ve followed on Twitter are out there making changes.  Some in big ways…some small…but all succeeding in “being” service.

Over the past several months we’ve followed SEGlet, Farmland, Urbangardens, hyperlocavore, TheCityFarmer, AnarchyGarden, and UrbanFarming — as urban farming/gardening resources.  It’s been newurbanhabitat, and fallenfruit for information on mobile and free food.  While naemhomelessness, hominc, PSCtweets, homeaidamerica, chtrust, vermonthousing, and willamettenhs have been constant resources on housing and homelessness.  Then, ShareableDesign, ShareTompkins, and closestcloset have been community sharing resources.  We are consistently inspired by the things we see each week.

So, what about it?  Easy enough to list folks and say thanks, but what have we done with all this inspiration, learning and direction?  Well, we’ve hinted a lot over the past few weeks that we’ve begun collaborating on a community food plan.  It’s got multiple parties and partnerships.  It involves farmers, businesses that support farmers, a university, and cities, along with social and non-profit organizations.  It includes community members, and importantly, a bunch of kids!  It’s about food security, nutrition, mobile food support, food mapping, housing, community kitchen-ing, and food-selling.

It seems our work in housing policy and preserving people’s homes has naturally evolved into preserving people’s health in those homes.   And, sometimes, just when you think something can’t be done, someone gives you something for free!  Or introduces you to the perfect person. Or a link crosses your (computer screen) path.

The spirit of collaboration and service has privileged us to work in communities on issues outside of food security, too.  We’ve become fiscal sponsors to Action Kivu (@actionkivu), in their efforts to help victims of sexual violence in Eastern Congo, and Play it Forward Nashville (@PlayItFwd), as they help Nashville residents recover from May’s flood damage.

How can we best be of service?  This is the question we all need to ask ourselves.

The answer:  You have to become service.  Be a resource, not just provide one.  That’s what our friends we follow are.

So, this Friday, a different take on our follow Friday props.  But still the same ending: Thank you!

Following Leaders 7/30

We always like to give you insight into how we get our Follow Friday list.  It’s always interesting to us how people use Twitter, so maybe it’s interesting to someone how we do.  In any case, we just think it’s important to give people props!

This week someone asked us about replating.  And, if you read the prior blog post, you see our take on that.  That same conversation yielded topics like housing the homeless, bartering, and cooperative community building.  Since the discussion took place during a meeting about our collaboration on urban farming in South Los Angeles, some Twitter posts about the history of the area were especially eye-catching.

Much of the week we also focused on another collaboration – an ongoing fundraiser that kicked off with a benefit concert.  So much fun!  And proof once more that community can really come together to do something great.

Again, thanks everyone!

@RachelSurls – for a lot of great information on self-help cooperatives and ongoing history lessons about Los Angeles agriculture.

@ShareableDesign – for oodles of helpful posts on community sharing, exchanges and bartering.

@ShareTompkins – for practical ideas about how to implement a sharing program and ways for communities to trade goods

@naemhomelessness – for the simple message in asking the right questions to “Do[ing] What Works” and, as always, continuing work to end homelessness.

@PlayItFwd – for a wonderful concert that raised funds (and fun) to help people affected by the Nashville floods.

Following Leaders 7/23

Homelessness, food distribution and peaches.  What’s the connection?  Well, this week all three were prominently featured in our activities.  Early in the week, we met a homeless farmer. It was probably because my mind was on his plight and what we could do for him that certain links from Twitter friends resonated.  They provided some happy news about rehousing and — keeping it all in perspective — some not so happy news about rehousing.  Mid week, it was mostly about researching food delivery methods for our community food system project.  So, it’s not surprising that a post on a food delivery plan caught my eye. Then, yesterday, we received a bounty of peaches.  And one tweet was right on time!

Follow Friday is becoming a real treat for us.  Getting a chance to think about our week, and what our Twitter friends have been up to, keeps us motivated.  Thanks, as usual…

@hominc – for uplifting news about 80 people who moved into the ranks of the formerly homeless.  Bravo for great work.

@PSCtweets – for a link to a study on homelessness that reminded us that it takes more than a voucher to maintain housing stability (hint: people need a myriad of supportive services).

@newurbanhabitat —  for hipping us to an NPR story about Baltimore’s Virtual Supermarket Project, which combats a food desert via grocery pick-ups at the local library; and, it accepts SNAP benefits. This one definitely goes in our food distribution files.

@farmcurious – for a perfectly-timed tweet: what to do with all those peaches? Peach salsa!

Following Leaders 7/16

This week we started some work on an urban farming initiative in Los Angeles.  That meant less time on the computer, and more time out in the field!  Great!  But we still found opportunities to check in with our Twitter friends, and we still found some pretty cool (and always helpful) information from them.

Since we do read EVERY post (yes, still do) a lot of the reading during this busy outdoor week focused on our friends with resources for urban farming and growing. Thank you, as usual.  And as usual, here’s why you should follow them, too:

@SEGlet – for incredible resources on renting rooftops and yards for sustainable projects

@Leaders4Change – for bringing the change we love to the next generation of social changemakers!

@Farmcurious – for inspiring this urban homesteader in training.  No, we don’t think a home-cooked meal requires a can opener!

@Farmland – for being our go-to spot this week for urban farming (Farming on the Edge report) and a post on agri-tourism.

@Urbangardens – for a really great post on 66 ways to grow food without a garden and generally “unlimited thinking”!

Following Leaders 7/9

Last week was “oldie but goodie” week on our OriginalGreen project’s Facebook page.  Sometimes we see posts that help us stroll down memory lane to remember why we really, really like (and have previously “Friday followed”) some of our Twitter friends.

This week, while working on mapping accessibility to farmers markets in low-income communities, much of the conversation turned to race and engaging communities of color.  In Los Angeles, those conversations also turned on a trial. All the while, posts about food seemed to keep catching my eye confirming the do-tasty-with-what-you-have mantra.

Thank you to our oldies but goodies…

@LocalDirt – for some intriguing Top 10 lists we shared with clients…from worst things to do at farmers market, to regional foods you’ve never heard of (oh, and an amazing tomato egg bake).

@hyperlocavore – for posts on Tim Wise’s essay with a strong message about “when your narrative lets you down” and on Oscar Grant which reminded us of the importance of being reminded (and remaining mindful) about things that affect all of us.

@farmingconcrete — for partnering with one of our faves @bklynfoodcoaltn on a community food survey and a retweet of new rules that worry community garden advocates in NYC.

@RachelSurls – for suggesting that Los Angeles declare a “Year of Urban Agriculture” like Seattle has.  Yes, let’s!

@SeasonalWisdom – for a visual history of outdoor porches and more food suggestions: goat cheese, figs, lavender honey appetizer.  Le sigh…

Following Leaders 7/2

It was vacation time this week.

But, one thing most of us realize is, it’s never solely vacation week when you’ve got technology…especially the kind that fits in a palm and does nearly everything a laptop does.  So, although little work was done on our food security or affordable housing projects, there was time to be intrigued and educated about gardening jobs, homelessness, urban homesteading and sharing (always sharing).

Don’t worry, much resting and vacationing was done.  But, it was with the contentment that our Twitter friends were making good things happen out there.  Safe (and sane) holiday to everyone!

@yesmagazine – for a link to The Garden Project providing job training with environmental stewardship, and a list of 10 easy steps for becoming a radical homemaker (start by hanging laundry!)

@ASPANlink –  for reminders about effects of warm and storm weather on homeless people

@farmcurious – for making it at home (and teaching others how to!) and for diced plums in ice cream…we gleaned some and diced up, too!!

@closestcloset – for getting something started – sharing, giving, community building — and not being deterred by the “copy cats”

Following Leaders 6/25

Have you ever had a week that was just so full of stuff that your head spun? I think I can safely say that you have.  If you’re human, using social networking/interwebs, trying to change the world…I know you have.

This week, was like that.  This week, there were so many things to research on so many subjects.  Then, a new thing would pop up and much like the dogs in Pixar’s UP, it was like someone shouting “squirrel!” Instant distraction…off in another, kind-of-related, direction.

So, this week it was all about homelessness and low-income housing, rainwater and floods, sharing and innovating.  See? All over the place, but undoubtedly related.  These friends made it work.

@homeaidamerica – for work to help the suddenly homeless and a link to an article on framing homelessness politically.

@LISC_HQ – for a report on the value of low-income housing tax credits in NYC.

@PushingGreen – for a post on harvesting rainwater and a great collaboration with Trees for the Future.

@PlayItFwd and @musicjoshsmith – for working so hard to help Nashville flood victims, and keeping them on the radar.

@YesMagazine – for a great reminder about the value of sharing and the 10 ways our world is becoming more shareable.

@SlowFoodUSA – for tweets on bringing the food revolution to low-income communities through an innovative “people’s choice” CSA program.