Thursday, March 24, 2011

Urban Swag: Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone Gets Youth Engaged

If you are an urban gardening enthusiast, youth worker, comic book lover, entrepreneur or all of the above, this story on the new Cleveland Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone, will have you swooning! It highlights one of the many urban greening and economic development initiatives happening in Cleveland, Ohio. Take two African American pest control business owners, a non-profit community development center, an African American think tank, the Ohio State University Extension Center, the USDA, other governmental entities - mix with a family history of gardening, passion, creativity and swag and bam! - you have the Cleveland version of Growing Power (that's a whole nuther story). In fact the master of urban gardening himself, Will Allen is one of the advisors to the project. So what is it? A 26 acre area of land in a very urban Cleveland neighborhood has been designated as ground zero for an intiative to train and development home grow ag entrepreneurs, with an emphasis being placed on recruiting young people in the community to lead leafy green businesses. The plan is to recruit teens and young adults in the city park across from the current greenhouse/headquarters to engage via a program called "Shoot Hoops, Not Guns". There is also a comic book called, "Brink City: Green In The Ghetto". You have to read the article to learn more.....

So stay green and stay strong, good things are poppin' in the neighborhood this spring!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Veggie U - Local food enthusiasts plant seed of healthy lifestyle idea with school kids

Local food enthusiasts plant seed of healthy lifestyle idea with school kids - Cleveland Business News - Northeast Ohio and Cleveland - Crain's Cleveland Business Cool food stuff happening in Cleveland, Ohio!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Nature Conservancy: Engaging Urban Youth

Highlighting Employees in the Community-Brigitte Griswold The Nature Conservancy I was conducting some research on The Nature Conservancy and came across this story as part of their dialogue on diversity. If any of you have attended any community "eco" meetings, you know that the green movement is light on shades of brown and black. It's good to know that some in the environmental community are paying attention to the need to be present in the lives of folks from all backgrounds and to have persons of color present and engaged in their organizations. After all, don't scientists and environmentalists often speak to the need for bio-diversity to maintain a healthy ecology. This same principle applies in human nature and organizations, especially as our nation and world become more ethnically diverse and move from developing nation status to booming economy status. These are the last people that you want to leave behind in the conversation around the importance of balancing economy with ecology. I will continue to read and learn more about The Nature Conservancy and other environmental organizations efforts at walking the talk. In the meantime, "Kudos" for the steps taken thus far.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shoes With A Soul

I have committed to spending 20% of my clothing purchases on thrift, fair trade or organic items, so I'm always on the hunt for cute items with a conscious. These Toms shoes definitely fit the bill. With every purchase of Toms shoes, a child in need gets a pair too! Can you imagine not feeling guilty about buying another pair of shoes? Click here to read the "Giving Report". There are plenty of wonderful and funky styles and designs for men, women and kids. Vegans will be happy with the vegan line of shoes. You can even take photos of you and your family sporting your Toms and upload then to the photo gallery. Who says going green isn't fun? I'm having a blast being black and into green! Pass it on.

Brother Gnome

How cute is this black gnome?!! I must have you little garden man!

I have got to have this little fella standing guard in my garden.

Icy Beauties: Snapshots of the Winter Garden

So often in these crazy Northeast Ohio winters, I rush right in from my car to the house. One day a few weeks ago, a confluence of factors enticed me to stay outside and survey the winter garden. The night before these photos were taken, an ice storm struck Cleveland and created beautiful icy sculptures from natures bounty. The next day everyone was commenting on how beautiful the trees and shrubs were encased in their ice frames, it also turned out to be a sunny and warmer day, thus allowing me to take in my own frozen green assets.

This honeysuckle is home to a robin family. Make a nice screen on my front patio.
This clematis features light blue flowers in May. It also adds privacy in the summer.

This yew is not as picturesque any other time of the year.

This is an upside down photo of the hydrandea "Annabelle", it is a very light green ball of fluff in the spring.
This is the hydrangea Annabelle's wintry frame. Often I use the dried flowers as Christmas tree ornaments.
Gaze into the crystal ball. This normally sits on a stand in the midst of lush green foilage.

Jimmy Williiams: African American Organic Gardening Business

Hayground Organic Gardening - Organic nursery in Silver Lake has a growing clientele - Los Angeles Times Attracted by the colorful produce featured in this month's Martha Stewart Living, I felt compelled to pick up the issue to savor at home. To my extreme delight, I found an article profiling Jimmy Williams, an African American man with a passion for organic gardening in Los Angeles (my childhood home for a stint). Mr. Williams hales from New York and has a background as a fashion designer, but his gardening roots extend to his South Carolina great grandmother. Gardening since he was four, he now runs an organic gardening business called Hayground Organic Gardening. He sells his colorful goodies at farmer's markets and designs edible landscapes for lucky Angelenos. A man after my own heart. His twenty-something year old son has also joined the family business. It warms my heart to see how these men are taking part in the green economy. If you want to know more about Mr. Haygood and his talents, be sure to pick up a copy of his book "Seed to Skillet: A Guide to Growing, Tending, Harvesting, and Cooking Up Fresh, Healthy Food to Share with People you Love", coauthored by Susan Heeger.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Black and Into Green: Financing Your Green Business: A Banker's Perspective

Black and Into Green: Financing Your Green Business: A Banker's Perspective Thought I would re-post this article again as I often get these questions. I will update this information as I find new sources.