2014 Earth Day at Proyecto Jardin!


This last Earth Day was a total blast. We spent the day with our friends in Boyle Heights, experiencing Earth Day at Proyecto Jardin (Garden Project). They had a full schedule of workshops and performances that was lively and diverse. They started the day with a corn planting ceremony and authentic Aztec dancers.

We were invited to teach a workshop on hugelkultur there! It was a great pleasure and honor to bring this garden their first hugel bed. We used a small space within one of the herb spirals. The wood was all from on site, as well as the compost. In this hugel, we planted Comfrey, Goji berry, Wonderberry, vetch, oats, and peas. Big thanks to Krysta and Tyler for helping me give this presentation! You girls are rad.

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Here’s Mason cleaning up the edges of the hugel with the loppers. It’s important to terminate all the sticks poking up through the soil. These act like wicks that allow moisture to escape more easily out of the hugel. Doing a great job Mason!

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When you think about Proyecto Jardin, imagine Willy Wonka meets organic gardening meets community action. They have about 2 dozens fruit trees and several garden plots that people from the community can farm in. My friend Dave has a lovely patch of tomatoes, eggplants, and cucumbers growing. They have a stage for performances that has squishy flooring made from recycled tires. It’s probably toxic, but it’s crazy comfortable for an impromptu nap!

Aerial View

This aerial view of the garden shows you how this community garden defies the conventional gridded layout. It’s fullness combined with winding pathways make for an enjoyable and inviting stroll.

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These massive herb spirals were very vigorous and loaded with bees. This is a great way to bring bees into the area. Our neighborhoods need as many bees as possible. Well need them intact here when major agricultural areas can no longer support them. The main draw for them here seemed to be the lavenders and basils.

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These sisters put on a fantastic performance that showed the healing power of love and natural food. I was laughing and crying.

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This woman led a very informative macro-biotic cooking demonstration. Afterwards, the epic salad was shared by all. It was a dream salad!

Julie James of Green Wisdom Herbal Studies led a workshop showing the many uses of the calendula flower. It was really informative and interactive. She showed how to harvest, dry, and process a small flower into a safe medicine. After she made a batch, we all tried some for ourselves. I gotta tell you, my skin felt great! Gardening can really dry out the hands. I highly recommend Calendula. It’s easy to grow and it readily self reseeds.

El Capitan of Bici Libre led a workshop on patching tires and truing wheels. These are both very good skills to learn when cycling regularly through LA. Wheels can take a beating out here and new tubes can become expensive. He is a very kind teacher with a lot of experience. He told me a short story of a guy who came to him seeking lessons on wheel truing. They worked together for 2 hours and the man was deported the next day to Honduras. A year later he received a call from the young man and learned that he was now supporting his family in his own town by truing wheels for people. Skills. Get some.

I encourage you to go take a visit to the garden. There is usually someone present who will greet you and show you around the garden. There is never a dull moment at Proyecto Jardin. There is usually something happening in a dusty patch around the bend.

-Brandon

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