Sunday, November 29, 2009

It Takes A Village - West coast, East coast - no difference, it takes hard work and dedicated villagers to make the changes needed in this world!

ORGANIC PRODUCE at The ALTERNATIVE FOOD COOP - in the heart of Wakefield, RI Colorful food and all kinds of friendly folks and characters make this community mainstay a happening place!

California, the west.... indeed a lot of health conscious movers and shakers are out there, but they are here in Rhode Island too. Have you heard about the SK Public School's Community Learning Program (CLP)? -

Have you experienced shopping, eating, learning or volunteering at Wakefied's Alternative Food Cooperative (AFC)?

AFC is one of the last small cooperatives in the US, with working volunteers and an all-organic, primarily local produce section. AFC now has one of southern Rhode Island's most loved and revered chef's heading the kitchen, with vegan, gluten free and all organic choices from Thai Tofu Stew to Gluten-free, Chocolate, Raspberry Muffins! Yum! - Yes, now at AFC is Chris Bassett of Pepper's and Wileys at Middlebridge fame? Great stuff with more to come, like more cooking classes and education from the AFC board members, staff, volunteers and customers!

It takes a village to create the change we want to see in the world! Start with your own life, then see how you can be a part of the bigger picture - be creative, volunteer, share your gifts, create income out of what you offer, educate and help us all grow, organically, into a more sustainable community and world we feel proud of!

I was inspired to write this after reading a link offered up from a fellow friend, yogini and facebooker. Here's the link: read and come back.

kalman.blogs.nytimes.comNovember 26, 2009, 8:32
Creating change out west, in the tofu eating, electric car driving mainstream, can be just as difficult as anywhere else, and only gets more possible when the community is there to support it. Communities in CA may be the pioneers of change and idealistic goals may get underfoot decades before the east coast even has enough wishful thinkers of the idea, but positive change can occur anywhere. It just takes gumption, perserverance, dedication and community networking and support!

Before Alice Waters's Edible Schoolyard, was Earth Save's (John Robbins' effort), "The Healthy School Lunch Project," that originated in Santa Cruz,CA. Both projects emphasize(d) educating students on where their food comes from, on how it is prepared, and how to relax and eat it. I worked as a volunteer in Santa Fe, NM's public schools in the mid 90's with a combo project of these two programs. We had local chefs volunteering in the classrooms, sharing simple, whole food preparation and easy recipes with the kids; the dishes made were incorporated into the hot lunch choices that week after some education and training of the food service workers. It was a lot of work! Before all that we had to deal with lessening the food service's robotic dependence on subsidized canned food- high in sodium, fat and preservatives, and selling whole food prep to them with time constraints was a challenge.

The lack of interest and will within all levels of the Santa Fe PS district's administration was also a challenge, as making any changes to the state and federal programs that fund their schools was a definite no, no -appropriations of funds and the subsidized over stocked processed foods that fill school kitchens is figured according to the number of low income students getting free lunch. Would kids eat healthier food?-- many pessimist said no. Having local businesses, respected physicians, Naturopaths, health food stores, coops, restauranteurs, teachers (especially health teachers) and parents supporting the change and convincing the school board, was a huge political plus. One day a week we managed to have local restauranteurs', shops', farmers' and artisians' produce, breads and cheeses purchased with "Healthy School Lunch Program" grant money, and the food was used in the classrooms and lunch program. Even if we didn't get the institutionalized food to change 100% the healthy choices were well received and kids LEARNED that fresh and whole foods are not only more delicious, but fun and healthy alternatives. Making positive changes in a stubborn environment, is a challenge where ever you are, but set an intention, do your best and work with other like minded citizens. Together, we can make differences that add up to change, slow but sure!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Indian summer hikes with tikes! Reflections on: ancient rocks, courageous saplings and changing seasons.

Do you think you can? ...
Take a walk? Climb a rock? Hug a tree? And yes, take a pee (off the trail)? When nature calls are you listening?? Do you respond with a drive to, and then hike in, your local nature preserves or wildlife refuges?

Apparently doctors are beginning to recommend a simple hike in nature as a bit of panacea for the ailing and depressed. See Shannon Baer's 'Backyard Mama' blogsite and the Washington Post article she links to, for a very interesting take on the healing power of nature.

Personally, I think we all know that 'a hike a weekend' would do wonders for our psyche. Hiking within our inner-self, and in our great big world, as well as with others proves that our interconnectedness is clear. The examples are everywhere: fallen leaves- greying hair; determined saplings - determined boys; toppling walls and useless boundaries (efforts gone a rye, yet still appreciated-the long dead farmers who set their pasteur boundaries, and the hundred years of moss and mold living off their walls). I appreciate every hollowed and rotted snag for the old trees are homes to insects, birds, squirrels and more. Indeed, we are all connected in the cycles of being.

We are all changing matter sharing this planet.

I love this video of our little friend Elliot climbing, inch by inch, up an old rock at The Francis Carter Preserve in Charlestown, RI. If you remember, there's nothing quite like reaching the top of a dinosaur size rock in a forest full of wild things, and as a parent, it's so sweet to hear the call, "Look at me, Mom!". A true parenting and childhood mile"stone".

If you didn't read my recent article, "Wildlife Biology- A career for nature- loving kids", as printed in the Nov. 11th Narragansett Times, or in the Nov. 18th Charlestown Press, then check out: Connecting children with the wonderful cycles of wildlife is both a service to yourself, and to them. You're fostering their love of the natural world, and hence cultivating their interests into potential careers in the biological and earth sciences, plus a good hike enriches your relationship.

Enjoy the natural world... get to know your wildlife refuges and nature preserves.
I know you can get out and feel better, reach milestones, and enjoy an any season hike!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Now it's November - thanks for the hour!!

Okay, I went the whole month of October, which was full of stories, without writing one single blog.
What's that about?? Too busy, and too tired, really? Really. Well, today I got that extra hour so I have no excuse. Besides writing, I pulled over and took a walk on the wild side today, along my hometown's fabulous bike path. What did you do with your extra hour?

I had a GREAT OCTOBER and feel very inspired to keep striving for happiness. Ever since I quit the job that just wasn't right for me (June 30), I've been riding a better wave. The sun has since moved through Leo, Virgo, Libra and is now in intense Scorpio, I think I've come full circle with firey Sagittarius right around the corner. I'm intensifying my new placement in this lifetime with a deeper devotion to whom and what I love, and with immense gratitude. It's so nice and healthy to be able to lead my life with complete integrity.

If you're feeling dis-eased, reacces where you work, who you work with, and who you work for, and if you're not working at all right now, start volunteering in a field you love, or with people you can relate to. Helping others will lead you to being helped; being of service relieves depression and isolation.

Letting go of what you no longer need, or releasing what is not working for you, is being true to yourself. Give the job you hate to someone who will love it and flourish. I've learned that being financially in a hole for a season or two is worth the chance to plant new seeds and bloom anew. Make room for what you WANT to do, and do it. Your needs will be fulfilled in time, and abundance may even follow. Stay in the dream with a great big picture. Create the life you want and get the support from the UNIVERSE by being true to your heart.

I am finally doing ONLY what I love, advocating, supporting and teaching what I believe in. Living a lifestyle of health and sustainability are key to my being well in spirit, as well as in body and mind. I'm teaching yoga and Pilates at two locations that both support motherhood - with onsite childcare- and I am working and volunteering at my community's Alternative Food Coop and at my son's school. It's great being back in the natural foods/products industry, and it's wonderful being back in schools. I taught elementary school for seven years, and in the natural health field for seven as well, so indeed I've come full circle.

My intention for November is to continue to strive to be happy, healthy and giving and to deepen my connection to others and to helping others heal. I am truly Thankful for where my arduous journey has taken me. Where has your journey since summer taken you, and are you grateful for the lessons you've learned and the fruit you're now harvesting?