Monday, November 29, 2010

We Need Your Help and Your Cardboard

The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden (MGLG) is in existence to increase the supply of organic produce in Southeast Houston, TX. We also strive to educate individuals on more efficient methods of urban gardening.

Since our inception in March 2010, we have and still are using four methods to cultivate our garden. The most successful method we have is used is the method in which we cover the ground with a layer of cardboard and hay. This is by far one of the most efficient methods of gardening that we use because the ground is never tilled, no bed is built, and no extra soil is needed.

This cardboard method is ideal for virgin soil (an area that has never been cultivated for a garden). The cardboard starts to kill the grass immediately by shielding it from the sunlight. The grass dies and becomes compost and fertilizer for your plants. The layer of hay is used to help cover some of the holes in the cardboard and stop the cardboard from being blown away by the wind. The grass below will be completely dead within two weeks. (You can always look under cardboard to check it.) Once there is no longer any grass living, we made small holes in the hay and cardboard for the sewing of the seeds. When the seed germinates it is the only thing that will sprout! All weeds and grass is blocked by the cardboard.

There are numerous benefits to this method. One of the most prevalent benefits is there is no weeding needed. The cardboard does not only stop the weeds from growing, but it does not allow direct sunlight to reach the soil. This helps because direct sunlight during long Texas summer days can dry out a soil in a matter of hours. If you ever have the chance to play in soil, you will notice the top of the soil is much lighter than the soil a fraction of an inch below the surface. The lighter top soil is visual proof that the direct sunlight is depleting the soil of some of its nutrients. When you see a forest or jungle, there are many plants and trees growing, but no soil is exposed. The soil is covered with organic matter, which is exactly what we try to replicate in the MGLG with the use of cardboard and hay. Another benefit of using the cardboard is that much less water is needed because the rate of evaporation is slowed due to the lack of direct sunlight beaming on the soil.

This is why we need your cardboard! As you partake in the Holiday Season festivities remember that the cardboard that gift came in can be put to use in our garden! You must also remember that it is much more efficient to reuse materials rather than recycle them. So don’t recycle those brown cardboard boxes, let us reuse them for you!

In addition to the cardboard, we need YOU! Gardening in Texas is year-round! We will be much more successful if you chose to lend us the labor of your hands. Once you come you will leave with fruits of your labor, FOOD! Fresh, Organic food grown and produced as the fruit of the labor of our other volunteers! We would like to include you in the list of wonderful people! Can you lend us a hand?

If you are interested in volunteering or simply making a donation you can contact our Garden Coordinator, Cavanaugh Nweze at 832-262-8019 or I am pretty sure he is looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Community Efforts

I am an employee of CITGO Petroleum. They have a program called "Fueling Good". In the program employees have the chance to nominate co-workers for their community work. Being that I started a community garden a number of my co-workers have chosen to nominate me. I recieved an email today stating they need an explanation from me so I can be considered if I should be a finalist for the competition. What I have posted below, is what I submitted to them. What do you think? Do you think I deserve a reward for my work in the community?

My Community Efforts
My community efforts began long before I became an employee of CITGO. I was always active in the community being that my grandmother was a powerful player in city politics in Dallas, TX, and in Houston, TX a city council representative was a close family friend. By the age of 20 I participated in two city political campaigns and numerous community activities. My adult years have not been much different. I sometimes tell friends I was raised in community activism.

In 2006, while I was an accounting student at Prairie View A&M University, two friends and I founded a nonprofit organization called Divine Leaders Incorporated. I am still Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Operating Officer of Divine Leaders Incorporated. During mid 2009 we decided to go into a partnership with a local church that owned 2.5 acres of land that was being unused. Due to the fact that the neighborhood I was raised in and still live in now, is in the middle of what is known as a “food desert”, we made the decision to start the Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden and Food Coop Program (MGLG).

The MGLG officially began Feb. 28, 2010 when we held a Groundbreaking ceremony in the garden. The MGLG is completely organic and we use three different gardening methods to demonstrate to participants the many ways they can convert their lawns to gardens. No food grown in MGLG is sold. All food is donated to the volunteers and households living below the poverty line in our community. Since the beginning of the MGLG we have given away over 100 lbs of organic produce.

The MGLG has quickly evolved from a simple community garden into a family friendly venue of entertainment. This happened when we hosted our First Annual Greater Houston Urban Garden Festival on August 21, 2010. You can view pictures of our festival here: In these hard economic times, our garden hosted almost 20 small businesses to sale their goods directly to patrons at our festival. The festival was also an opportunity for local independent artist to showcase their talents as well.

As you can see, my community endeavors has created a plethora of good opportunities for individuals living in the lower economic neighborhoods of Houston, TX. If you would like to view pictures of our Groundbreaking Ceremony, you could do so here: Finally, to see all the wonderful food that we have given out since the beginning of the MGLG, just scroll down.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Helping You, Help Others


As we all know, we are rapidly approaching the beginning of a new school year. We also know, that in lower economic communities it is a struggle to provide basic household necessities, let alone purchasing new school supplies. So a local organization has stepped up to help you, help others.

That organization is IamWorthing. It was founded by a high school classmate of mine at Evan E. Worthing High School in Houston, TX. They are accepting backpacks, writing utensils, folders, binders, paper, dividers, calculators, and gift certificates. If you would like to donate and need more information on how to do so, please feel free to contact Kenneth Eaton at The children are the future and they appreciate your help.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Greater Houston Urban Garden Festival

For Immediate Release
Houston, TX, August 21, 2010. Divine Leaders Inc., an educational and community service nonprofit organization, will host The Greater Houston Urban Garden Festival.
This is a celebration for many wonderful reasons! First, it will pay homage to the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who was born on August 17, 2010, and whose Universal Negro Improvement Association’s “Africa for the Africans” campaign gave Black people in the early 1900’s hope for a better tomorrow. In addition to that, we will also be celebrating the community’s involvement with The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden and Food Coop Program via multiple community awareness and family activities. The event will include live performances and presentations from local independent music and visual artists of varying genres.

This event will also mark the beginning of The Ujamaa Marketplace. The Ujamaa Marketplace will demonstrate cooperative economics by featuring local vendors for festival goers to patronize as well as learn more about vendor’s respective businesses and associated organizations. To find out more information to become a vendor, please contact Nykeba Griffin at 832-788-4332 or

Your attendance, participation and support of this event would be greatly appreciated. If you need more general information about this event feel free to contact Cavanaugh Nweze at 832-262-8019 or

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Annual Greater Houston Urban Garden Festival

Dear Community Member,

Divine Leaders Incorporated is proud to host The First Annual Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden Festival. This historic event will be take place at our garden on Saturday, August 21, 2010 on two and a half acres of land located immediately to the right of The Shrine Cultural and Event Center.

This is a celebration for many wonderful reasons! First, we will pay homage to the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who was born on August 17, 2010, and whose Universal Negro Improvement Association’s “Africa for the Africans” campaign gave Black people hope for a better tomorrow in the early 1900’s. In addition, we will also be celebrating the community’s involvement with this project via multiple community awareness activities, including live performances and presentations from local independent music and visual artists of varying genres.

Other community awareness activities will include presentations on healthy lifestyles and emergency preparedness strategies for families. The intent will be to encourage parents and children to make transitions from a less stressful way of living to a more sustainable, healthy way of living. To aid in the reaching of this goal, an emphasis will be placed on creating an awareness, preparation, and evacuation plan for any disaster – manmade or natural.

Moreover, this event will also mark the beginning of The Ujamaa Marketplace. Ujamaa is a Kiswahili word, which means “cooperative economics.” The Ujamaa Marketplace will demonstrate cooperative economics by featuring local vendors for festival-goers from which to patronize as well as opportunities to promote their respective businesses and associated organizations.

Lastly, this event is to celebrate and raise funds for the harvests of the Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden. This is the first full season the garden that has flourished enough to benefit the community through the growth and distribution of organic foods to both the volunteers who assisted as well as to local community households in need.

Your attendance, participation, and support of this event would be greatly appreciated.

Yours in the struggle,

Cavanaugh Nweze

Divine Leaders Inc., COO

Monday, May 10, 2010

Now Accepting Nominations for Marcus Garvey Liberation Food Coop Program Reciepients

Peace Family!

I wish you all blessings wherever you may be at this moment. This is a very important and exciting time for us at Divine Leaders Inc. This is because of the success of our latest program, The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden and Food Coop Program. So this blog entry is to update you on the continued success of the Garden and beginning of the Food Coop Program.

On the day of March 6, 2010, we planted a numerous seeds in the garden after our Groundbreaking Ceremony. We planted corn, roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, oregano, peppermint, and rosemary. For some reason the herbs we planted did not do to well, but we still do have all the vegetables mentioned above flourishing in the garden as you can see in the pictures below. As time has passed we have discovered a wild berry tree in the back of the garden, planted a nectarine tree, and added seven banana trees. Well now it is time to start reaping the fruits of our labor.

The first crop that was ready to be harvested was Kale. We picked it and distributed between out most dedicated volunteers. Now our squash, tomatoes, and green beans are maturing. In honor of the ancestors and all of who have helped us along the way, we would like to announce that we are now accepting nominations for five poverty stricken households that will start to receive fresh veggies as we pick them.

For a household to qualify they must house at lease one child, or one elderly citizen of our community. Initially, we only planned on opening this program to senior citizens and single-parent households living under the poverty line in the Southeast area of Houston, TX. Now we are announcing that this program is open to all poverty stricken households in Southeast Houston, TX.

The nomination process is a little different. We wanted this process to demonstrate how important we feel the words of the elders are. So the only way to be nominated for this part of the program is to be nominated by an elder. Any elder (50 years or older) of the community can contact Cavanaugh Nweze via email (, phone (832-262-8019), or in person. If an email is sent please be sure to include “Nomination for MGLG” in the subject line of the email.

After an individual has been nominated they must complete an evaluation form. Then their after the evaluation they will be notified if they will be one of the five households receiving fresh fruits and vegetables.

So please spread the word!!! Nominate a household!!! Or simply enjoy the pictures....