Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Greater Houston Urban Garden: Healthy Living Seminars

Please join us Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 9am to noon for a day filled with information promoting healthy living. We will be offering free learning seminars such as Healthy Food Preparation, Bee-Keeping, Fall Gardening, and Yoga. The schedule is as follows:

    • 9 am (45mins) - Healthy Cooking – Sabali Mpozi – Vegan Comfort
    -Healthy food preparation.

    • 10 am Fall Gardening (45 mins) – Justin Duncan – Prairie View Cooperative Extension
    -Preparing a raised bed and planting a fall crop.

    • 11 am Bee Keeping (45 mins) – Dean Cook & Nell Wheeler – Natural Beekeepers – Water Conscious & Rain Water Systems
    -Explore the advantages of bee keeping.

    • 11:30am (30 mins) – Yoga Basics – Raquel Bradley – Realign Yoga
    -Breathing techniques and basic yoga postures to rejuvenate the body, open the spine and promote relaxation

We look forward to seeing you there! For more information regarding the festival please visit our website at!mglg-festival.

Also please RSVP the event here


Divine Leaders

Thursday, August 2, 2012

“Tour De Hood” Bike Ride Encouraging Physical Fitness

Divine Leaders Incorporated and Shrine of the Black Madonna is proud to host “The Second Greater Houston Urban Garden Festival”. This historic event will be take place August 17-18, 2012 at the Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden (MGLG) and many other community institutions.
The purpose of our festival is to encourage parents and children to make an adjustment to a more sustainable and less stressful way of living. To aid in this goal there will be an emphasis placed on exercise, conservation, better eating habits, and more cooperative living amongst Houstonians.

In order to introduce local residents to enjoyable and family centered physical activities, on August 17, 2012 at 7pm, we will host a “Tour De Hood” Bike Ride. This 10 mile community bike ride will be lead by “Tour De Hood” around the Greater Southeast Houston Area. “Tour de Hood” is a 501(c) 3 organization that is geared towards getting people the practical information they need to be healthy mentally and physically. Residents will be lead throughout community bike trails and historic neighborhoods. Up to 40 bicycles will be provided for community residents to participate who do not own their own bicycles. This bike ride is sorely needed in our community to increase physical activities and to help local residents feel more comfortable about exercising in their own neighborhoods.

Your attendance, participation and support of this event would be greatly appreciated. We are excited about this upcoming festival, and we look forward to you being a part of the experiences. For more information please contact a Divine Leaders representative at or 713-396-0001. RSVP for the entire festinal here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Plant of the Month: Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is a very productive fruit that grows wonderfully in the MGLG. This year cantaloupe is second generation, which means it was planted from the seeds we harvested from the prior year. The recognized health benefits of cantaloupe are lower blood and cholesterol levels, a reduction of the risk of heart disease, prevents cataracts, and reduces the chances of being diagnosed with cancer.

An uncommon trait of fruit that is special about cantaloupe is that it contains both vitamin C and beta-carotene. The vitamin C helps keep arteries clear and beta-carotene fights heart disease. These two antioxidants are one the main reasons cantaloupe helps prevent cancer and many other age-related health issues. In addition, the fruit also contains a large amount of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. Supposedly, cantaloupe has twice the amount of potassium than a banana. Our bodies need potassium to help expel excess sodium. A large amount of sodium (salt) is a cause of high blood pressure.

The cantaloupe growing in the MGLG are our small, sweet, and very aromatic jewels. A couple of our frequent garden workers were having a debate about whether to call the “Candy Canteloupe” or “Candyloupe”. Yes they are that sweet! Plus the smell alone makes me not want to cut the cantaloupe and just use it in my home as potpourri. Would like to have a similar experience with the produce in your home? Well drop by The Living Grocery Store this weekend and pick up a couple! Come early, because they disappear QUICKLY!

Monday, May 7, 2012

MGLG Kale Day at Sunshine Health Food Store & Vegetarian Deli

On May 10, 2012, Sunshine Health Food Store will feature the freshly picked Kale from The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden (MGLG). The MGLG is a local community garden located two blocks away from Sunshine. The garden was created to increase the access to fresh and sustainable food in the neighborhood. The two establishments have worked together to deliver fresh, chemical free and locally grown Kale. While supplies last, the famous kale salad will prepared from kale harvested the day before! You can’t get much fresher, healthier, and environmentally friendly produce in many other places.
In addition to Kale, Red Clover is another crop that is currently abundant in the MGLG. Red Clover is a blood purifying herb with special benefits for women. Red Clover has been scientifically proven to decrease the symptoms of PMS and menopause. The herb has also been proven to decrease the chance of breast and prostate cancer. More information about Red Clover can be found here. All these medicinal benefits and Red Clover makes a smooth and refreshing tea. Red Clover Tea will be available for tasting.

Plant of the Month: Beets

Beets are considered root crops and they are very easy to grow. In Texas they grow very well during cooler seasons like most root vegetables. Beets are a very productive crop because you can eat, and use both the beet tops (beet greens/leaves) and the actual beet (the root). Before the root is large enough for harvest, you can snap off the beet greens/leaves to eat. The beet leaves will reproduce while the beet (root) continues to grow. Therefore, you can eat from each beet more than once.

Since beets are a cool season crop, we will be picking our remaining beets throughout the month of May in order to prepare for other summer crops such as sweet potatoes. 

The nutritional benefits of beets are astounding! Beets have been proven to protect against cancer and prevent birth defects in newborns. In some countries beet juice alone is used as a treatment for cancer. Beets are also a natural source of a high amount of Vitamin B (Folate). Folates are beneficial to pregnant women because it is necessary for the critical development of the fetus. The deep colors of beets come from a compound named betacyanin, which has been noted by scientists as a tumor-fighting agent.  In comparison to lean beef, beets can provide similar amounts of iron and can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Raw beets are high in carbohydrates and low in calories, which mean they are a natural energy boost. Beets also contain high volumes of phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and biotin. Biotin (commonly referred to as Vitamin H) helps to convert food into fuel. It is also recommended to help strengthen hair, nails, and skin.
If beets are this beneficial, shouldn’t you be eating more of them??? Come by The Living Grocery Store (MGLG) for your fresh beets during the month of May to improve your health and satisfy your taste buds. The Living Grocery Store is open every Sunday at 11am – 2pm., 5317 M. L. King Blvd. Houston, TX 77021.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Second Greater Houston Urban Garden Festival

For Immediate Release

April 1, 2012 – Houston, TX

Divine Leaders Incorporated and Shrine of the Black Madonna is proud to host “The Second Greater Houston Urban Garden Festival”. This historic event will be take place Saturday, August 18, 2012 at the Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden (MGLG); 5317 Martin Luther King Blvd, Houston, Texas 77021.

As a part of the festival there will be a Tour De Hood Bike Ride, Hands-On Gardening Tips, Ujamaa Marketplace, Community Small Business Awards, and The Black August Concert. There will also be community awareness activities and presentations on healthy lifestyles & emergency preparedness strategies for families. The intent will be to encourage parents and children to make an adjustment to a more sustainable and less stressful way of living. To aid in this goal there will be an emphasis placed on exercise, conservation, better eating habits, and more cooperative living amongst Houstonians.

The Black August Concert is a phenomenon sweeping across the country in minority neighborhoods encouraging support of locally owned businesses, and to raise awareness of legal injustice against members of minority communities. Presentations of how to circulate funds within low income communities will be made along with acknowledgement of successful minority businesses, and business owners in the Greater Houston Area.

Lastly, this event is to celebrate and raise funds for the harvests of the “Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden”. This is the third full season the garden has flourished enough to benefit the community through the growth and distribution of organic foods to both the volunteers who assisted as well as local community households in need. The MGLG is not the only garden that will be acknowledged during the course of these activities. Information on how to participate in gardening organizations across the city will be distributed to patrons as well as information
on how to start a home garden. This event will also mark the official beginning of the 10,001 Home Garden

Challenge. This is a challenge to influence 10,001 households to install or expand home gardens within the next 2

Your attendance, participation and support of this event would be greatly appreciated. We are excited about this upcoming festival, and we look forward to you being a part of the experiences. For more information please contact a Divine Leaders representative at or 713-396-0001.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer Gardening Class

Saturday, May 12, 2012 from 9am to 12pm  Divine Leaders and Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension will be conducting a summer gardening class at the Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden. Lessons will be given on how to build raised beds, grow sweet potatoes & receive tips on how to care for your crops through the Texas heat.

Other topics that will be covered:
 How to organically grow summer vegetables
 Varities of vegetables that do well in Texas
 Water Use and Saving Techniques
 Season Extension

Join us at this event. Visit our facebook event page for updates.

#MGLG on Great Day Houston

Check out Cavanaugh Nweze speaking about Grub Not Grass @ 11:40

Cavanaugh Nweze speaking about The Seed Swap @ 4:30

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grub Not Grass

Divine Leaders Inc. has launched a program to help eliminate food deserts in the greater Houston Metropolitan Area. The mission of the program is to increase sustainability of low-income communities by taking grass lawns and developing them into ecologically and economically sustainable urban gardens and edible landscapes.

Grub Not Grass was created to economically develop private land in neighborhoods with ineffective land use practices and poor access to healthy produce in Houston, TX. Divine Leaders will use the advantage of large landscaping areas of personal homes, businesses, schools, and churches to cultivate urban gardens and edible landscapes.

The goal of Grub Not Grass is to organize open land that is attached to personal property, business, and institutions to cultivate and grow food in areas used predominantly to grow grass or other inedible plants. A team of growers, pickers, packagers, and retailers will work together to grow and distribute fresh produce in areas presently known as food deserts.

By administering the project Grub Not Grass, Divine Leaders Inc. will:
  • Improve the efficiency of land use by grow and distribute food in areas known as food deserts.
  • Demonstrate, consult, and teach how growing gardens can revitalize low-income communities.
  • Use a communal growing space to sustainably employ low-income individuals.
  • Increase the supply of quality produce and agricultural products in food deserts.
  • Create and operate “Open Markets” for local growers to supply food directly to local consumers.
  • Improve the overall quality of life (economically, psychologically, and physically) for individuals in food deserts and low-income communities.

Grub Not Grass is a program that will cultivate and grow food on the property of participating land owners. A gardening agreement will be made between property owners and Divine Leaders Inc. to grow a particular group of crops over a period of two years on their land. All participating land owners will have an option to participate in a food sharing program. After food is picked from separate locations, excess food will be shared with other food sharing participants. The remaining produce will be sold in our own community, farmer’s markets, open markets, and vending booths at different events and locations. To find out how you can participate in this groundbreaking project contact Divine Leaders at 713.396.0001.

Monday, April 2, 2012

#MGLG Mixtape


Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden: The Mixtape

The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden and Food Co-op Program (MGLG) is a joint venture in Southeast Houston, TX operated by Divine Leaders Inc (a nonprofit organization) and The Shrine of the Black Madonna. The purpose of the MGLG is to liberate residents of "food deserts" from the inefficient and unhealthy food distribution system that exists in neighborhoods of the lower economic class. This task is accomplished by growing locally sustainable food and distributing it directly to residents of our own "food desert". A "food desert" is any community where there is an abundance of unhealthy processed foods and fresh organic produce is scarce or completely unavailable.

The administrators of the MGLG have recently decided to create another aspect of feeding the community. We are currently preparing to feed hungry souls through the ministry of music. In June 2012 Divine Leaders Inc will release The MGLG Mixtape. This Mixtape will be a compilation of songs by independent artists from across the country. It will be packaged along with educational facts of why it is important to grow your own food or simply support/start your own local garden. As the founder of the MGLG and Divine Leaders Inc it is my pleasure to complete the trinity. We are now offering healthy food for your body, action provoking thoughts for your mind, and beautiful melodic tones for your soul. All this is being done to raise funds to continue to expand our operations in a community and "food desert" near you.


One Love! Full Time!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Plant of the Month: Red Clover

Red clover

We grow red clover in the MGLG for two reasons, it is a living mulch and healing herb. Mulches are important when growing food in Texas because of the long hot summers. Any type of mulch helps conserve water for your crops because it prevents the soil from receiving direct sunlight. When direct sunlight can not reach the soil, it allows the soil to remain moist for longer periods of time. In addition to covering the soil, red clover is a legume seed. Legumes are important because rather than depleting nitrogen from the soil in your garden, they add nitrogen to your soil! Not to mention that red clovers invasive tendency also helps keep other harmful weeds from growing prominently. In short, as living mulch, red clover protects the soil from direct sunlight, conserves water, and puts nitrogen into the soil.

In terms of a healing herb red clover is known as a blood purifier. Red and pink flowers from red clover plants can be dried and used as teas or taken in pill form.

The uses for red clover are:
  • Hot flashes/flushes
  • PMS
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • helps prevent osteoporosis
  • reduces possibility of forming blood clots and arterial plaques
  • can limit development of benign prostate hyperplasia
  • Breast enhancement and breast health
  • Improve urine production
  • Improves circulation of the blood and secretion of bile
  •  They also act as detergent, sedative and tonic

Red clover has the ability to loosen phlegm and calm bronchial spasms. The fluid extract of red clover is used as an antispasmodic and alternative.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The MGLG 2nd Anniversary Fund Raiser

The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden 2nd Anniversary Fund Raiser & Seed Swap

Over the course of the past two years The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden and Food Co-op Program (MGLG) has served the purpose of combating food deserts and teaching about alternative methods for food security. This purpose has been accomplished directly by supplying our community with healthy produce. The MGLG has also accomplished this task indirectly by demonstrating and teaching community members how to grow food on their own property using alternative growing methods.

This celebration is very important not only for our project, but it will be very influential for gardeners across the Houston area because we will be hosting a Seed Swap. The Seed Swap is a network of local sustainable farmers/gardeners who harvest their own seeds. As a part of the program these growers gather twice a year (right before the spring and fall) to exchange their seed with each other. This network is PHENOMENAL for two reasons! First, growers now have the capacity to know exactly where there seeds come from and who produced them and growers are able to speak with the actual person who grew the crop to find out what method works best to render the best results. Second, the seeds acquired at a seed swap are adapted to our local climate!!! This increases the chance of the productivity of the seeds because it is being growing in a very similar soil and climate from which it was originally produced! The vast majority of our crops last year were harvested from our own crops in the previous year or acquired from previous Seed Swaps.

As we are embarking on the beginning of our third year, we are in need of assistance of the community to help us attain two large items that are essential to our continued expansion. We need to build an irrigation system and purchase a storage shed. These two items are needed in addition to our basic purchase of soil amendments and other garden tools or supplies. Therefore we would appreciate if you made a Pledge of Support to the cause and purpose of the MGLG. The Pledge Drive will end on the day of our 2nd Anniversary. Other than the deep satisfaction of making a direct impact in the health of a community, you can see what tangible rewards are available for your support of The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden and Food Co-op Program.

Pledge Amount Reward

$1 - $10 Information pamphlet on MGLG and how to start personal garden

$10 - $20 Potted vegetables to grow at home

$20 - $50 A pair of MGLG gardening gloves

$50 - $100 A fruit tree dedicated in the name of the person of their choice

$100 - $200 A section of the irrigation system dedicated to the person of their choice

$200 - $500 A one year membership to the Co-op Program and acknowledgement at each garden event.

$500 or more A permanent member of Co-op Program and acknowledgement at upcoming garden events.

Pledge Amounts between $1 and $200 will receive all rewards of their pledged range and the preceding pledge.

Pledge Amounts between $200 or more will receive the rewards of their pledge and a choice of two rewards in the $1-$50 range.

If you would like to pledge or donate any amount of money to The MGLG your danation can be processed at Your support is welcomed and greatly appreciated!

For more information on how to show your support Cavanaugh Nweze @ or 832-262-8019

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Journey Since My Departure

Since departing from my accounting position at CITGO Petroleum I have had the opportunity to embark on many different endeavors. I have taught a couple of gardening classes, traveled at will (both business and leisure), installed a garden at a middle school, formulated and helped organize a community garden program in Florida, devised a community garden plan for an independent Philadelphia mayoral candidate, expanded my own gardening program, and have come within 12 hours of attaining my masters degree. Some of these projects were paid jobs; others were purely volunteer work, paid only with a great amount of satisfaction for my soul.

Immediately following the end of my corporate position I was a part of a summer camp program at Key Middle School. This was the first gardening class I taught. As a part of the program and with the help of the children we installed a vegetable in the school’s courtyard. Not only did we build a garden, but we taught children about healthy eating habits. The second garden class I have taught was a part of an after-school program at Cornelius Elementary School. I was invited to participate in the program by a brother in the community who coordinates another local community garden called Muhammad Organic Farm. To have the ability to teach children how to grow their own food and being able to observe their excitement in the growth of vegetables has been a wonderful experience.

As I stated earlier, some of my work has led me to St. Petersburg, FL. I was invited by the Uhuru Movement to speak at a local community convention about a vision for a program I created called “Grub Not Grass”. The mission of the program is to increase stability and genuine economic development of low-income communities by converting vacant lots and personal grass lawns into ecologically and economically sustainable urban gardens. My presentation was very well received and during my stay in the area we went to work immediately to make this mental vision into a physically visible sight in the surrounding communities of St. Petersburg. We created at least 10 gardens as a part of the program and met with a couple of other land owners who were interested in being future program participants. Immediately following my presentation at the convention, I met a gentleman named Diop Olugbala. This brother had recently announced his plan to run for Mayor of Philadelphia and wanted to combine my vision for “Grub Not Grass” as a part of his campaign platform.

To receive a request to combine my vision with a mayoral campaign was quite an honor. So we had a couple of meetings and a month or so later I was on my way to Philadelphia, PA. Before my arrival I was briefed on the policies of police containment in Philadelphia and how $2.9 million annually was being spent by the present administration to imprison black and Latino youth. So we took that same $2.9 million and created a budget to convert at least 40 lots per year and employ (at the minimum) 396 young people in low-income communities of Philadelphia. The budget we created was just another form of the program called “Grub Not Grass”.

I have been blessed to be a part of many opportunities and to have more time to dedicate to my own personal endeavors. I have expanded my own community garden program close to a half of an acre, if not more. Also, I have restarted my masters degree program and have come to within 12 semester hours of completion. However, these great achievements have not come without encountering a few disappointments and hardships. There are more than a few endeavors which did not come into fruition for many different reasons. On my own behalf some financial and judgment mistakes have been made. Not to mention, I encountered a foundation problem at my home that put a nice size dent in my personal budget.

Despite the mistakes and inconveniences, I consider it all a very enlightening experience to be able to indulge in the endeavors in which I have. I have been able to learn many different things; most of these things have been about me. In terms of my immediate future, I will very soon be finished with my masters degree and will start the process to receive my CPA license. To do this and many other endeavors I must once again increase my income stream. So, I have begun to actively look for a more traditional accounting position and other opportunities to have the ability to bring even more of my dreams and desires into fruition.