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 http://themglg2nd.eventbrite.com/. Your support is welcomed and greatly appreciated!

For more information on how to show your support Cavanaugh Nweze @ cnweze@hotmail.com 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.