As we begin the new year our planet our home seems like it is limping along and is in need of a life support system or heart to heart resuscitation.  We need to give the world some love energy. Here are two local examples of love energy  being generated by my friends at Cas de Paz in Fruitvale   This past weekend I visited Casa de Paz while the Free Farm Stand has been closed (it opens this Sunday January 10th). On Friday I helped them cook for their  evening  open house, meditation, and dinner.( it starts at 7 pm and you can go here and rsvp so they know how  many people to cook for.) I was  delighted that they read a passage from Peace Pilgrim one of my favorite teachers. You can read the passage here which is Pancho’s blog.  I was surprised that many young people (there were a total of over forty people there) were familiar with her. I really think we need a similar free meditation and dinner night in San Francisco to foster and build a heart revolution. I also checked out their Fruta Gift program on Sundays where they set up three tables on the sidewalk in front  of their house and give away free organic produce they collected from their local farmer’s market. It was a beautiful scene and they really are in touch with so many of their neighbors and there was plenty of good vibes all around. I especially like that it was smaller than our project and it seemed more intimate and personal. The last photo in the series is a neighbor across the street who brought lemons and limes to share. After all, the neighborhood is called Fruitvale.

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Talking about fruit the California Rare Fruit growers (CRFG) is having their annual scion wood exchange  Saturday January 16 . Go here for more information.

Poster GGCRFG '16 Scion X v1

I will still open the All in Common Garden but may try to get away early to go to this . It is a great event to attend and meet others interested in gardening and fruit trees especially, and to pick up wood to graft fruit trees.  On the subject of growing fruit trees and greenhouses, I read two interesting articles that I get from the CRFG originally published in Low tech magazine: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/12/fruit-walls-urban-farming.html and  http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/12/reinventing-the-greenhouse.html. I was reading these articles and remeber at the Free farm we had a large brick wall holding back the dirt under the sidewalk. We were in a pit basically growing our food and had a four year old avocado planted against a south facing brick wall and a greenhouse too. The heat from the wall and the protection from the wind made this spot the ideal place to grow a fruit tree or grow hot loving things in a greenhouse. Unfortunately we only got to see the large amounts of avocados before we had to leave and the tree did not survive the moving. Also the magazine article that these articles were published in seems interesting.

Thinking more about my visit to Casa de Paz they might enjoy reading the other articles in Low Tech magazine(though maybe reading an online magazine on low tech could be problematic if you try not to use computers). They are trying to to live more simply (for example trying to live off the grid and for example using candles vs electricity). I think they have gotten some of their inspiration from a communal group in Missouri called the possibility alliance and at least one member from that group is visiting them at the moment (Tyler) who also visited us at the All in Common Garden. This video is a good overview of their group. And this article from Mother EarthNews in 2011 is a good read. Ethan Hughes and his wife Sarah came up with five practices to help make real of their vision of “living so all life can survive…radical simplicity, service, social activism, inner work and gratitude.” This is truly the heat to heart work that needs to be done.

There is one thing I question about the Possibility Alliance though, is that I heard they are not all vegetarian and that they use draft horses for their work. I was also told that their candles which were burning at Casa de paz had pig fat in them to make them burn longer. A couple of months ago I was sitting on the beach on a small Indonesian island called Gili Meno, the least populated island of the Gili islands.  I wrote a poem called sitting on the Gili Meno beach contemplating the big picture. Here is a short part of it:

“This is the most laid back

chill place

I can remember ever being almost

No cars

No cars makes a difference

though the hippie chick vegan blogger says

don’t ride the the horse pulled carts

they are underfed and hot and overworked”

So I wonder if it is ok to use horses to pull us around or do grunt work for us? Are they ok with it…any horse whispers out there? (I do use horse manure in our garden though maybe I can now just use leaf mold for compost since we got a generous donation to buy a chipper shredder). Certainly the pigs would prefer not to be eaten nor their fat used for candle making. Can we live a sustainable life and simple life without killing animals? Do less violence?