Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez: It's Cesar Chavez Day

Today would have been the 83rd birthday of civil rights activist, farmworker, and labor leader Cesar Chavez, who along with Dolores Huerta founded the National Farm Workers Association.

Here are some quotes from Chavez to remind us of the huge contribution he made for farmworker's rights by advocating for justice, equality, and dignity for all Americans.

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.”

"Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak... Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's Tomato Time!

For those of us who live in southern California, most tomato planting begins in mid-to-late March depending on nighttime temperatures. This means now is the time to plant and luckily for us, there are plenty of places to get a wide variety of yummy heirloom tomato seedlings.

Here are a couple of great events to get you started:
  • Friday, March 26 through Sunday, March 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. TomatoMania! at Tapia Brothers Farm in Encino. This is one of the biggest tomato events in the area, with almost 300 tomato varieties!
  • Wednesday, March 31 through Saturday, April 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Long Beach City College Horticulture Club Plant Sale will feature 4,000 tomato plants for sale. All proceeds benefit the horticulture program.
If you can't make one of these events, why not buy from a local urban farmer? Laurel Garza is owner of Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants in Lomita, Laurel grows and sells over 130 varieties of heirloom tomatoes from her own urban southern California farm. She not only sells year round to online customers, but has on-site plant sales as well. Check out her site for a list of upcoming sales or to schedule an appointment to pick up your plants.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Help Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative

Well, it is hard for me to believe that it's been a whole month since I last posted on my blog! Things have been so busy but I wanted to make sure I got a post up about a great new project that my wonderful Master Garden Program (UC Cooperative Extension Los Angeles County) is launching.

This is the Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative, which is part of UC Cooperative Extension's LA County Common Ground Garden Program.

Click here for a description from UC Cooperative Extension's LA County's own fabulous director Rachel Surls about this exciting new effort,

As she says, UC Master Gardener volunteers and community partners are offering a low-cost, four-session class, held at 10 locations around Los Angeles County, to teach new gardeners the basics of successful vegetable gardening. These "Victory Garden Circles" will provide not only basic lessons, but also a way to stay in touch with fellow gardeners, ask questions, and share produce.

Groups are gearing up to start in late March and early April. Participants who complete all four classes will become UC Certified Victory Gardeners. A google map shows the locations and contact information for each site.

They are hoping to start ten more sites in the fall, and LA Farm Girl is looking for a site to do this in her area, the South Bay, ideally, we need both indoor and outdoor access in case of rain or extreme heat.

You can follow all of the excitement on the blog or at the Initiative's web site