Saturday, March 20, 2010

Seedy behavior, as usual

In the fall of 2008, I moved back to Berkeley, CA, where my plan was to write things I wanted to write -- leaving deadlines aside while doing all those things you can't usually do because you've got some editor sitting on your head for a 2,500 word piece on the dangers of anti-depressants. But kicking workaholism after a decade in New York City for me was as futile as promising to only eat half of a carne asada super burrito and save the rest for later. So I filled out my days by volunteering at the John Muir Elementary School, working with Farmer Jasper (Eiler) and Chef Carrie (Orth) in the gardening and cooking program.  I originally intended to spend a few hours a week at the school, but as soon as I entered the magical, amphitheater-structured garden hidden in the courtyard of John Muir, it became closer to a few hours a day. While the kids got to learn where food comes from, the basic science behind gardening, from weather patterns to nitrogen in the soil, and how to prepare simple, yet interesting recipes, etc. -- I do believe I benefited equally as their average kindergarten- to fifth-grade-level student.  (p.s. Caitlin Flanagan, you can SUCK IT. More on her Atlantic Monthly piece later.) And now, it comes full circle. A few weeks ago I was assigned two pieces on gardening for iVillage.com, which not only prompted me to interview the Berkeley Unified School District's Edible Schoolyard mentor/adviser Wendy Johnson, but also a staff gardener at the High Line park and the curator of the Central Park Conservatory Garden. It also instigated my new East Village roof top garden experiment.

Read about growing an edible garden here, with photos here.
Or creating a cutting garden here , with a slideshow here.

And while we're at it, I have another story in this month's Men's Health (April 2010), a nutrition piece on cooking with oil.

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