Showing posts with label community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community. Show all posts

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our Socially Constructed Jungle - Poem

Socially Constructed Jungle

Over the seas
 Far away
In the neck 
Of the jungle
Trees casts shadows on our eyes

Until we wake up
We won't realise
We grew this jungle deep
and under these trees
I weep.

Don't deny that the trees grew
but were planted by you.
Don't forget that the sun is above.

We all belong
All belong to the roots.
We are the children of the bark.

Awaken to truths
before 
we create clouds
to covers the skies
Under these trees

Under these trees
I weep
Under these trees
We weep.

****



"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil,
but by those who watch them without doing anything"

-Albert Einstein

Let's consider and understand
 this socially constructed jungle
we live in will suffocate us all
if we don't recognise the harm
it has caused by the seeds
from which it was planted.


Dedicated to lives lost
 families in pain
Our global community mourns
A plea for
Truth and Reconciliation
For hate crimes across
the Globe.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Public art meets crowd-funding for social change #ANOTHERLIGHTUP in Cape Town, South Africa






 On De Waal Drive, driving out of the city bowl in Cape Town, South Africa, you have the view of the Cape peninsula's valley also known to many people as The Flats.  The Flats extends all the way to areas like Monwabisi, a sub-area of Khayelitsha, one of Cape Town's most populated districts.


 On that same drive, you can see the new Urban Visionary, a multi-storey mural and light installation created by the founders of Thingking and artist Faith47.  They collaborated on the new design and have enabled public street art to be a catalyst for change through crowdfunding for a social cause.  They aim to raise funds for public street lights to be installed in Monwabisi Park, Khayelitsha, through the organisation VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading).  For every light that is funded for in Monwabisi, the Urban Visionary mural is lit up in the evening- inspiring and engaging more people to become more active members in their society through #anotherlightup


 To read more about it here and to donate to #anotherlightup:



About the project | #ANOTHERLIGHTUP







#ANOTHERLIGHTUP from Design Indaba on Vimeo.

The mural on the same wall before Feb 2014 Urban Visionary #anotherlightup was put up

Friday, June 21, 2013

Creativity with Food & Videos. Education for Change.


This is creativity  . . . in the kitchen.  What happens when a Music selector makes mashed visual alchemy with a visual artist?
This brilliance.  Enjoy this week's Rhymes and Rhythm Wrap up with two great videos:

Artist Driven | What's Cookin? from LRG on Vimeo.

And now with a strong message on exposing the ills of our modern food systems.  Showcasing the need to take responsibility for our food security, to choose wisely in the world of greed in the seed industry.  What happens when we only are given access to food products that don't nourish us on a cellular level but rather stuff a slow 'death down our throat'?  Dr. Vandana Shiva said it best, "It's more dangerous than bombs."  Let's eat foods that grew naturally from nutrient-rich soil.  Let's support permaculture, bio-dynamic farming practices, small-scale local organic farms--but most of all, turn your community into an edible landscape.  Peace to grass lawns, yes to green beans and wheat grass.

Friday, June 14, 2013

We Can Help Eachother Flourish

Original embroidery by Nina Montenegro

CREATE ART
to
 convey messages
relate to global issues, systems thinking, and communal concerns.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Urban Agriculture and Balanced Nutrition for the City of Cape Town: Food Security Summit



 Tomato flavoured corn chips are more accessible to children than GM-free tomatoes in South Africa.

  Meanwhile, Hulett's Sugar was a main sponsor/contributor for The National School Nutrition Programme Recipe Book.

 Is Education being sold out to food companies controlled by profit instead of the well-being of their consumers?

Was combatting dietary diabetes on the Dept. of Education's agenda?

The good news is that questions surrounding food security are being asked and brought to the awareness of Cape Town citizens.

One solution is to develop proposals for preferential trading of producers selling
Sponsors of the Department of Education support a recipe book filled with their products. 
healthy and local food.  This could change our feeding
landscape and changing this picture to the left of the young child snacking on "Crack -a- Snack" to him displaying a bite from his apple grown on his street corner.

Only two options for vegetables in the South Africa Dept. of Education Recipe Book.  Oh, and don't forget to add sugar!

Other questions regarding food security concerns and solutions in Cape Town:

Wetlands to possibly be used as organic farming in? 
 Agricultural focus schools?
Educational programmes to reduce dietary diabetes and practical skills for healthy food production?
Utilising urban space for food gardens?

The Food Security Summit held in Khayelitsha on May 24 and 25, 2013 addressed pressing issues around our shared necessity: Food justice, urban agriculture, and health education were some of the topics discussed.  Below is the document that was shared on May 26th, 2013.




Site E in Khayelitsha.  Potential for urban food production.
Declaration of the Food Security Summit held in Khayelitsha on 24 and 25 May 2013



We, the delegates gathered here at the Khayelitsha Campus of the False Bay College, have engaged over the last two days about the challenge of food security facing our communities. 
With the benefit of listening to a keynote address by the Minister of National Planning, an address by the acting Mayor of Cape Town and various inputs from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Provincial Department of Agriculture, the City of Cape Town, the Philippi Horticultural Area Food and Farming Campaign and the Mitchells Plain Education Forum (MPEF);
And having participated in vigorous discussions in commissions that covered the following critical areas of urban food security:
1) Enabling urban food production and access to markets for small-scale farmers;
2) Addressing the health and well-being of urban residents through food-based interventions (e.g. household and community gardens, nutrition education, making healthy foods more accessible in the market);
3) Social safety nets to ensure food security: The role of civil society and government in assisting vulnerable groups;
4) Urban planning and governance as tools to address food insecurity; and
5) Food justice and the Right to Food;

Food security solutions: Urban agricultural, community gardens and home food production
And having had the privilege of conducting site visits to the Siyazama Community Gardens, the Rocklands Primary School and the Philippi Agricultural Area;
And further noting:
That food security is defined by the FAO as:
“[T]he condition when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active, healthy life.”
Although much of the focus has historically been on ensuring the availability of food at the national scale, household-scale food security is comprised of availability of food, access to food, use of food, and the stability of availability, access and use. Each of these dimensions needs to be addressed in order to ensure food security for urban residents.
There has been a remarkable turnaround since about 2005 in child underweight and stunting trends (although the latter, especially, is still too high) but at the same time there has been a steady upward trend in both mean Body Mass Index figures (with the mean now close to technical obesity) for adults (both male and female).
Food insecurity is not simply determined by household poverty and food choices, but also by market structure, food pricing, access to safe storage and cooking technologies, access to social protection, amongst others.

We therefore resolve :
To ensure the utilisation of existing land attached to people’s houses for food gardens, beginning immediately with a pilot project in at least one Mitchells Plain and one Khayelitsha street;
• To engage National, Provincial and Local government authorities, parastatals as well as private land owners including churches and mosques to release excess land at schools, churches, correctional and health services facilities;
• To lobby the City of Cape Town to ensure that urban agriculture is included as one of the land uses in the spatial development framework;
• To engage with the owners and prospective owners of the “DENEL” land at Swartklip to ensure that the development plan includes clear set-asides for urban agriculture to benefit the surrounding communities;
• To protect all agricultural-zoned land within the City of Cape Town and on the urban edge from opportunistic attempts to rezone and/or sell such land;
• To initiate a focused land audit to identify appropriate land for urban agriculture within the South East Metro region. This audit should be completed within six months;
• To investigate the use of the wetlands within the PHA for organic farming;
• To campaign for the establishment of an agricultural support centre/hub to support all aspirant agriculturists and farmers in the South East Metro;
• To support subsistence smallholders as well as commercial farming where viable within the South East Metro;
• To support small-scale producers with access to abattoirs, warehouses and packaging facilities to ensure that these producers obtain maximum value from the various stages of the production and distribution chain;
• To support the objections to all attempts to rezone the Philippi Horticultural Area, including the consideration of legal steps to secure this land for urban agriculture. In particular, the Summit agreed to organise a special presentation to the leadership of KDF and MPEF as well as the steering committee concerning the 475 hectares Rapicorp 122 land;
• To initiate awareness programmes on balanced meals in the community;
• To have education programmes on the dietary causes of diabetes;
• To initiate comprehensive training on the establishment and maintenance of household and community gardens, especially for people who are not able to buy and store fresh vegetables;
• To promote early childhood and school-centred solutions to provide balanced meals for poorly nourished children. Such solutions should include food gardens at schools and kitchens with trained community dieticians/nutritionists. This could include community development workers and those employed by the Community Works Programme.
• That the NPC be requested to assist to ensure alignment and co-ordination of government programmes regarding social safety nets;
• That a social compact including KDF and MPEF and other role players should be established to drive social 
security provisioning in these areas; 
• That the IDP of the City should be used as a tool to address the food security needs of the community on a sustainable basis. Such IDPs should include a clear programme of land release to support a fair social safety net and be informed by the need for a local food security strategy;
• To reaffirm that Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain have been declared as Presidential urban renewal nodes and that this status should be maintained to ensure ongoing support from all spheres of government;
• That co-operatives should be the main vehicle through which community food production takes place and that there should be an urgent investigation as to the status of the Khayelitsha Poverty Reduction Programme;
• That recipients of Child Support Grants should be monitored as part of the social compact to ensure that they complete their schooling;
• That there should be community consultation about urban space utilisation for food gardens;
• That there should be national regulation for food retailing;
• That there should be monitoring by the City of both food pricing as well as quality;
• That, as part of the process of finalising the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy, an opportunity should be created to discuss the use of pesticides, GMOs and other farming production inputs;
• To develop proposals about preferential trading for those producers selling healthy and locally produced food and to lobby for implementation of these proposals by the City;
• That central to the attainment of the right to food is to ensure adequate access to land, water and appropriate seed;
• To embark on a programme to strengthen all community-based organisations involved in urban agriculture by securing support for organisational development, funding and capacity building; 

Many South Africa dinner tables do not serve fresh fruit or fresh vegetables.  It mainly consists of starchy produce, grain,  sugar and sometimes meat.
• To call for the urgent finalisation of the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy and ensure an opportunity for dialogue and participation as part of this process;
• To fully support Section 27 of the South African Constitution and call on Parliament to urgently address the required legislation and regulatory framework to give effect to these provisions;
• To call on DAFF and the broader social cluster within Government to convene a broader Western Cape summit for all urban communities in the province on urban food security, with the possible support of the NPC. To further call on DAFF and the social cluster to convene similar food security summits in at least one urban centre in each of the nine provinces;
• To support the unregistered ECD centres to obtain registration so that they may benefit from the relevant state subsidy;
• To convene a public forum in the South East Metro to discuss the impact of GMOs on food security;
• To call for an urgent engagement with the relevant Government departments to ensure that the ECD, Primary and High school curricula include the provision of practical skills for the production of food;
• To approach DAFF and DTI to conduct a value chain study to assess the income earned by small-scale producers as well as other participants within the South East Metro;
• To initiate a broad public awareness campaign about food justice and the right to food. 

We further resolve that, in order to ensure the implementation of this declaration, the KDF and MPEF executives should convene the steering committee within two weeks to develop an implementation plan to take the content of this decaration forward.
We further noted the following offers and proposals:
• Bidvest offer to enter an MOU regarding the purchase of product grown by community growers;
• An Urban Agriculture Exhibition (Show) for Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain;
• Youth Animal Show;
• Agricultural focus school to serve Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain;
• A social media intervention, including cellphone technology, for community nutrition and farming networks; and
• Invitations, both formal and informal, for a community delegation to visit various organisations in China, Cuba, Brazil and Italy.
And thus resolve that these proposals be further discussed by the steering committee to be convened by the KDF and MPEF.
In conclusion we declare our deep gratitude to all those responsible for organising and funding the Food Security Summit in Khayelitsha.

Our special thanks are noted to the following Sponsors:
• DAFF
• Old Mutual
• City of Cape Town (URP)
• Brimstone
• Khayelitsha Community Trust
We leave this summit energised and passionate about implementing the contents of this declaration and are confident that we will make progress in the struggle against poverty and food insecurity.

Sunday 26 May 2013 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Inspiration for 100 in 1 Day Cape Town: Let's Plant Some shit.



When the problem becomes the solution: FOOD.  Growing it and sharing the seeds for a healthy future.  Props to "Let's Plant some SHIT!"  Ron Finley's talk gave insight on what motivated him and his team to grow edible usable greens.  http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.html
LA Green Grounds is an inspiration to create action, intervention, share ideas.  




On a Cape Town ground level: I wonder what we could come up with at 100 in 1 day: Cape Town facilitated by Kaospilots


On May 25th, 100 in 1 day: Cape Town will be a citizen driven festival of doing, that let's us realise our dreams we want to see and create in our city just like Ron Finley did.   

 I want to see food forests and fruit trees to be at bus stops.  When I walk my dog, I can also bring a bag and pick fruits in my neighbourhood along the way.  I do find fruit trees where I can . . . here are some of my recipes from The Culinary Linguist.

An interesting fact:

"Why did Jan Van Riebeeck plant roses in the Cape? Not for cut flowers, but for rose water"

 - Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche - South African storytelling on a plate (from her talk at EatOut Food Network DsTV Conference in Cape Town)

Now I don't feel so bad picking lemons occasionally from Company Garden's lemon tree in the rose bush section.  


Monday, July 30, 2012

Video Love collage on our Beach Wedding Day: June 30th 2012



Our wonderful friend, Claire Homewood created this beautiful video montage of our wedding festival and ceremony on June 30th, 2012.  It is still so touching to relive those moments of supreme happiness and celebration with our family and friends.

 Umtamvuna River Lodge, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The 10000m dash of the 13th IAAF World Championships and the spirit of community


  
This morning I watching the men’s 10,000 metre dash of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea 2011.  We watched the athletes run with various paces and wondered about the strategy that goes through the runner’s minds on what lap to push yourself. What goes through your mind when you are on your last lap giving your all?  Great Britain runner, Mohammed Farah, was in the lead for the last two laps with the two Ethiopian competitors, Ibrahim Jeilan and Imane Merga, strides behind.  Then in the last lap, Ibrahim Jeilan, lengthened his strides and picked up his speed to win the race at 27:13:81. Click here for results.
   The two Ethiopian winners, 1st and 3rd, were celebrating together and ran with the proud red, yellow and green Ethiopian flag together around the track. The smiles and happiness in both men's eyes reminded me of the beautiful celebration as community, because of many, we are one.  If you had not watched the race you couldn't tell which of the Ethiopian athletes won 1st place, they shared extreme happiness as they were both winners.  There is pan-culture in the world that emphasizes the ‘me’ commonly found in Western countries that are focused on a capitalist-money dictating government that creates a culture surrounding those ideals.  But there are many people around the world, in and outside the ‘me’ capitalist systems that practice a culture of community.  The Ethiopian champions running a victory lap together was a beautiful physical representation of the culture of community support.  Instead of I am; We are.  We celebrate who we are because of each other!  I hope we continue to live in a world with these communal ideals.

  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Messages on the wall: Public Street Art


Meeting Os Gemeos en Atenas in 2005 was a highlight-sharing my writing style with them, checking their sketches and the motivation behind the wall they were commissioned to paint lit my street art passion into a higher gear.  The wall they painted is the whole bus station that lines the...in Gazi.  It’s images of people riding bicycles in nature, using alternative methods of transportation than diesel-guzzling motors.  Like a photo, contrast is important.  
I wonder now if there is a bike lane on that road? :)
Now back in South Africa: 
 Fear is a prison.  Fear is in the woman dressed in pink.  She says, “Excuse me, do you have permission to paint on this wall?”
“Yes, we do” 
“No, you don’t!”
“Yes, we do.”
“I’m going to call the police and . . . . Blah blah blah.”  Fear is a prison, dear sister in pink. And thank you for wearing pink but your threats we do not fear. I may rather ask for what is threatening you?  Has anyone but yourself ever solved what it threatening you?  I assure you, police are just people like you and me, and so what is there to fear? Police, more art, silence, thought, there is nothing to fear.  Don’t make up threats unless do you believe you are not free? Oh so that is why you chose the prison and threaten others to join you? No thank, we do our best to stand free, come join us, you’ll like it.
“We’ve tried to uplift this area . . .” she later explained to a listening ear.
And so what is upliftment? 
To threaten your community members is not uplifting.
Use your anger to change something in yourself.
As we express ourselves freely, we uplift ourselves freely. And if we live in this community, that we can be brave and fearless in, we are uplifted because we are not threatened or threaten ourselves because we live in fear. Just like you dress in pink, you are expressing materially on your body canvas-go head! I’ll lend you my pink sweater next time I see you in the neighborhood. 
And if we live in this world, that free expressive vibration roots into each step-changing our geographical minds. And with each step, another one is taken and shared by another free individual that crosses our path, unthreatened.  And there, two souls, moving freely, uplifted by their own choices, their inspirations and individual motivations, transform, positively, the world we live in. Upliftment! 
So thank you for painting the wall red. The contrast is beautiful-uplifting-and for the next individual to say yes to the canvas, to spread their free public uplifting expression.
 And slowly, we will all move out of the prison.



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