Friday, July 23, 2010


Photography JHM©10

Several days ago,I wrote this on a day when I was filled literally & figuratively of pretense & a level of selfishness, tackiness & yes even crudity that we are seeing a huge surge of in this country.

And as a disclaimer, No, I am not saying everyone or everyplace, so if the shoe does not fit, you do not have to wear it or make it applicable to yourself. If is only my observation on a day I was too filled...

With so many people having mad crazy distressful times, in my opinion, I see a level that borders on the absurd how people's "me-ism", the selfishness many are displaying, not even being honest with one's self let alone anything else.

Whether we like it or not, whether we can find justification or not to placate to ease our discomfort, we are indeed our brother (and our sisters) keepers good bad or indifferent. We are only as strong as our weakest link & even that weakest link has intelligence, capablilities, strength, fortitude.

What the link needs is a break.


By JHM ©10

My ears are as raw & full as they will be
So I cannot hear any longer
All the platitudes
About the sun coming out tomorrow
When I am standing in a torrential downpour today...
Those platitudes from flaccid lips
Are attitudes that does not practice what it preaches...
Words that are as vacant as the foreclosed homes
Whose disposed occupants are forced to look elsewhere...
Like the absentee jobs for those over over 50
Or black (among others)...

My ears
are raw & filled ...
There is no more room to hear any longer
When you whisper the words
"The sun will come out tomorrow"
as I stand drenched in the rain today...
Needing an umbrella or the ability to come out of the rain.
Say what you will
DO what you may
But my ears are too full & raw
To hear any longer...
What you have to say.

All rights reserved©7-20-10

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Weigh to Oh... I I didn't know that!

Eggplants with Green Beans "peeking" in!
My 1st "fruit"

Bell Peppers & Eggplants

Cantaloupes... I cannot wait for them to bear fruit!

Cucumbers 7-13-10

While I am now enjoying the beginning fruits of my garden, I've been reading an excellent book entitled "Grub" which gives many amazing facts about the typical American diet. The authors, Anna Leppes & Bryant Terry, two young energetic& compassionate young people, one who is a chef have included in the 3rd section a battery of delicious recipes to use. They are not "food Nazi" not trying to force any way of living on anyone, but bringing some awareness. Bryant Terry, the chef has actually started a program in Brooklyn New York aiding young folks to know where their food is coming from & how to grow what they need even in an urban city like New York.
We know nationwide there are "food deserts". Ebony magazine did a story on it back in May. It is hard to imagine, but know it is happening that there are places where the average young person will not have access to healthy food and knows little about how food is really suppose to taste. And yet we wonder & bemoan the rising obesity among not only older folks but the very young.
Trust me, if I am putting my hands in dirt to grow my own food, in part to save money, but also to know what I am getting in my body, almost anyone can grow even the basics. I have a container garden although I have a large back yard. But because of challenges it is difficult to kneel, so the New Orleans Food & Farm Network, a group of enterprising young folks came and placed 10 containers with all the "fixins'" to start a garden in for me a couple of months ago.
Their belief as in many similar groups around the country is ensuring ones have equal access to healthy food and healthier lives.
I never thought I would see myself with a compost, but composting I am. I've learn the "critters" in the compost is a good sign, but honestly do I have to see them?
At some point post surgery & recovery, I will be able to do more, but for right now I manage a little and reap a lot...
But caring for it is up to me...
Some of the side benefits has done wonders for my stress levels. I've learned how to avoid the worst parts of the New Orleans heat and one day I will be able to grow proper tomatoes. We have here a longer growing season, however certain foods will only grow at certain times. Tomatoes, okra and a few others have 2 growing seasons in a year here as I've come to learn.
Now back to "Grub":

They believe like others that all should have access to healthy food.

So in reading book I've learn some interesting & disturbing facts...

Did you know:

Among infants & toddlers 1/2 did not eat one single vegetable for lunch & 1/3 will have none at dinner

Only vegetable consumption on the rise is romaine lettuce & bagged lettuce?

1/2 of Americans consume less then 1 serving of fruit a day? Only 1 in 5 eat 5 servings a day...

Our typical diet is causing obesity & obesity related diseases to sky rocket. Our diet is making us sick and is implicated in many disease like cancer & Type 2 diabetes... But there are others...

Only 3 vegetables iceberg lettuce, potatoes (frozen, fresh ) and canned tomatoes constituted nearly half of all vegetables consumed in 2000.

We eat 38% more fats & oils today then in 1970~600 calories more per day with many of them being trans Or "bad" fats.

Average American consumes twice the recommended amount of salt per day...

We are eating 223 pounds of meat per person per year up from 177 pounds in 1970 & all but a tiny percent is raised on factory farms, fed a diet that includes antibiotics & growth hormones?
Fast food companies pays singers & rappers to riff about Big Mac in their hits songs although a
Big Mac hits you with 60% of your maximum daily dose of saturated fats & 30% of your salt intake?
Food & beverage industry marketing to kids in U.S. eats up between 10-12 billion dollars a year enough to provide health insurance for EVER uninsured child in the U.S.?

There are more Americans going hungry every year, 32 million, more then the entire population of Canada although there is enough food to satisfy 2 times the caloric needs for every American.

Farmers' despair is deepening as agri-business are either forcing them out or become modern day serfs. Farmers suicide rates is twice the national average and the 5th leading cause of death in the Midwest.

A lot to take in, eh?

Make no mistake every once in awhile I indulge in a Big Mac maybe once or twice a year...

I think there are creative ways we could all co-exist and provide healthier food for all...

I am happy that this weekend I was able to although a humble beginning to provide a local food bank that was started by a young woman right in her day care for her children whose parents although working people cannot manage to keep much food in the house, some of the fruits of my garden. The owner has started her own garden but I was able to provide her, green beans, eggplants and some herbs as she will need far more then I can consume.

It made me feel good and in some small weigh able to help someone else out...
I am planning later this year to triple the size of my garden & include fruit in the mix.
If you are in the New Orleans area contact the New Orleans Food & Farm Network if you are serious about putting a garden in. They do indeed take donations, but if you are truly unable to pay they will still accomadate you. They are an altruistic group but like any non-profit are always looking for donations to continue their good work.

I will be later donating some artwork to aid them in their fundraising efforts.

Check out info online from these groups too...

And Chef Bryant Terry has released a new book entitled "Soul Vegan Kitchen"

I read of him in July O magazine where he speaks about traditional soul food and taking it back to its West African roots. I did not know that the typical diet was mostly grain vegetables with little meat except for flavor. And even in slavery while enslaved Africans had to become creative in what they ate, still stuck to those traditions. And while other foods were introduced, the level of work they did prevented what we now, morphing into 2010, from having problems with obesity. Chef Bryant has created numerous delightful foods without losing the soul in the soul food.

"Triumph is always nearest when defeat seems inescapable"