Tag Archives: Community

CSU Fun November Events!

A great South Los Angeles group CSU (Community Services Unlimited) is having two really cool earth friendly events in November. One’s a gourmet food party featuring Caribbean Cuisine and the other is the start of their monthly gardening workshop.

P.S. If you’re looking for locally grown organic produce you can sign up with CSU and for an incredibly reasonable fee, pick up a bag weekly. It’s the best. Read more about it at : csuinc.org And now the events!

Friday, November 12th : 6pm to 8pm.
Caribbean Cuisine Food Party!
featuring Kamilche Sea Farms Mussels
Hosted by Shema Muhuga, a friend of CSU at his Playa Del Rey residence, this food party will feature the mouthwatering flavors of the Caribbean. Soca and Calypso will be the music playing for the evening along with video footage from the October 2010 Los Angeles Carnival and the February 2010 Trinidad and Tobago carnival. As always local seasonal produce will be highlighted, but a special item for this evening will be a treat for sea food lovers. Kamilche Sea Farms has been farming mussels in the Puget Sound since 1981 and since 1986 has specialized in the culture of the premium Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis).  These mussels, common to Spain, are believed to have been brought over to the Pacific centuries ago on the bottoms of Spanish Galleons.  Today Kamilche Sea Farms grows these mussels starting with premium hatchery seed.  Suspended from long lines in the rich deep waters of the Puget Sound, a premium mussel is ready for harvest in less than a year. Kamilche Sea Farms’ growing waters, in Totten Inlet, have been state certified since 1926. This bay is designated by the Washington Department of Ecology as a “Unique Growing Area” due to its pristine waters and high shellfish productivity. Strict watershed protection measures ensure that it will remain pure for generations to come. A huge thank you to Kamilche Sea Farms for the donation of the mussels for this Food Party, we encourage you to check out http://www.kamilcheseafarms.com and support those businesses that support sustainable communities. A detailed menu and address for the event will be sent to those that RSVP, but you can be sure to get home cooked gourmet food, featuring locally grown and beyond organic produce, at an incredible price of $20.00, along with great company and the knowledge that your dollars are supporting a great cause.
Spaces are limited, so RSVP soon to Dyanep1@csuinc.org or call 323 299 7075.

Saturday, November 13th : 9am to 1pm.
Garden Gateway Workshop Series
Planting to Amend Soil + Healthy Greens
EXPO Center/CSU Urban Farm, corner of King and Bill Robertson Lane (formerly Menlo Ave), 3980 S. Bill Robertson Lane., LA, CA 90037, next door to the senior center, enter from Bill Robertson Lane. Garden Gateway Project Workshop Series takes place on the 2nd Saturday of every month. The Community Gateway to Building Food Self-Reliance –  Free Gardening, Nutrition and Cooking Workshop! In partnership with: The EXPO Center, UNO and USC Keck School of Medicine Childhood Obesity Research Center.
To RSVP call 323 299 7075
and please be prepared to attend the entire workshop.  Download flier at http://www.csuinc.org


A Worthwhile Life

Sooooo, what am I doing when I’m not working on my house, photography, full time job, silkscreening, etc… The project I’ve been working on for that past year, that’s what!

The Center : South LA, a soon to be arts center in South Los Angeles. That’s right folks. Living in south la, I’m blown away by the lack of access to an arts education. It’s taken me a year to do the research, set up all the legals, design the brand, website and other collateral, gather teachers and read a billion articles and memorize facts about how art affects the brain and improves peoples lives.

Did you know, that when youth, (Who were previously in juvie, ie locked up.) get involved in an arts program, their behavioral problems are reduced by 75% and they are 50% less likely to commit another crime. Did you know that? That my friends, is the power of art.

Basically art seriously affects your ability to learn how to learn. Reading and writing skills improve, aggression issues and truancy are reduced. It’s all around awesome. I have a list of the amazing things art does.

This is a project I am very passionate about. My dad always said that “Like isn’t fair”, but damn it, it should be. And if I can do this, and bring art opportunities to a section of Los Angeles that has long been ignored, then I can feel like my life has had purpose. Because that’s what I want. To live a life that touches other people. With that, I could die happy.

But here’s the thing. Nothing happens by itself, I need YOUR help. Please please please spread the word and donate. You can make a tax-deductable donation on our website here: http://www.thecentersouthla.com/donate.html as well as read more about The Center. Tell your friends, tell your family, TELL people what we’re doing. And by we, I mean we. Because you need to do this too. And then you can say “I Art LA”.

Bombs Away!

I have such a crazy backlog of posts. I’ve been taking photos with my cellphone, but haven’t been able to get the photos off my cellphone until now. Be prepared buddies, for a bunch of posts in the coming weeks.

Anywhos, for my birthday this year me and my friends made a bunch of seed bombs. You can see my buddy B in the photo above rocking out with the dirt.

In case you weren’t aware seed bombs are these awesome little balls of dirt that have seeds in them. The plus side to them is that you’re able to throw them into places that are hard to guerilla garden. (Like empty lots with big fences, the sides of freeways, on-ramps, off-ramps, etc…) If you don’t use seed bombs, and just throw seeds, I heard 80% of seed you throw ends up being eaten by ants, birds and other wildlife. Seed bombs on the other hand are protected in their dirt/clay shell, and basically melt when the rains come. PERFECT for Los Angeles. The compost you add to them, and the red clay have nutrients to help the seeds grow.

This was my first time making them and we used the most common recipe that’s floating around the internet.

5 parts dry red clay (think powder, like flour)
3 parts compost
1 part seeds

Mix all the ingredients together and then start adding water slowly. You want the ingredients to stick together and form nice little marble sized balls, but not be soaking wet. It takes about 3-7 days for them to dry out.

I used a bunch of native wildflower drought tolerant seeds this time around. We made hundreds of seed bombs. At the time of this posting, ALL of them have been thrown. Most of them on the 110 freeway, some on the south la exits off the 10 freeway, and then parts of the 101 freeway in highland park. I can’t wait till Spring to see how well/not well this has worked. I figure the first time around is the hardest. After this anything that does sprout up will also self-sow. So every year will just be better and better and better.

I want to see a rainbow of color!

South LA and The Gays

I was talking to a friend of mine (who lives in West Hollywood) about South Central and it’s awesomeness. He had this question for me: “What does South L.A. think of the gays?”

Honestly, at the time I didn’t know. There’s very much a live and let live policy that goes on here. Some of my friends use to practice their punk band in my garage and my neighbors never had a problem with it. (We always stopped when it started to get late.) The house across the street from me has a party once a year that goes until 2am. But again, it’s once a year. I don’t mind and neither do any of my other neighbors. Life is meant to be lived. Other than that my street is pretty quiet. Really, really quiet. When I lived in San Francisco neighbors sucked. Anytime me, or anyone I know had a get together, the cops would always get called. My old friends, Leslie, Daniel and I would try and throw a party about once a year and it was always a pain in the ass. Come on people. Once a year is not a big deal.

So with this, live and let live, mentality that South LA seems to run on I figured it would apply to Gay friendliness as well, but I wasn’t sure. My friend then asked me: “Well how did everyone respond to Prop 8? Were there protests? Celebrations?”

I didn’t really notice anything one way or the other. So I checked around. This is what I found. There were “No on Prop 8” rallies and protests showing strong gay support in South LA. According to this short LA Times article here there was a rally in Leimert Park nearly 1,000 strong with clergy members and gay couples that support gay marriage.

Photos by Zeal Harris:


Photos by Zeal Harris


Photos by Zeal Harris

Photos by Zeal Harris

Photos by Zeal Harris

Photos by Zeal Harris

Photos by Zeal Harris

Check out more photos here.

South Los Angeles… Wetlands?


South Los Angeles is making moves. Serious moves. Apparently the city is transforming a former Metro bus yard at 5413 Avalon Blvd into the “South Los Angeles Wetlands Park.” Yay for us. And if you all forgot, we’re also getting a light rail along Exposition Blvd (Phase one is from downtown to Culver City) which will be done by summer of 2010 (Phase Two extends it all the way to the beach in Santa Monica.) The 9 acre wetlands park (phase one) is also going to be done in 2010. December is the word. June 11th was the ground breaking so things are officially underway.  The computer renderings look amazing. I hope it lives up to the dream. It’ll be nice to have some more green space in South L.A. And 9-acres worth, even more awesome! Looking at the drawings for the Exposition light rail, the plans for that include green space on either side and a bike path. So those two projects alone are going to give us some serious greening up.

This is all really good news to me. I just got back from a trip to beautiful Seattle. I love that city. Everything is so green and healthy there. I come back to LA and it hurts. LA may have sunny skies but this city is so damn grey. Grey concrete everywhere. It kills me on the inside.

This wetlands news is such a breath of fresh air. And it will be, literally.

For more photos and articles about the wetlands check out these links:


View From A Loft

Curbed Los Angeles

Gimme More Restaurants


A buddy of mine came over last Saturday to check out homes for sale in the area. After checking out a few of them, and doing a little South LA mini-tour, (always rad) he asked me where a good b-fast spot was… Well, if he had asked me for a good burger spot there’s a bunch, or if he felt like fast food, there’s every fast food option known to man in South LA. But, a place to just sit, chill, and eat the classic eggs, bacon and hashbrowns…. The options are slim. Very slim.

In 2008 the city passed a ban on allowing any new fast food restaurants in South LA. Instead, LA has created a bunch of incentive programs for sit-down restaurants and grocery stores if they open in the area. It took me forever to find, but here it is: a pdf of all the incentives the city is offering to possible restaurant owners.

There’s a lot of interesting information. I also read a LA Times article about the whole thing that added this little bit of info:

“According to a 2005 market study contracted by the city, South L.A. loses more than $400 million annually in general merchandise, grocery and restaurant sales to outside areas.”

So yes, people in south LA have money to spend, but very little options on where to spend it.

I want my eggs damnit.

Earthday Radness


So, besides planting trees last Saturday, I also checked out that Earthday Fair/Event I told you guys about. It was AWESOME. I got to see the launch of the veggie bus, listen to some rad music, drink a smoothie that came from a blender powered by a bike, and check out the cool booths. I also got to see what Normandie Avenue Elementary School looks like. There are some sweet things going on at that school.

Community Services Unlimited Inc. is the group that organized the Earthday Fair. They also do a lot of work with Normandie Avenue Elementary School. One of the things they do is teach the kids how to grow fruits and veggies. You can check out the sweet photos of their raised bed gardening area. I don’t know if you can tell or not, but this area is huge. Puts my raised beds to shame.

I also saw some kids painting a mural which was neat-o.

I got some flyers with more info about Community Services Unlimited. I found out that they do CSA boxes for my area. In case you don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You can sign up and each week receive a bag filled with organic seasonal fruits, vegetables and dried herbs.

Check out more about it here.