Helping the Homeless with Katie’s Krops!

It all began with a cabbage. At the age of 8, Katie Stagliano brought home a tiny cabbage seedling, which soon grew into a 40 lb behemoth. She generously donated her massive cabbage to a local soup kitchen, where it fed an amazing 245 people!

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After seeing how much good resulted from her donation, Katie made it her mission to start gardens to provide fresh vegetables to people in need. Her organization, Katie’s Krops, now has over 100 gardens, and has donated thousands of pounds of produce to charity. The mission of Katie’s Krops is to empower young people to grow local gardens and encourage others to do the same.

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Katie’s Krops even offers grants to young people to provide funds to start their garden. Anyone between the ages of 9-16 can apply here!

It’s so wonderful to see young people taking the initiative to help those in need, while getting useful experience in growing healthy food!

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Sikh “Gift to the Planet”!

This November will be the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of India’s Sikh religion. In celebration, Sikhs are undertaking a project to plant 1,000,000 trees all over the world!

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The project, coordinated by EcoSikh, is described as “a gift to the entire planet”, and is intended to slow climate change and help reconnect people with nature. Most of the trees will be planted in India, but there are also some being planted in other parts of the world as well. They plan to use species of trees and shrubs native to the area, which provides food and shelter to local wildlife.

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They are also working with Afforestt, an organization that promotes the planting and care of mini-forests, and plan to have the project completed by Guru Nanak’s birthday in November.

This is so inspiring! The whole Earth and everyone on it will benefit from this wonderful project!

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The Great Green Wall!

There has been a lot of talk about building walls lately…but this is one wall that EVERYONE can gladly support!

The Great Green Wall is an initiative currently happening in Africa. The goal is to build a massive wall of trees at the edge of the Sahara, to prevent the desert from expanding and taking over too much usable land. Many countries are participating, and the final wall will span the entire width of the continent — an astounding 8000km (5000mi) long!!

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The project is about 15% completed so far, and the goals are to restore 100 million hectares of farmland, create 350,000 jobs, and trap 250 million tons of carbon by 2030. Once completed, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef. Wow!

This is such a cool project, and I can’t believe I’ve just now learned about it! It’s an amazing show of solidarity for so many countries to work together on such an ambitious plan, and the results sound promising so far. Not only is it good for the people of Africa, it should also be enormously helpful for wildlife and the Earth’s climate as well.

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It’s wonderful to see people working together to create a win-win situation for the entire world!  You can see more details about the Green Wall project at their website here.

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Emerging from the Acorn

I’ve been listening to old episodes of the Consciously Speaking podcast, and a point from one of the interviews stood out to me. In episode 307, while discussing his Emergence theory, teacher Derek Rydall says:

“Our whole idea of how we’re meant to grow and unfold is backwards. The oak is already in the acorn. The acorn doesn’t go out and achieve an oak or attract an oak or become worthy of an oak. And the acorn itself isn’t an inadequate oak tree, it’s a perfect acorn, it just has a lot more potential. When the conditions are right, that potential naturally emerges out of the seed.”

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I love this analogy! We tend to believe that we start as an empty blank, and that greatness and happiness are things outside of us that we have to search for and find. But in reality, greatness is within us all along. Our job is to plant it, cultivate it, and help it grow.

If the conditions are right, a humble acorn can become a mighty oak. We can create the right conditions by paying attention to what makes us happy and fulfilled, and moving toward that as much as possible. Make the effort to surround yourself with good people, places, and experiences, and it’s like fertilizer to a hungry seed.

Think of yourself as a perfect acorn, with a tall oak tree inside you. You already have the power to become that tree, so believe in yourself and start growing!

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First signs of Autumn!

It’s been a long, hot summer, but here in the northern hemisphere we’re heading into autumn! The cool weather took its time getting here, but I’m starting to see signs of the turn of the season in the nature around my home.

Most of the leaves are still summer green, but there are a few hints of changing leaves; the oak in my front yard dropped this lovely red leaf, and the dogwood is just beginning to turn yellow.

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The dogwood is also popping out shiny, bright red berries.

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And the oak tree has been dropping acorns for a while now.

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One of my neighbors is excited to see the cool weather too! 🙂

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I love autumn, how about you? I’m looking forward to colorful leaves, fresh apples, and lots of nice long walks with the dog!

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A Lesson from Sunflowers – Bloom as you are!

Every year I like to grow sunflowers in the sunny part of the yard near my fence. Usually they grow to about 4-5 ft tall (1.2-1.5m), with a saucer-sized flower head filled with hundreds of seeds.

Last year's sunflower

This year, I was super busy in June and left the seedlings in the starter cups for too long. I planted them anyway, and now I have two rows of stunted mini-sunflowers, most of which are only knee high or so.

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I was afraid they wouldn’t bloom at all because they’re so small, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a flower head start growing on each and every plant! Several of them have opened already, and as you can see (notice the chain link fence for scale), the flower is only about the size of a regular daisy or zinnia bloom.

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I find this very inspiring! Life (ok, me) gave them a weak start, and left them much smaller than usual. But instead of giving up and refusing to bloom, they’re popping out the best flower they can. They don’t sit around in the dirt crying because of their situation, or comparing themselves to other sunflowers, they just spread their leaves, happily create a flower head, and open it up to the sun. Each flower, though small, is perfect in its own way; it has beautiful yellow petals, soft florets filled with nectar and pollen, and young seeds growing and ripening inside.

I think we humans should pay attention to this message! Instead of dwelling on the unfairness of your situation, the difficulties that you face, or feelings of not being good enough, just BLOOM. Bloom the best you can, with what you have, where you are. Your contribution is meaningful and valid, even if it doesn’t look like someone else’s. Make YOUR flower, whatever that may be, and share it proudly with the world.

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Do as the sunflowers do, and BLOOM AS YOU ARE! You’re worth it. 🙂

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Good News Report: Trees, and lots of them!

A young German boy named Felix Finkbeiner has a big goal – to battle climate change by planting a trillion trees!

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In 2007, Felix founded Plant for the Planet, an organization that empowers kids all over the world to plant trees. He was inspired by the work of Wangari Maathai, who created an initiative to plant 30 million trees across Africa.

Plant for the Planet has grown so big that Felix was even invited to speak at the UN, and he’s now in charge of a program to plant a TRILLION trees!

I love seeing young folks take an interest in activism and positive change. You can find out more about Plant for the Planet here.

And check out these other resources about Felix and his program:

Facebook Page

National Geographic

UN Billion tree campaign

Trillion Trees

Good News Network

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