Welcome to the Blog for Busy Moms!
This blog is the home of THE MAMALUTION! Calling all moms, grandmoms, sisters & aunts to tap into their instinctual & intuitive wisdom to save the day! It is time for our collective voice to be heard.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Comfortable Consumerism


Ah...tis the season when consumerism is in full swing. I have emersed myself the past few years with trying to understand this complicated position we human beings have manifested for ourselves. We have become so comfortable with the convenience of having practically "everything we need" at our disposal here in America and yet remain blind to the cost.


We showed the film The 11th Hour last night for our free film series at the co-op (one of my favorite films ever) and the same feelings flooded my mind as the first time I watched it. The film brilliantly depicts the relationship between our current crisis on the planet and the incessant greed humans have for more. It clearly correlates our role as consumers and the impact our consumption has had (and continues to have) on Nature.


The question is...how do we wean ourselves from our addiction to convenience? How do we shift the mindset of millions to a worldview that embraces frugality - not scarcity, but rather frugality where there is a balance...where we actually consider the economic value of what Mother Nature herself contributes on a daily basis rather than just taking and taking.


It is this call to action that I am constructing with every insight I have come to understand as I reach out to other mothers through the pages of my book. It is a sense of values, a getting back to what is real, an appreciation of life itself that so many of us are yearning for but not knowing quite how to find.


In our states of consuming, we have become numb and dumb. Our brains are foggy. Yet, slowly, we can begin to clear our minds by eating less packaged, processed foods...by watching less tv....by trusting our own inner selves.... In time, we come across information that resonates some cord of truth and we let go of yet another artificial habit that we have been sold.


We begin to question. We begin to say no. We meet others who share similar ideas. We find our voices and in time we change the world.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Medicalized Birth

Just when you think that things may begin taking a turn for the better you come across something that sharply reminds you that we're not quite there yet....It is essential that we women begin to unravel ourselves from our oblivion! it is this alone that motivates me to finish my book. Below is my response to an article in our local newspaper just last week...although it's more like an advertisment rather than an article.

The recent article More Young Women Opting to Schedule C-Section Births by Hilary Waldman was disappointing in its lightness in addressing one of the most serious crimes happening in our country today. There are many rackets here in America but the one I find most repulsive is “Medicalized Birth”. In at time when 1 out of 3 women are having cesareans in this country, we need reporters who are questioning them, not condoning them. Something is wrong with this picture. Hillary, along with her comrades such as Doctor Girard, are irresponsibly condoning the consumer driven ways we live in the US in the realm of birth.

Yet this “my needs first” mentality has hidden costs that go beyond paper money. In April of 2008 , a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documented that the
US infant mortality rate is now worse than 28 other countries. The study, “Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States,” found that at least 28 other countries now have lower death rates for infants in the first year of life.

Where are the facts in Hilary’s article?

As pregnancy–related deaths increase in our country so does the c-section rate, up 40 percent since 1996. Almost eighty-two percent of women whose first delivery is a c-section have subsequent cesareans. Readers are being mislead by the information in this article to believe that a cesarean surgery is not only convenient, but safe. In October, a woman at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston died during a cesarean. “Valerie Scythes, 35, and Melissa Farah, 28, were friends who taught at the same grade school in Avon, N.J., and died two weeks apart last spring (2007) after delivering their firstborns, both healthy girls, via planned c-sections at Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, N.J. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Farah's death certificate said she died of "shock due to bleeding and anemia."

C-sections are not safe as implied! One in 2,500 women are at risk compared to the more than the one in 10,000 risks for vaginal birth. According to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 36 women per 100,000 die while undergoing a caesarean compared to 9.2 deaths per 100,000 for a vaginal delivery. The risks from having a cesarean include infections, hemorrhage, transfusion, injury to other organs, anesthesia complications, psychological complications, and a maternal mortality two to four times greater than that for a vaginal birth. In addition, premature birth rates are being linked to cesareans which ultimately cause an array of health conditions for the baby as well as increase their risk for death in the first month. And what about the emotional impact of a non-vaginal birth on the baby later on in life?
Vaginal births massage the babies as the move through the birth canal gently preparing them for their entrance in the world. How does a baby being yanked from its mothers womb by a stranger respond to the world around them? Could there perhaps be a connection between the extreme levels of fear and hatred we Americans perpetuate on others around the world and the hardened and disconnected ways we are bringing new life into the world? We do not yet know the impacts of our behaviors, not much different than the now looming realities of global warming that we have conveniently chosen to dismiss in years past.

What about the costs?
In a time when our economy is failing and insurance companies are struggling to survive, how can we afford such a “luxury”? In May 1997 Hilary actually reported that “a c-section cost $12,600 at Danbury. The same labor ending in vaginal delivery costs only $7,000. And that does not account for the physical and emotional toll of major surgery” . Today, vaginal births are still about half the cost of a c-section totaling billions of dollars which in turn burdens health care cost for everyone. Women who plan c-sections are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized again in the first month after birth than the women who had a vaginal delivery. In addition, the average initial hospital cost of a planned c-section for a first-time mother was 76% higher than that for a planned vaginal birth. (
Rita Rubin, USA TODAY, Answers prove elusive as C-section rate rises, Jan 08.)

All for the sake of convenience?

In a time when our world is facing more challenges than ever before, it is essential that we take a serious look at how we are living our lives – including the realm of birth. The era of convenience must come to an end. No longer can we justify excessive waste of resources, extreme scientific experiments and harm to both people and planet. Not only do we need to be birthing “green” for the health of our babies, but for the future health of their planet as well.


On a personal note Hilary, how is it possible for someone so detached from the process of living like yourself be a Health Reporter for such a notable publication? Doesn’t health signify freedom from disease without dependence on “medicalized” models? The slant in all of your articles somehow puts modern medicine on a pedestal while providing mis-information in a time when studies show that more holistic treatments are not only safer and more economical, but more effective. Why are you choosing to be a mouthpiece for unnecessary procedures and surgeries? Perhaps you are more interested in merely reporting trends than truth. Who’s paying you to say such nonsense? And I am curious Hilary, how many children do you have?

Imani, mother of 6 (4 of which were born at home naturally without any interventions and whose body does not appear to be “ravaged by multiple deliveries”) and owner of The Green Vibration’s Alchemy Café & Eco-Boutique and founder of The Growing Green Co-op in Hartford.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hope?

It's been awhile....sigh. So much has happened in the weeks since I have written - the election, the financial crisis (which, like many other small biz owners, we're feeling at our cafe), an unexpected trip, some other unfortunate events, and some computer challenges....ah, such is life. So much happens in one day, much less weeks. It is a process of constantly finding and redefining my existence.

I am uncovering truth as I diligently write the pages of my book. It's as if I am living the book as I write it. In doing so, I am beginning to look more objectively at this illusion we call life and what it is we are creating together collectively. I grasp the seriousness of it on one hand, yet the ridiculous nature of it on the other. I am present, yet detached.

Even with such a historic moment in this Presidential Election, I felt a sense of distant objectivity. When faced with the possibility of someone like McCain even being considered as a leader of our country I vascillated between intense feelings of denial and depression. Will Obama really take the reins of the rights of humanity when this world needs it most or will he pass the potential on to the future like so many past hopefuls have?

Thankfully, the outcome of the election was a sign that we are still, as Americans, willing to shape a future based on the ideas that founded our country - but we still have a long way to go. I long for a time where a two-party system does not exist - where we can vote for who we want to vote for, not vote from a place of prevention. I wish Obama luck in one of the most difficult challenges ahead. His solicitation to Amercians for our priorities is a great place to start - so here's mine.

Dear President-elect Obama:

Congratulations on your election win!

There are many things that I would ask you to consider, but if I had to just pick one I would say this: Grow an organic garden on the White House Lawn (and all of the other suggestions outlined in Michael Pollan's NY Times "Letter to the President Elect") and please do not support a future for our children of genetically modified and cloned foods! If we can give back our food supply to our children we may have a chance to grow a better world for them! If we can educate them about the ways of the farm, both urban and suburban alike, we will transform the next century of life on this planet and perhaps be the determining factor in our own extinction. As the First Family- you have tremendous power to influence the minds of Americans - lead the way through your children. Show Americans a way to live that returns us to diets of whole, organic foods - not chemically-laden, packaged-processed, GM and non-food items. Feed your children only organic and boycott fast food. Role-model what is possible. What a powerful image it would be to have our President, with his sleeves rolled up weeding with children by his side, in the White House garden. Share that wisdom so we can give all the children in America a good start against the reality of obesity, diabetes, cancer and other food related diseases. In addressing this simple issue of food, we simultaneously begin to address all of the other issues that plague our country pertaining to the changing climate, consumerism and our relations with other countries. By getting back to basics we can begin to remember who we are and where we came from so we can better determine where it is we are going.
In Gratitude,
Imani

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Experience the Holidays (green style)!


Part of the process of "going green" is a re-inventing of ourselves, or life as we have known it. What a better time to do this with our children than the holidays? It is the perfect opportunity to provide them with a new perspective by creating opportunities for them to experience special occasions.

By experience I mean really tasting, smelling and feeling the sensations of the season! Awaken our kids senses not by feeding them a processed, pre-made pumpkin pie but having them pick the local pumpkins that they then in turn bake into a pie themselves! Even more amazing is the fact that they won't even remember how the pie tasted but rather the details of baking the pie. Memories that last a lifetime.

Quality family time - when we take the time to make lasting memories with our children - is what imprints upon their fresh minds. It's not about what we buy them but rather the magic of how we made something sacred out of nothing. That's impressive!

We can take it a step further! As moms we can reclaim the consumer driven holiday rituals of today! We can begin to take them back by choosing to buy only fair-trade, organic candies or treats. We can recycle costumes for Halloween or make our own (check out http://www.greenhalloween.com/ for some great simple ideas to introduce to your kids this year an their newly released self published book Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions written by Green Halloween founder, Corey Colwell-Lipson and her mom, Lynn Colwell)! We can show our children how to give rather than to take.

Be a leader in your own community by hosting a earth-friendly celebration this year for friends & family - whether it is a Green Halloween, Winter Solstice, Holiday Clothes Swap or Green Gift Marketplace! 'Tis the season and 'tis a reason!

Upcoming Community Celebrations at The Growing Green Co-op in Hartford, CT! Holiday Clothes Swap! Saturday, November 1st 7-9pm

I AM DREAMING OF A GREEN CHRISTMAS!Prepare to bring your warm winter gently loved garments to the November Swap: COATS, SWEATERS, BLANKETS, BOOTS & even things that could be considered as a gift for someone else. We will have sewing machines available for those inspired to create new items led by the Goddesses of Yarn. Bring a friend, your imagination & your holiday spirit! Questions or even special requests? Email the Gift Goddess, Dawn at blessedoya@yahoo.com or 206.2471 REDUCE * RECYCLE * REUSE



The Growing Green Co-op will host its first annual GREEN HALLOWEEN at its new space in Hartford (for kids all ages) $5 per child Friday, October 31st, 7pm - midnight (for older kids) A safe, fun, and healthy option for those families seeking more eco-friendly rituals! Wear your own hand-made or recycled costume! Carve your own local pumpkin, bob for apples from Eagle Valley Farms, play old-fashioned games, meet new friends and re-discover you imagination!



Sustainable Shopping in Style at The Growing Green Co-op's Annual Green Gift Marketplace Friday, Dec 5th, 6-10pm The Green Gift Marketplace featuring local, hand-made, recycled, organic and creative gifts for everyone on your list! Meet "green" business members of The Growing Green Co-op and transform your shopping mall trends of the past to new found environmentally conscious treasures at our community marketplace. Order your organic Christmas Tree in advance for pick-up on this special evening or select one on site.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fast Food Poison

Somehow my latest email address has been given to some list and my mailbox is filled with all kinds of junk mail about getting slim, changing careers, house foreclosure, buying prescription drugs and coupons to all the “convenient” mainstream places that sell the drugs and foods we have become addicted to. This reflection of modern America oozes dis-ease. I cringe knowing that the reason these emails are being sent out is because the majority of Americans respond to them.

artwork courtesy of David Deeshttp://www.deesillustration.com/

Now I am not one to ascribe to or prescribe any particular diet, however, I do know that we are what we eat and we are consuming with all parts of our being. Our minds are infiltrated with marketing schemes and mind-altering chemicals. What seeps into our brains and what we put into our mouths is impacting every aspect of our lives.

Last Friday we showed the movie Eating (www.RAVEdiet.com) in our co-op and it laid out some staggering facts. It paralleled the change in the American diet from a plant based diet to a meat eating diet a mere one hundred years ago to the increased heart disease and cancer rates we have today that were practically non-existent in those days (except the wealthy elite). It exposed the political connections with what we have been taught to be the food pyramid with the companies that are benefiting from such schemes – such as the subsidies that the meat and dairy industries receive to get us to eat these kinds of food (without them steak would cost $90 lb.)!

Here in Hartford where our organic café & co-op are located, we face one of the highest poverty rates as well as high incidence of diabetes, obesity and asthma, particularly in children. It is disturbing that “today, when we produce more food than ever before, more than one in ten people on the Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet that are overweight.” (taken from Stuffed & Starved – a great new read by Raj Patel).

For the first time since we have owned our café, I have encountered a refreshing interest in healthier eating habits from folks within our own neighborhood. A few weeks ago, at various intervals during a twenty-four hour period, three different women came into our café looking for live food! The exciting thing for me was that they all had a basic understanding of what is going on with our food system and were seeking ways to affect change.

They were all concerned about their own health and those around them- especially the children. They all realized that there has been a break down in our production of wholesome, nutritious foods and they are understanding the depths of suffering from the cheap, chemically laden, gmo foods that have flooded our marketplace. The hard core facts from “Super Size Me” and Fast Food Nation are trickling down into the overall consciousness. It is the time to demand change.

We also facilitated several field trips through our Summer Activism Program. We took twenty local urban kids on a field trip to the trash museum and an organic farm to pick blueberries. I was overjoyed watching the kids chomp on celery sticks, red peppers and carrot sticks that were passed around the bus. They were delighted to pick blueberries right off the bush. And although we met some of the kids on the day of the trip for the first time - not one complained about the all organic lunch that was free of excessive packaging and plastic wrap.

On another trip to the Smart Living Center and CT Audubon Center the kids lined up for pieces of fresh sliced watermelon. I gracefully removed two juice boxes that were being handed out by our hosts without objections and kindly informed them that part of our program was to eat only organic as a way of promoting a smaller carbon footprint. Overall, it proved for me what I believe to be true – that kids will naturally gravitate to what is good for them.

Last month a group of 25 high school students came in to experience an organic lunch and a brief talk. I spoke to them about the marketing tactics targeting specifically at them and the power they have to demand different products by making different choices. They were clearly impacted by the information and were anxious to learn more. Many asked how to get involved with our upcoming Green Teen Activism & Open Mikes.

One student, after despairing over the fact that he has eaten Captain Crunch for breakfast his whole life, asked what to do? They asked what I eat for breakfast and upon hearing it was a green juice consisting of sprouts, celery and cucumber they actually wanted to try it! That’s impressive. It indicates, again, that Americans (our youth) do want choices. We just need to remember that it is up to us to CHOOSE.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Spiritual Sustainability

Spiritual Sustainability=Sustenance for the Soul. What drives us to do what we do? Many of us moms out here "greening" the world have taken it on with a vengeance. The passion that has been ignited goes beyond the typical every day list of goals to a deeper, more meaningful sense of purpose.

For those of us non-religious folks it seems quite spiritual - it's a calling from Mother Earth in her full Goddess form. In this time of unsettling uncertainty it feels essential that we hold some sense of the sacred. The difficulty is that our understanding of what is sacred has been manipulated and dismantled. Many families, like our own, do not subscribe to any particular religious dogma but feel a need to provide our children with a sense of connection to something.

For our family, Mother Earth herself serves as a symbol. She reminds us of what is really important in a time where our minds have been clouded. She brings us together in community in search of living a more sustainable, simple and balanced way. She reminds us that in Nature we find perfection.In a time when our species is lacking depth of meaning to substantiate the ways we live our lives, we turn to her for clarity.

Let us free our minds of our states of bondage and become free thinkers once again. Let us have physical spaces where we can gather with our children that are free from toxic chemicals sprayed in the common air we breathe - free from colorful packaging that entices our children's minds, from advertisments that alters our intuition. Let us take on the spirit of Scenic America (http://www.scenic.org/) - dedicated solely to preserving and enhancing the visual character of America's communities and countryside. Our children need to be able to escape the cluttered pervasive ugliness that bombards their every move.

This week our hybrid cooperative opens our community space as a temple where we can gather to share information, inspiration and ideas on how to live more sustainable lives. I say hybrid because we are a mixture of things with most of it being made up as we go along. The issue for us this week was how to convey to our members and the outside community the intention of our actual space as not only a place to gather, but more importantly a space where one can be free of the accepted marketing maddness that infiltates our minds.

It is designed to be an advertisement free zone where our kids can be kids not potential consumers. Thus, there will be no juice boxes, water bottles, pacifiers, plastic toys, video games, gmo snack foods, fast foods... (the list goes on) allowed. We're not militants but rather purists desperately seeking to (re)discover sanctity in a world gone mad.

Perhaps in such a space our children will be able to find God - in all her marvelous forms.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Floundering in Complexity

artwork courtesy of David Dees
http://www.deesillustration.com/

The past few weeks have left us in a whirlwind with unexpected and extraordinary circumstances too crazy to write about ….. nonetheless my overall conclusion has been both a deeper understanding of and appreciation for community: community when times are good and when times are bad.

We live in a time when many of us are estranged from our families of origin or don’t even know who our neighbors are. We are distracted - electronic gadgets and blue tubes have displaced real live human to human interactions. It’s no wonder that so many of us feel so disconnected, isolated and confused.

For a long time I have been immersed with ideas of community and have persistently strived to manifest sustainable ways in which to raise my children with others. I can’t say that it has been easy or with minimal effort, but I feel that the concepts that have been floating in my mind are finally starting to take hold in tangible forms.

And it is about time! Because life on our planet is most likely going to become ever more challenging and difficult. Many of us are already feeling the pressure of what is heading our way. We need to be prepared.

In doing so, we not only need to begin thinking about the future in different terms, but we also need to not get overwhelmed when doing so. We need to stay focused and simplify. Get down to basics and prioritize. If we can begin to look at things from his perspective – a proactive approach – then we will have set in motion a pattern of handling things when we need it the most.


The other part is that we need to work together. We need to get back to the basic principals of community where we have a network of people around us that we can lean on in times of need or vice versa.

Our society has purposely facilitated a world where many people today feel entirely alone and unsupported. This is not a natural way for humans to be in the world. Regaining our sense of self and connection to the earth and each other is the challenge of our times.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Uncomfortable Uncertainty

I have come to realize that my role in this lifetime is to hold the bigger vision. I am an eternal optimist and I can almost always see what is possible. I get excited by ideas and my connections with others feed the vision. Yet, there are days when I too do not feel so inspired and visionary.

In the corner of my mind, I wonder if the outcome of all of our amazing actions will amount to anything at all. I doubt our ability to impact the “super powers” who are the ones controlling our atmosphere, creating wars and supporting our false economy. Our actions or inactions are minute in comparison.

When I think of what the military is spraying in our skies, the micro-chipping of our population and the poisoning of the masses through packaged, processed foods - and the numbers of folks oblivious to it all – I get a bit depressed. Sigh.

In the bigger picture it is almost as if “climate change” is just a tactic to keep us distracted. I just wish that I lived in a time where I knew the net outcome of my efforts so I could best utilize the limited energy and resources I have. How comforting it would be to just know something for sure!

My great-grandparents lived in a time not so long ago and knew that if they planted seeds something was going to grow. In today’s quickly changing world we have no idea the result of our actions - even ten years from now. None of us really know what to expect the world to be like in the decades to come. We can only speculate about what kind of world our children will inherit and the challenges they will face. I wonder things like, will they have water to drink? Will they know how to grow their own food?
This is where the combination of strategy and organization comes in. If we create a plan and lots of us do it then of course we can create change…that’s what the tipping point is all about. But first we need to know what it is we are planning for. That is why it is essential that each of us reach out to one another. We must share what we do know to be true – even if it is in visionary form. And we must all hold each other up on the days where it all feels too big for just one person.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Perspective

It's all in the way we look at things that shapes our paths. I have been thinking a lot lately about the vision behind the co-op we are launching and the impact it will have on the surrounding community. I am also envisioning the kinds of people that will be drawn to the project and what will motivate them to get involved.

There will be obvious benefits from being either a consumer member or business member of our co-op and with the existing economy many folks will be seeking to join in search of savings. But I also think we will be attracting others who are seeking a different way of life. There are those out there much like ourselves who are more willing to pay the price for organic, local foods that are more sustainable - even if it means cutting down in other areas of our lives.

The idea of growing our own local economy and building community is of utmost importance. We are buying into the vision of a different way of life and the cost may have an initial price tag attached. Nnetheless, we beleive that in the long run the benefits reaped will be ultra cost-effective and manifest a better quality of life. The choices we make today will pave the way for future generations to follow.

Those of us who have been paying for organic food all along already have a more realistic price of the true cost of food. For others, the increasing food costs predicted over the course of 2008 and coupled with fuel costs might come as a shock to the budget.

Being that our family spends probably over 50% of our annual budget on food (including supplements, body care & home cleaning products), I have been surprised to discover how little most families actually allocate to this most essential "piece of the pie".

I was skimming a copy of a mainstream magazine that targets a more simplistic way of life and it outlined one moms monthly budget of $7,100. I was astonished to see that the amount spent on food was way less than the cable bill, pampering fees and entertainment costs. That amount excluded the outrageous cost of daycare and au paire services. The main concern for this mom was figuring out how to pay for private schools, and most likely a private school more concerned with what is being put into kids heads - not into their mouths.

I think this is a common theme for most moms today. We have settled for empty, packaged, processed food that is incapable of nourishing both body and soul. Food, the fuel that feeds both the bodies and minds of our growing children, is not valued with utmost importance. Children of today are developing substandard to the children of generations past - during a time where they need more strength than ever before to fast the challenges of the future.

The connection between health and diet is overlooked. Instead our culture connects more with the idea of over-medicating and over-consuming. The same magazine featured an ad by Target now offering color coded medications to help family members identify their personalized perscriptions. How insane is this? Yes, Target, we are a culture on drugs misled by savy marketing tactics like yours to convince the masses whose minds have been numbed that being "drugged" isn't such a bad thing! I say throw away the meds, turn off the tv and feed your children some food with real nutritional value. Now that's simplifying the budget.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Where to next?

No longer are we able to find our own way. In today’s world we rely on technology to show us what we need to know – the computer, the TV, the GPS, the ultrasound…
There are no internal cues to guide us. We have become dependent upon outside sources- dependent on technology to decipher our experiences.

It is a case of the directionless leading the directionless. And as a result, we have a big mess. Generations have become deaf to the non-verbal language of Mother Earth. Our internal compasses have been discarded. We are no longer able to interpret her subtle messages.

We have lost touch with the planet we depend upon. We are unable to recognize signs of fertile soil and toxic wastelands. We are ignorant to the heavy metals sprayed by our own government into our atmosphere that permeate our beings. We are blind to the devastation of our surrounding eco-systems.

We are stuck inside air-conditioned boxes that keep us separated from others plugged into an artificial world that feeds us more and more disillusion. We are sold goods that are deficient in nutrition and are known to be the cause of our suffering. All in the name of profit. We are their guinea pigs!

As women, we have been taught to distrust our bodies. We hand over our power to doctors who can only determine the position and size of a baby with radiation rather than the human hand. We have lost connection not only with ourselves, but to each other. We have carried that disconnection to our children. We parent from a distance and live our lives from a hands-off approach, rather than hands-on and then wonder what happened.

It is time to step outside the “safety” of our boxes and return to living our lives from places of truth. It is time to look to the skies and see what is really going on. It is time to plant our feet in the earth and say no to toxins leaching into our soils. Only when we open our minds to what is going on will we be able to affect real change in our world. We must take back our world before it completely disappears right before our very own eyes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Community

Visions of community have filled my mind since the birth of my first daughter almost fifteen years ago. The ideas encompassed much more than extended family but rather a complex system of cooperation that was based on making healthy life choices in an unhealthy world.

Over the years I shared my dreams with many others seeking similar ideals. I have held tight to what others told me was impossible. Many have come and gone and even some have returned years later to see aspects of the dream unfolding. Today, on this beautiful full moon, I am beginning to sense the depths of much hard work as the dream comes full circle.

We are in the last stage of our renovations for the community space of The Growing Green Co-op that will open this July. The space will serve as a distribution point for sustainable products and services throughout Connecticut in a city that desperately needs to be revitalized. The community center will house our earth based programs for kids including our six week youth activist camp, a healing space and workshop space where we will show films, offer how-to classes, host community events and our year round farmers market.

We have reached the tipping point. When government and the economic marketplace fail to provide quality goods and services to the public, people have historically cooperated to provide for themselves and their families. Co-ops form in response to local needs. The Growing Green Co-op is a consumer driven co-op that has evolved out of a desire for availability of high quality, local, sustainable products as well as the desire to support local, sustainable businesses through our Green Business Referral Network.

We are a vibrant community of extraordinary like-minded folk who are determined to grow our local economy- including the development of our own "CT Currency" while walking more lightly on the earth. Around me I have my immediate community that includes my Beloved and all of our children, "green" business leaders joining with us who are also striving to lead the way towards sustainable living & community members that have such diverse interests and talents who are looking to share with others. We are growing by leaps and bounds.

Persistence does pay off, but for me, it is just proof that when we follow our truth then we are led to places of wholeness. The community I desired to raise my children in has manifested around me. We live in a most magical world.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Busy & Balanced


Many of us are beginning to feel the mounting craziness, if not in our own lives then in those around us. This presents an interesting predicament...how to be balanced in an unbalanced world. Here we all are - striving for balance in an attempt to make ourselves less crazy - yet living in a world that is getting crazier. This is the real test.


Finding our balance comes when we are strongly rooted - to our core, to the earth, to our visions. It requires daily practice. We learn from the insanity of our lives and our repeated attempts to stay sane. There is such a fine line.


I am bombarded daily with distractions of everyone around me. My children help me develop my meditation practice because they constantly pull me off my center. As a result, I have become diligent and well practiced at getting back on track repeatedly throughout the day.


It is most important at this time to remember what is important - to let our values guide our lives. We need focus, clarity of our intentions and direction. We need to strategize, organize, mobilize. This world is going to get a bit crazy and we need to be prepared - to put our multi-tasking talents to the test.


Most importantly, we must not get distracted. Our hearts will guide us to what is real and from there we can respond pro-active, positive manners. We must tap into our internal strength and begin to plan.


"I want to plan my future and realize that this is futile in the way I had once thought about that. Instead I am spending an enormous time weaving, circling, meeting, networking, bonding, collaborating, visioning and anchoring my roots to all the strength I was born with. " from ALisa Stakweather, posted on THE MAMALUTION network (http://www.alisastarkweather.com/).


Let us join hands, hearts and wisdom and grow this grassroots web of women who are (de)revolutionizing the planet.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Being a BUSY Mom

Some weeks are more busy than others. Sometimes unpredicatable things come up that need to be handled along with everything else that needs to be done or there are several major deadlines all culminating at once. It's been one of those weeks for me!

It is times like these when I have to step back and reflect on what I am doing to make sure that I am staying true to my path. Sometimes the panic, frustration, anxiety and stress can take over and cause turmoil. During these moments I may make a compromise - like skipping my morning yoga session for writing that has to get done...sometimes those deals extend for weeks. I may choose a massage or acupuncture over my yoga routine.




The trick is knowing when I get off center and pulling myself back. It is about being able to be in the moment even when we are not doing our most desired thing. It's knowing the rhythm of our own flow so that we don't do too much or do too little. It's about taking the moments to nurse our children, sit in a yoga pose without multi-tasking or be silent and just connect with our breath. It is about appreciating Mother Nature.

With practice, we naturally begin to gravitate towards this middle point. We begin minimizing the distractions in our lives so that we maximize our potential and not waste an ounce of energy. No more energy draining relationships, pointless conversations or visions that go nowhere. We begin to prioritize our lives, set boundaries and live our dreams - right here, right now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Women in Agriculture Network

I had the great fortune to attend a local event that featured the founder of WAgN, Denise O’Brien, as the keynote speaker the other evening. I have to say I was inspired to find so much hope and activism right here within my own community. The genuine humanness displayed between this particular group of women, in a time when so much is being lost, was touching.

Not only did it affirm my belief that women have an intuitive, instinctual drive to sustain our species, but it confirmed that there are women out there doing something about it! As one women trying to get lots of ideas out into the world, it was refreshing to be in the company of other passionate women. It is comforting to know that there are many women holding the vision for a different kind of world.

There was a thoughtfulness that went into planning the entire evening - from the beautiful bouquets of flowers that adorned the tables, reusable plates and various antique tablecloths, to the awards recognizing women within the agricultural community. The genuine nurturing of the essence of the feminine was endearing.

It was also reassuring to know that there are other women out there who are just as concerned about our food supply and the infiltration of GM crops into our food supply. From college graduates to grandmothers, there was an internal knowledge about what is really going on in our world, displayed by the statements of concern.

More than any other time in history, women have the power to shift our world. The fact that for the first time in the United States women own a greater percentage of farmland than ever before is astounding. A survey conducted by the Women, Food and Agriculture Network , the two things women who own farmland want is: more families living on the land and the conservation of resources. Women inherently know what is true.

The words spoken at this event echoed my desperate attempts to convey my thoughts in the book I am writing. It convinced me even more that a need exists and that it is intended to serve as vehicle to convey the insight of women everywhere through their stories. If you feel compelled to share your story but are not comfortable writing it down and would prefer to talk with me in person, let me know.

Slowly, women are finding their voices and speaking up. In doing so there will be resistance to what we have to say and effort to keep us quiet. But the doors are opening and the scale is tipping in our favor. We outnumber the ones who are leading this world in the wrong direction. If we mobilize and support one another we can create the change that is essential for our survival. We can affect change that will be seen in our own lifetimes if we act quickly. A great potential for positive change exists right now at this exact moment in time. Let’s join together.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Mamalution Network

Sorting through the stories that are flooding in and have decided to create an online social network that will connect us all! I just officially launched the Mamalution Network today and have sent invites out to as many of you as I could possibly pull together from all my various lists (from reponses, posts and my personal lists) but I know I have missed some of you!


Please email me at Imani@thegreenvibration.com for an invite or try linking to http://busymomsgogreen.ning.com/ to see if you can get on.

Create your own personal profile so we can get to know each other a little better, invite your friends & find out what other women are doing with their families - each of us in our own little corner of the world. Share green tips, accomplishments, frustrations, recipes, ideas, photos...create your own groups and connect with other women as passionate as you are about making some positive change in this world!
Laugh. Cry. Share your wisdom. Learn something new. In this way we will transform, grow strong, heal, become wiser & collaborate- together in the community of women.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thank You!

A heartfelt thanks to all the "green"moms who have responded to my call for stories in just the first week. I am thrilled that there are so many of us out there and would like to share just a couple of the responses I have received so far in the upcoming weeks. Have a story? Send it my way! Here are two great moms and a grandmom sharing some wisdom and inspiration:

Basically the thing that I am feeling lately is this rising feeling of panic and fear for the generation of babies and young children that are here right now. they are so sick! I feel like its not about the future-its about right now-we are killing these little guys. This is the first generation that will have a shorter lifespan then their parents- and everyday I am seeing why. They have 300 times more asthma, and are more likely to die from it than ever before, they are amidst an autism epidemic that we are only just beginning to understand the full impact of, they are medicated for depression, OCD, ADHD, ODD, they are allergic, covered with eczema, obese, have heart disease and diabetes (the former disease of middle age are now common for even preteens). and we are getting to a point where this is just thought of as "normal". Much like we accepted older people having a laundry list of pills everday in former generations-we now think that a healthy child is one that is maintained OK on daily doses of 3-7 medications. This is not health! It is sickness! Parents with children who are suffering know that. Their lives are scarey, frustrating and exhausting, everyday. But do they know that most of their kid's friends are sick too? I am worried that the environmental movement often speaks in terms of "the Earth we will leave our children"... and so forth, primarily in the future tense. When all around us, the evidence is there that our children are not surviving the world they have now. Mamas- The time is RIGHT NOW to save our precious babies from lives barely lived, pain and suffering that never should have been. ~Dr. Gruber-Cooley, Forest Family Medicine, West Hartford, CT


I have 4 grown children and 9 grandbabies with 1 due in July. I was not aware of "green " when the kids were growing up except not to throw trash out the car window. If you did we stopped the car and you went back and you had to pick it up (the ultimate embarassement). Just small things. But now my children recycle (and of course I do too). What I am really proud of is my daughter who is involved in my business with her children who help cut, stack and trim as part of their home school training. It is teaching them to sew and training them in business, but more importantantly they are involved in helping to save the planet from plastic and paper bags. Every day they recycle cans and bottles from our trash and on Saturdays we go to the recycle center and they take the loads to each bin. All three help with our organic garden and go around singing a cute little ditty "Recycle Recycle what you gonna do with all that trash?" ~ Cordie, owner of
www.buymygreenbag.com

Dear Imani,

I love, love, love what you wrote here! It all resonates with me!! Last year, in February, I said the most sincere prayer of mylife: “God, if I am doing what I am meant to do (raising small children, freelanceediting), thank you. I am very grateful for all the blessings in my life. However, if there is more for me, and there is something else that you want me to do, I am open to it and I am listening.”

Since then, I have listened, gone with the flow which has lead me to:Starting a business www.zolagoods.com which empowers women by educating them about the changes they can make to help the environment and also gives them the opportunity to spread the message. This is a new business model that values community, & transparency, rather than hierarchies cloaked in mystery and solely driven by profit. Being part of three spiritual communities which have been very fulfilling - one is Unity (very similar teachings to Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth) and the CUUPS at the Unitarian Church which is an Earth centered practice with a very trusting close circle of people who honor the earth/divine femine, etc..

I have also gotten back into yoga and am doing mediation. All of these things help to balance, center and ground me as I follow my higher purpose, which I believe is to help heal our planet. I am also available and present for my two small children and husband and I know that when they get older they will be proud that I tried to do something to help people learn to be better stewards of the earth. Good luck! It sounds like a fascinating book! Thank you! Beth, visionary behind
www.zolagoods.com (GREAT site!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Share your stories

The Mamalution is a movement of mothers who are passionate, dedicated and on high alert. We are mothers who are tapping into our instinctual wisdom to lead us in the right direction. We are mothers who have answers and who are seeking answers.

We are mothers who care about our environment and the world that is going to be left to our children and their children. We are mothers that know that there are ways to be in the world that are more sustainable and more fair.

We are mothers who have faced insurmountable obstacles and who have learned things the hard way. We are mothers moving through fear to the other side. We are busy, overworked, overextended and exhausted. We are fiercely determined and short on time.

Some of us are stay at home moms while others work in Corporate America to pay the bills. All of us live lives dictated by money. Some of us are dependent on the men in our lives to take care of us while others are the family breadwinner. All of us sacrifice.

Some of us are still in circumstances that are painful, challenging and overwhelming. Many of us struggle to get through each day. Some of us are in relationships that are not supportive of our feminine essence while others of us may not be in relationship at all.

Some of us have yet to unleash the fullness of ourselves. Our voices have been silenced. Others of us are lacking the confidence or support of sisterhood to speak out. Some if us may have just begun on the path of “green” while others may have been screaming the same message for decades.

Many of us may have gone astray but have found our way back on track. We have overcome challenges in more than one arena. We have learned lessons the hard way. We have lost loved ones, moved, saw places we loved be destroyed and have lost battles. Yet we cling to our visions and keep going on.

We are light greens, dark greens and everything in between. We are mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters. We are doing things differently. We are inventing a new world order that serves as a model for the rising feminine rather than the privileged elite. We envision a world of many cooperative sustainable communities living in harmony side by side – not a world defined by borders armed with the threat of nuclear weapons.

The time for action is now. Whatever your circumstances, know that you are powerful. You can make a difference just in the ways you choose to live your life. You are not alone. There are others out sharing your journey. There is a thread that connects us all. There is a tapestry to be woven.

We have stories to share and wisdom to offer. If you are a woman that identifies with any aspect of this call to action, please consider sharing with me your personal story to be considered for the book I am completing entitled The Absence of Soil. Some concepts that will be included in the book are addressed in my blog
http://www.busymomsgogreen.blogspot.com/ and I am available to answer inquiries via email at Imani@thegreenvibration.com. Please feel free to share this with other women that may be interested in this project.

In the spirit of midwifery and the birthing of our new world, I would be honored to have you share your stories with me – wherever you are on the path.
What do you feel in your bones? What is really important? What are the barriers that get in the way? What is your motivation? Have you challenged the system? Where do we go from here?

I am seeking stories of success and stories of failure that depict the realities of our experiences as mothers and the specific obstacles we face. My book is intended to be direct with hard hitting facts about the seriousness of the issue at hand but without judgment. My hope is to soften the message with our stories and inspire and encourage mothers everywhere to follow their instinctual selves.

Many Blessings

Imani

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Mamalution

As women, we are instinctual healers guided by our intuition. This is our power. This is our birthright. Since the beginning of civilization, we have gathered together in honor of this gift in red tents, in moon lodges and in temples. We have foreseen the future. We have witnessed the destruction. We have been the target of attack.

Nonetheless, we are the force that has enabled our species to thrive. We give birth to new life, nurse them during illness, watch over them in their youth and advise them through the years. We use herbs, find comfort and support in our circle of female friends, practice common sense and soothe injuries with our love. It is our web of wisdom that is weaving a new tapestry – a new way of life. It is an exciting time to be alive. We are the generation of women that will forever change our world.
We can use the advances made by women of the past combined with the technology of the future to further our cause. We will infiltrate every realm of society, as we tap into our abilities as healers and identify others among us. We are teachers, we are business leaders, we are medical doctors, we are social workers, we are soldiers, we are laborers, we are para-professionals, we are lovers and we are mothers. Many of us are more than one. Our multi-dimensional aspects work to our benefit. The tools and skills we have used to survive thus far is to our advantage.

We are all colors, all religions and all cultures. We live in every corner of the earth. We have permeated every arena of the world. We are all within reach. We are breaking past the divisions and disconnections of the past and joining forces during the time when our presence will be most felt. We are a united front of women who are healing the earth.

We are building our networks, gathering our resources and aligning our intentions. Together, we are taking back our bodies, our minds, our children and our world. This is the MAMALUTION.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blossoming Values

I have spent the week immersed in writing the book I am working on and so my mind is swirling with thoughts that I am anxious to make sense of in a way that others can understand. One of the concepts I am unraveling has to do with the ways we instill values in our children when they are surrounded by a society that is devoid of them.

How do we teach children what’s important - the real meaning of value? In our current society, value is associated with the dollar store. Value means getting a good deal by ripping someone else off in another country. In essence, there is no “value” in value at all. It’s just another of one of the many things we have paradoxically devalued. It is the way in which we take things that are precious, like the earth herself, and destroy it. We see a beautiful beach and we envision building condos on it so we have access to the beauty whenever we want. We do this with things, destinations, cultures of people, all for the sake of convenience.

Looking back, one of the things I was able to successfully do with my children is provide them with a sense of values. I realized the other day as I watched my youngest child race across our yard to get a closer look at the blossoming of her magnolia tree (each of my children has a tree planted in their honor from birth). She has been anxiously awaiting the green buds on her tree to pop open. Finally, this week they did and she was squealing with excitement.

As mothers, we can teach our children to be thrilled by the simple pleasures in life. It important that we infuse an appreciation for the food we are fortunate to eat, for handmade gifts, the rediscovery of a special game or outfit that was put away for a season, unforgettable moments during a private performance and the endless series of variations displayed by Mother Nature.

I, myself, have piles of pictures, presents made out of recycled objects, special stones, shells, tree limbs, flowers, handmade cards, personalized love letters – little treasures that remind me that I have instilled some sense of meaning into their lives. I love that my nine year old did not think twice to gather some “recycled” items from her room to gift another little girl from dance for her birthday.

Spring is the time when the world is in bloom. It holds the potential for new beginnings. It is time to re-establish the ways we want to live in the world and do it by starting first with our own families. Join mothers across the nation in a revolution. A revolution of mothers initiating the de-evolution of our species. The MAMALUTION is born.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sacred Relationship


Being a “Busy Green Mom” can take a toll on ones relationship with their Beloved. It is essential that we maintain the balance between trying to save the world and preserving the grounding force which makes manifesting our visions possible. For me, my husband is the one who helps to ground me and make my dreams come true.

He’s the one who bears the burden of turning our ideas into reality. On most days he starts off enthusiastic and willing to show up. On grumpy days, “our” ideas become mine alone and he wants nothing to do with the “vision”. It’s these days that I make sure I am extra appreciative and remind him how much I adore him.

I know I am blessed to have found my perfect mate – someone strong enough to hold the big vision while willing to make some sacrifices along the way. I try to My husband in no way is wishy washy, yet he is comfortable enough with his masculine self to allow me to express my full feminine self.

Once in awhile our egos get in the way, but for the most part we are both committed to each other, our family, our community and the big picture. Together we continue to redefine and reshape our ideas and how we want to live in the world.

We find success when we keep the lines of communication open and ensure any time alone that we cane get. This itself can be a it challenging raising a blended family of six activist children and running our businesses with a team of staff. We work every day, including weekends and homeschooling our kids is a full time job. They are with us almost ALL the time, leaving my husband and I very little one on one time.

Strategies must be developed to ensure private, uninterrupted moments. A lot of effort is needed to coordinate any amount of alone time. We treasure the minutes we have to synchronize our thoughts and review our schedules and try to remember to say “I love you”.

Having half of the six on particular days can evoke a sense of spaciousness. Weekends alone with Cordie, our only child together, is like a breath of fresh air. Yet, on rare occasions it can be more challenging as she emotionally whines for her sisters to come home.

Recently we have added to our dilemma the adoption of two new puppies. So the rare moments that all the kids are away we now have puppies to watch over! Not sure what I was thinking on that one (that’s another story).

Some days I have to remind myself that I am talking to another adult rather than my children (or puppies). I have become accustomed to constantly repeating things three or four times to each of the children and find myself unconsciously doing the same with him.

The effect of repetition is relevant in the case of developing, distracted young minds but not so effective with my other half. He constantly reminds me that he actually hears what I say and gets annoyed that I talk to him like one of the kids.

His other complaint is that many evenings he feels he is competing with the computer, or the “blue screen” as he calls it. This he mutters while drifting off to sleep as he clings to the edge of the bed as our youngest lies between us with arms and legs spread. On occasion, after drifting off to sleep, he is abruptly jabbed in the ribs with a little foot. More muttering, Ah, the joys of family life.

Probably the most upsetting thing for my husband is the pace at which we live our lives and the multiplicity of multi-tasking that I take on. For me, it is a challenge to see how much I can actually accomplish at one time. It is as if another aspect of me takes over – I call this my take charge mode – and I become determined to get things done.

For me husband, my take charge mode is his worst nightmare. He resists the schedules, panics with deadlines and resents the fact that we can’t go anywhere or do anything without a cause attached. These are the moments when he will complain about being a chauffeur or babysitter, tell me how much work he has to do or how much more important his work is or literally just reaches a standstill in his ability to give or do anything else for the cause.

Luckily these times are not that frequent and if I plan well enough can be prevented. Success lies in the planning! If we develop a strategy based on our values (i.e. loving relationship, saving the world, raising children on organic food …) then we can move on to the next step: developing plans of action.

This is where the fun begins and where we as moms can begin to share our wisdom and experiences with one another on how to more efficiently and effectively live the green dream in ways that incorporate our families, including our husbands!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Simple Celebrations

My second oldest daughter, Malaika, turns twelve today. It’s amazing how our kids represent so many aspects of our selves. They serve as mirrors to the inside of our souls challenging us to step up and better ourselves and the world. They inspire, motivate and teach us how to live lives of integrity.

Children are born with instinct intact, yet from the moment of birth these precious beings are set up to stray away from that truth. How do we keep alive the spirit and natural intuition of our children? How do we keep sacred the intrinsic beauty of each child with their own distinct personalities?


How do we protect both their fragile and fierce natures – setting boundaries while encouraging them to fly? How do we maintain an open honest connection with our children as they grow older and try to find their way in the world?

Take the impact consumerism has on our children for example. The result of a century of manipulative marketing tactics has influenced every aspect of our lives from the way we give birth, to the food we eat, our health care system and the education of our children.

Big Business funds our schools in order to influence the minds of our children at younger and younger ages. Latest marketing schemes target younger audiences in order to secure consumers for life. Tween markets have been strategically designed to target the largest growing consumer niche – kids....a tactic intended to alienate parents from their children.

Corporate America has infiltrated and controls the very government agencies that have been formed to protect us to ensure their success. The FDA, EPA, CIA, IRS and FAA no longer serve to protect the people, rather they are used as a tool to advance their continued quarterly profits. As consumers we must realize that our dollars speak and use our vote wisely every time we buy something.

The only way to bring Corporate America to a halt is by changing the rate at which we consume. Americans make up about 4% of the world’s population yet produce 25% of the world’s carbon emissions, 6 times the global average. Our emissions come not only from the vehicles we drive but also indirect emissions from the products we buy. Virtually everything we consume impacts our climate.

It is time to begin thinking about the impact all of the stuff we consume has on the planet. We can begin making significant changes by buying local, supporting farmers markets, buying whole foods, bulk foods, organic non-gmo foods. We can prepare our own foods and eat dinner with our families at home. We can stop using plastic water bottles and plastic bags and use reusable ones instead. We can stop spraying pesticides on our lawns.

We can take back the rituals of humanity by having our babies at home and allowing our loved ones to die at home. We can buy clean renewable energy and buy appliances that are energy efficient. We can buy toxic-free cleaners or better yet make our own. We can buy organic sweat shop free clothing and recycled paper products.


We can find ways to be with our children that don't require that we buy something. We can bring a sense of balance back into our family by reclaiming the pieces that have been taken away by consumerism.


I spent the day with my daughter in our cafe kitchen; I making raw food and she baking the vegan cupcakes that we sell. She has positioned herself as an integral part of our operations in her drive to perfect baking and would have no one other than herself make her own birthday cake!

Happy Birth Day Malaika. May you always let your heart continue to lead your way in your quest for truth and justice. May you grow stronger and wiser as you blaze paths with your fiery spirit for others to follow. I love you with all my heart.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Raising Opinionated Kids

The kids and I were at a recent hearing on the banning of plastic bags in our state a few weeks ago and a fellow student activist was asked whether she thought the possible ban would really make a difference in light of all the things going on in our world. Her response was brilliant. She said simply “ a first step is a good step.”

As our children grow into young adults they are moved to sound their voices in the world. If we expose our children to the truth in our raising of them, then they know it to be true. They become fearless when given the opportunity to speak.

We show them what it means to be honest in the way we live our lives. They become empowered from the practice of making choices based on integrity. The learn responsibility by being accountable for their actions.

I have found this to be true with my step daughter, Cassie, who is now sixteen. The experience of blending our families these past six years has provided her a foundation that has given her confidence and allowed her to live passionately in the world. The adults around her are learning as much from her and she is from them.

Raising opinionated children can be exhausting at times. They know they are smart and sometimes can be a bit challenging. They know their opinions will be listened to and respected for the most part so they feel free to give them, and frequently.

Some days I dream of silence where I can hear my own thoughts without constant interjections and interruptions. At random moments I declare mandatory meditation where all incessant chatter must stop. Ah, peace and quiet for a few minutes anyway. Enough for me to gather my thoughts and regain my focus.

Growing kids need opportunities to speak and be heard. I have to remind myself that they are merely working out their ideas, building their vocabulary and weaving the concepts introduced to them in ways that make sense to them.

My two oldest, who at times seem disinterested in our activist efforts, have come up with ways to integrate our defined family values into things that are meaningful to them. Both have decided these past few weeks that they are working on book concepts as I work on mine.

My oldest Kailah, who decided at three she wanted to be a ballerina, is working on a book: Nutrition for Young Dancers (which will outline the importance of an organic food diet and so on). The motivation came from a conversation in one of her dance classes on nutrition. Still in the early stages of research, she has already discovered that 1) there are not any real good books on the topic and 2) she knows more than most average people, including dancers. This realization alone is empowering for a young girl of fourteen.

My other daughter, Malaika, prides herself on many things – one of them being baking. She has decided to write a book too (partly due to the fact that she likes to try and out do everything that her older sister does). Her book is a Sustainable Cook Book for Kids which will highlight organic, vegan baking recipes.

In the meantime, amidst all of our day to day adventures, we are off to yet another rally. This one we are organizing ourselves as part of a Nationwide Effort: April 1st Fossil Fools Day. We are encouraging old and young alike to come speak out, sing and share at our open mike at the State Capitol (rain or shine).

In this way we will give voice for the words that so desperately need to be spoken. Let us be reminded to listen to their wisdom and above all let us, as mothers, encourage future generations that are going to demand that they be heard! Look for our photos and video to be posted soon!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Here's your chance to take action!

Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) is a national, women-centered environmental health and justice organization that works to eliminate or substantially reduce environmental toxics impacting human health and to increase women’s participation in environmental decision-making. For the month of April they are helping women across the country host Green Cleaning parties for families and friends to inform them about the toxicity of products on the market and how to replace them with non-toxic cleaners they make themselves.

Toxic chemicals invade us in every arena of our lives. There are some 85,000 chemicals in the consumer marketplace and only a fraction of them have ever been tested for their impact on human health. Many of these chemicals are now known or suspected to contribute to a long list of diseases including cancer, developmental disabilities, heart disease, infertility, and reproductive harm. Many of us use cleaners to create a clean and healthy environment. But some of the products you use may actually be harmful to your health. Certain household cleaners contain toxic chemicals linked to birth defects, fertility problems, asthma and more.
EPA research has found that the air inside the typical house contains levels of pollution 2-5 times higher than the air outside and in extreme cases can be 100 times more polluted. Nowadays the average American spends about 90% of time indoors! According to a study of human fatty tissue samples, every American man, woman and child carries at least 700 pollutants in his or her body and the average sample in breast milk produced by American women contains over 100 contaminants. Recent cord blood studies of infants at birth found over 200 different chemicals!

The use of synthetic chemicals is a big industry: a 17 billion dollar cleaning product industry and a 35 billion dollar cosmetics industry with the majority of these chemicals being unregulated and untested. Currently there are over 80,000 chemical compounds in existence and less than 10% have been adequately evaluated for human or environmental safety.
In the US alone, more than 500,000 chemical products are available to consumers with more being produced each year and our government continues to overlook the severity of the issue. This is insane! Let’s use our dollars and demand products that are not damaging to us or the planet! Together, we are powerful!

Mother Earth is speaking loud and clear these days in an attempt to communicate her distress. We need to take immediate action to remedy her ailments within our own homes. Seemingly harmless everyday items such as toilet bowl cleaners, laundry detergents, shampoos, cosmetics air fresheners, antibacterial soaps as well as the prescription medicines we take - are polluting our planet as they wash down our drains.

Consider hosting your very own Green Cleaning party! Get all the details at http://www.womenandenvironment.org/greenclean/host/index_html
Their website provides everything you need to know to host a party as well as informative fact, including
WVE’s Household Hazard report. By hosting a party, you will help spread the word about an important environmental health issue.
If you are in our area (Hartford, CT) we will be hosting our own Green Clean Party on Friday, April 4th at 6pm, followed by our Free Film Series and the showing of documentary Blue Vinyl. We'd love to have you join us! If you are a mom interested in learning more about green cleaning and even how to turn it into a business where you live - let us know and we will put you on the list for one of our upcoming ventures...coming to a city near you! Wise women putting the world back in order, one household at a time!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Best Food On The Planet

Its not about where you are, but rather the course you have charted. The only rule: In order for your family to live a sustainable life – you HAVE to have a plan! This stage requires us to ANALYZE our behaviors and develop tangible strategies.

Mothers for the most part are natural planners. We make multiple decisions daily. Living a sustainable life requires a lot of planning – especially when you have large family with diverse needs! We have found that by establishing core values to live by we are able to define the parameters to work within.

For example, transitioning to eating all organic food was a deliberated process. First we had to get around our preconceived ideas about organic food – “it costs too much, it doesn’t taste as good…”. We had to determine eating all organic food as a priority. Once we unraveled our misperceptions we realized that what it would require is some adjustments to the way we were used to eating. Figuring out how to make this happen in our lives was the next step.

We also don’t shop or eat the way most American families do these days. For example, we eat very little packaged or processed foods. Sometimes we have to be creative, but in the long run ,we probably save a ton of money by eating whole foods that we cook or prepare ourselves - even with the high cost of organic produce, which is what we primarily eat.

Every once in awhile I have one of those days where I get frustrated at the lack of options available to us as an organic family. After much hard work and effort we have all reached a consensus on what we will and will not eat and we live our lives accordingly. We are all in agreement that we will only eat organic with exceptions to some locally grown foods for our own health and that of the planet. This resolution has limited us to only one place to eat out in our state that is within our budget and something we all enjoy (besides our own organic café). Going out to eat is a special treat that we savor only on special occasions.

After homeschooling six kids and preparing three meals a day, seven days a week, some nights I just want a break. Perhaps I didn’t plan our dinner options well enough in advance and would like to have something ready to go with little thought involved. Last week I had one of those nights with my oldest being picked up from dance class at 8pm. We had few interesting food options to work with. My husband and I are eating all raw living foods. Our oldest is eating vegan with no wheat; the second oldest, vegetarian, and our only boy - no dairy. This leaves only three with no specific dietary needs or requests, and one of those three being my pickiest eater. Augh! It was looking to be some kind of “special” night for sure.

Our one “special” place to eat out is a twenty minute drive one way without traffic. That’s a lot of CO2 for us because we have designed most of our activities around the central location of our home and business which are a five minute walk away from one another. It is 5:30pm and everyone is hungry. I pull myself together and devise a plan, and quick. It always seems to work out and the kids deal with it. Tonight’s best option would be a simple meal of cooked quinoa and steamed veggies. We might not have the most interesting meals every night but we do eat what we refer to in our family as “the best food on the planet”.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A look into YOUR life


We are at a critical and stirring point in our history. We know this to be true. No longer can the earth regenerate and replace resources at the rate we are consuming them. What do we do? It is time to change our ways and we are just the generation of mothers to do it!

Making the change may seem daunting or difficult at first. But as we recognize the imperative link between our behaviors and what is going on in the world, we begin to accept our role in the big picture and are motivated to shift our habits.

As mothers, there are several ways to begin implementing more sustainable practices into our homes. Let’s look at how it is possible to integrate concepts of sustainability into a typical day of an average family right here in the US...

“The wind-up alarm clock that has long been out of style but you still very much like rings, and you are up, ready to take on the day. The water in the bathroom runs cold, but quickly the solar thermal water system delivers it steaming hot as you splash it on your face. Ever since the installation of the new water filtration system the smell of chlorine and fluoride that our government adds to all municipal water is now just a memory.

In an effort to conserve water, your husband installed a low flow shower head and everyone in the family has agreed to keep their showers to five minutes. You dry your face with the towel that you had just yesterday washed with your non-toxic bio-degradable detergent – its surface still stiff from your very own solar clothesline. You save energy by line drying but switching over to renewable energy was probably the biggest sustainable accomplishment yet.

You brush your teeth with your recycled plastic toothbrush, and wonder how many yogurt containers it actually takes to make one of them. Your bathroom now showcases all non toxic body care products & cleaners these days. You committed to purchasing only environmentally friendly products after hearing a talk on the watershed issues not only facing your own town but the entire nation as well. It really sunk in knowing that everything we wash down our drains ultimately ends up contaminating our water sources and affecting all of us.

Likewise, once the realization that you were able to do your part just in the ways you shop took hold, you began to look at other ways you could have an impact through your every day purchases. Why support big corporations that are wreaking havoc in the environment when you can support the local economy by buying close to home? There is power in knowing that you can change the world simply by the way you shop!

Last year you began searching out local food sources and started shopping at farmers markets and even joined a CSA. Now, you and your family are enjoying amazing local and organic foods that do not have to be fumigated, irradiated or transported (usually before they have been allowed to ripen). Eating this way has proven to be beneficial in so many ways – from feeling good about feeding your family such high quality foods to getting to know farmers and others in the community statewide.

In doing so, you realized lots of others were thinking just like you. Farmer’s Markets are popping up all over the place. In fact, Farmer’s Markets are one of the fastest growing segments of the business economy, second only to Wal-mart. This year you and the kids are thinking about planting a garden of your own. You see visions of your kids with their hands in the dirt.



You recall last night’s late night reading on growing sprouts. Amazing that sprouts have more nutrition than even the best organic foods and can be grown in the smallest of indoor spaces – a counter or shelf in your apartment or house! One pound of sprout seeds cost less than one dollar and produce ten pounds of food. Sprouts alone could end world hunger!

It’s lunch time and the kids are hungry – so you cut up some organic veggies for them to munch on while you get them bowls of soup you made earlier that morning. You were shocked to discover that ninety percent of all the foods on grocery store shelves contain some kind of genetically modified food last year and finally switched to buying only organic.

The up front cost seemed higher at first but when you eliminated the packaged, processed foods from your purchases and starting buying bulk whole foods, the cost actually went down. It was a bit challenging at first but after the resistance passed the kids actually seem more calm and focused.

It was also decided as a family to try and support local retailers, including consignment stores (your husband is happy!). The drastic reduction in your spending in these areas allowed more freedom in other areas to buy items on your wish list such as the water filtration system and organic bedding.

All in all, you noticed that your spending habits in general began to lessen as you became more conscious about your purchases. As a family everyone began feeling empowered and even discussed what to buy before hand rather than buying things on impulse that weren’t really needed. The times you do find yourself at a store these days you make sure to bring your own reusable bag and one for each kid.

Off to the capitol for the protest to ban PVC from all kids toys that the local Environmental Justice Group has been working on for some time. You realized that working on issues that impact the environment on the legislative level was an important part of action to be taken as a family. The family hops into your biodiesel Excursion with kids and signs in tow.

Another big ticket item for you was looking at how to transport your family around. Luckily you were able to convert your diesel SUV to biofuels and on warmer days are able to run B100 (pure veggie oil). Even still, you are cautious about the amount of driving you do and try to consolidate all your errands rather than making multiple trips. Buying your food bulk from the co-op every other week helps as does living a close distance to where you have your business.

Looking back over the past year you are impressed with the amount of changes you and your family have been able to incorporate into your every day lives. You feel accomplished knowing that all of the little actions you have taken along the way have not only made a difference in the world but also in your quality of life.”

Becoming a sustainable you! Some simple steps:

*reduce energy usage & support clean energy options
*carpooling, using biofuels, driving a hybrid car
*swap clothes with friends or shop at consignment shops
*support the local economy by shopping locally & at farmers markets
*plant a garden, share your harvest with neighbors & friends
*buy bulk organic foods and limit purchases of packaged, processed foods
*protect your health & the watershed by buying only bio-degradable and non-toxic cleaners
*eliminate your use of plastic, especially plastic water bottles & bags – use reusable ones instead