Friday August 17, 2018

Tending the Dense Vegetation: Urban Gardeners Feed Body and Soul in Los Angeles

Let's take a peek into the lives of the "Guerrilla Gardeners" of LA

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Guerrilla gardener
Ron Finley has gained famed as a guerrilla or "gangsta" gardener for his efforts to beautify unused strips of public land. Local officials now support the effort, VOA
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  • Los Angeles city officials approved community gardens on public parkways, the narrow strips of land between the street and sidewalk two years ago
  • From figs and Swiss chard to edible nasturtiums, a range of fruits and vegetables that are rare in the inner city are grown
  • Los Angeles is now dotted with dozens of gardens and small strips of vegetation outside the homes of residents

Los Angeles, June 24, 2017:  edgier description of a man who once defied local authorities to bring nature to the inner city.

Finley’s efforts to plant edible gardens on public property have earned him court citations, but they also brought a victory two years ago when Los Angeles city officials approved community gardens on public parkways, the narrow strips of land between the street and sidewalk.

Many mornings, Finley can be seen tending the dense vegetation in the sliver of a garden outside his house.

“This is a food forest,” he said, pointing to lemon trees, sunflower plants and tomato vines. “There’s fruit trees, there’s also weeds that are edible in here. And I want to educate people to the fact that there’s food all around you.”

From figs and Swiss chard to edible nasturtiums, Finley grows fruits and vegetables that are rare in the inner city, where he says residents have better access to fast food and liquor stores than to healthful produce.

He spends much of his time doing public speaking and urging people to start community gardens. But many in Los Angeles were already on board with the concept before he became involved.

A few miles from Finley’s garden in South Los Angeles, Tamiko Nakamoto walks through plots of edible plants tended by 22 gardeners.

This community garden is not far from the epicenter of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and Nakamoto said the community activist who set it up shortly afterward wanted “a place of peace and an oasis in this city that’s surrounded by turmoil.”

ALSO READ: Ten Trees that have Spiritual Significance Attached to them

There are “collard greens, sugar cane, bananas, tomato trees (vines), cabbage,” said one gardener, a towering immigrant from the Virgin Islands who uses his Rastafarian name, Makado. He is here most days weeding and watering.

Los Angeles is now dotted with dozens of gardens and small strips of vegetation outside the homes of residents.

Others are being planted. Los Angeles officials are in the process of approving tax breaks for owners of vacant lots if the land is used for community gardens. The City Council gave preliminary approval to the measure this month.

“I want them to do more,” Finley said of city officials. “I want them to advocate for this. I want them to put bulletin boards up. I want them to have workshops showing people how to do this.”

Slowly, patches of greenery and color are appearing amid the concrete, and Finley said these gardens make residents feel “healthy all over, not just your body, your mind-set, everything because looking at this, smelling this affects every sense in your body.”

Just as importantly, he said, these gardens are putting fresh fruits and vegetables on the tables of local families. (VOA)

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Fruits, Veggies May cut Psychological Stress Risk in Women

For the study, the team included more than 60,000 Australians aged 45 years and above and measured participants fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress

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fruits and vegetables
Women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had an 18 per cent lower risk of stress, and those who ate two daily serves of fruit had a 16 per cent lower risk of stress.

If you are a woman and want to cut out on stress, add 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables daily to your plate, a new study has showed.

This habit may lead to a 23 per cent reduction in the risk of developing psychological stress.

The findings showed that women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had an 18 per cent lower risk of stress, and those who ate two daily serves of fruit had a 16 per cent lower risk of stress.

“We found that fruits and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables,” said lead author Binh Nguyen, doctoral student at University of Sydney in Australia.

However, fruit consumption alone had no significant association with a lower incidence of stress and no significant association was found between higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake (greater than 7 daily serves) and a lower incidence of stress.

fruits and vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables. Pixabay

“This study reveals that moderate daily vegetable intake alone is linked to a lower incidence of psychological stress. Moderate fruit intake alone appears to confer no significant benefit on people’s psychological stress,” said Melody Ding from the University of Sydney.

Further, the study appearing in the British Medical Journal Open, also noted that for both men and women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had a 12 per cent lower risk of stress and those who ate 5-7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 14 per cent lower risk of stress.

Also Read: High-Fibre Diets Are Good For Stress, According To Scientists

For the study, the team included more than 60,000 Australians aged 45 years and above and measured participants fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress. (Bollywood Country)