Money Tree Mission District SF

This public art piece is long gone. It was at the corner of 15th and Van Ness for a long time, sitting inside an empty lot. It was around the corner from where I used to live in the Mission District. It had been up way before the recent surge of issues regarding the inhabitants of San Francisco. I’m glad I got to photograph it before it went away for good. Now they are building something–probably condos. Not that there isn’t anything wrong with making new housing–it was an empty lot–but what demographic will be able to afford them? It’s not easy to forget the poor when you are in San Francisco as there are many people living on the street there. But do you ever wonder if they get enough food? Food with nutrition?

There are meal programs in the city. Some people say that’s why we have so many homeless in San Francisco because of the great services. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Many people living on the street are battling addiction and mental health issues.

It’s hard to make good decisions if you don’t feel good and you can’t feel good if you don’t have enough nourishing foods.

I lived on a $4-5 a day food budget for 2 weeks a few years ago. If you want to read about my experiences and what I ate you can click here. It wasn’t so bad–but I had a home to cook out of and a grounded life in which to make good decisions.

Click on the picture for a larger image.



The Organic Hustle

Selling in Union Square Farmers Market, NYC

Selling in Union Square Farmers Market, NYC about 1984

I’ve been at this a long time. Saying it like that makes it sound like I am old, but I’ve been part of a movement since before I could walk, so then yes it has been some time.

My parents were organic farmers and they started in 1975. That was almost 40 years ago! Even before ’75 they were macrobiotic practitioners studying away with other yin/yang hopefuls chewing brown rice together.

The organic food industry is now worth over 30 billion dollars!

It’s almost hard for me to make the jump. When did it get so big?

Back in the early 80′s only a handful of people cared about organic.

Back then it was just us. There were other farmers of course but we could point to them on a map.

In the mid 80′s we left the hustling and non-bustle of our small upstate New York town for better opportunity in what my Dad liked to call: The Rotten Apple, New York City. For several years my parents, me (I was 13 at the time), my younger siblings and a few hired helpers made the trip several times a week to New York City to make more money and move our produce. We farmed about 20 acres at the time.

My first memory of my Mom having a conversation with a customer about the fact that our produce had no pesticides was in the Union Square farmers market. The person commented about how important it was. Even though this was almost 30 years ago, I am pretty sure that the customer commented back about how it was better for your skin. Which is kind of odd since the most important thing you should be thinking about with pesticides– is endocrine system disruption and essentially… disease and cancer. But we didn’t have the phrase endocrine system disruption then or at least the public didn’t.

Bring it to this day forward. A group that does important activism and education around dangerous chemicals: The Environmental Working Group is having Endocrine Disruptor Week–a week of posts about chemicals to avoid on Facebook.

Times have changed for sure. It’s hard to say if things have gotten better. You might assume that it has with the vast spread of the organic movement, but at other times it seems we have more pressing needs then ever to live healthy in our environment.

It was simpler then when it was just me and family, some dirty carrots to wash and a drive from the farm to New York City.

Here’s EWG Dirty Dozen or follow them on Facebook to learn more about important chemicals to avoid.


Juana Alicia Mural 24th and York

La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)

This is by far one of my favorite murals in San Francisco. What draws me to it are the colors, the artistry and extensive intricacy of the stories that are woven onto the side of the building. I also have been fortunate to have met the artist, Juana Alicia when she subbed for my painting class at Berkeley City College.

I could sit for hours and study this mural–albeit for the fact it is on the street and that I might become very sad. It is the story of women around the world, their struggle for sovereignty and the fight for earths resources, in this case: the rights for water.

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My Little Food Revolution

It’s a little funny that my next health post involves chia seed because my previous post indicated that chia may not give us the healthy fats we are looking for. So it goes. It has been said that health and happiness is direction and not a destination. New research and knowledge is made available all the time. It is our job as consumers, as humans on this planet called Earth to sort through what makes sense for our bodies.

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Mission Girls Mural 24th and Harrison

Always a Mission Girl.

Mural at the corner of 24th and Harrison in San Francisco.

Mission Girls is an after-school program for Latina girls that includes homework help, reading groups, fitness and ethnic dance. Mission Girls provides Case Management for girls ages 13 and up, who have been involved in the Juvenile Justice System, who engage in “at-risk” behavior, and/or have low academic performance. It is operated by the Mission Neighborhood Center.

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Wait I need Fish oil and Flax Seeds? Yup.

Fish oil and Flax Seeds

Do you eat flax seeds for omega-3? Unfortunately you are probably getting very little actual omega-3 fatty acid from your flax seeds. If you take fish oil you may disregard flax seeds but they are not to be missed. I use both but it’s not to get more Omega-3.

I rely on a good quality fish oil for my omega-3 needs and I don’t on flax or chia seed for getting enough of the essential fat because they are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) Omega-3 and our body has to convert ALA into omega-3 EPA (eicosapentanaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) long chain form fatty acids. Conversion from ALA omega-3 is low and unknown and therefore ALA omega-3′s like flax and chia seed are not reliable.

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