Today’s episode is simply me sharing things that are inspiring me in this weird time for our country. There is so much to be scared of, but so much to be thankful for and inspired by. A lot of people are feeling helpless and alone, and this is a list of ways that you can help those in need and yourself in the Age of Corona!
Summer Rayne Oakes’ #plantoneforward initiative: Summer Rayne is encouraging everyone in our community to support local growers and plant shops by sending one plants to one person who could use cheering up in this moment: a loved one, a plant friend, or maybe even someone you’ve lost touch with. If you can afford to, this is a great way to help our beloved plant shops (and the growers that supply them) stay in business. I sent a thank you plant from @plantsbypost
From Summer Raynes’ Blog post: “If even 100 of us do so, we’ll positively affect the lives of 300 people (you, the person who owns the shop, and the person you give the plant to); 300 becomes 900; 900 becomes 2,700; 2,700 becomes 8,100; 8,100 becomes 24,300; and so on and so forth. It’s simple acts such as these that not only help our communities—but also help us stay connected to one another. “
Click here for SRO’s blog with all of the plant shops mentioned
To buy something for yourself AND sending a plant to your friend visit Steves Leaves to take advantage of their #plantoneforwardbonus. Purchase a plant (or more) and then add the item Promo to their cart (it can be found by searching promo on the site). Use promo code #PLANTONEFORWARD to send an airplant to a friend at a separate address when you place your order. You will need to put the name and address of who you are sending the air plant to into the comments section of the order so we can mail it to the other person.
The Victory Garden movement was a result of World War 1, when people were encouraged to grow as much food at home as possible to become self- sufficient. It was so successful that it was predicted that up to 40 % of the countries vegetables were grown in community, home and school gardens. In 2020 as a response to the Covid Pandemic, the Experimental Farm Network is swiftly pulling together the Cooperative Gardens Commission (renamed after they decided to move away from the Corona Victory Garden Network). The commission is pledging to helping connect experienced gardeners with supplies to help their communities grow their own food. You can visit www.coogardens.org to pledge supplies or volunteer time to help the movement.
In their own words:
“In response to this crisis, Experimental Farm Network (EFN) is urging all people who can to establish “Cooperative Gardens” to grow as much food this year as they possibly can. We hope this effort will help people across the country (and potentially in other countries as well) to provide themselves and their communities with healthy fresh food, reduce our reliance on the faltering industrial food system (which is terrible for the environment and human health even when fully functioning), and make it easier for folks to stay in their communities and avoid further transmission of the virus.
We hope people in cities will take over defunct community gardens and vacant lots and fill them with life once more. We hope people in towns and suburbs who normally work hard to keep their lawns green will instead rip up grass and plant vegetable gardens. And we hope rural farmers who normally grow big fields of commodity crops — folks who know how to farm and have a great capacity to produce lots of food — will set aside at least a portion of their land and labor to grow fruits and vegetables for their neighbors and for those in need in nearby communities (especially in cities, where people are likely to suffer greatly in the event of major supply chain disruptions).
This is a time for social solidarity on a scale not seen since wartime — though such solidarity would inarguably be welcome in peacetime too, given how many people already lack food sovereignty, particularly in historically oppressed communities. During World War I, a National War Garden Commission was established by concerned individuals outside of government before the US even entered the war. Girl Scouts tended a quarter-acre garden in Boston Common. The Army’s Camp Dix here in New Jersey hosted a 400-acre “war garden” tended by soldiers (with 140 acres of potatoes alone). Schools and Universities grew food on their campuses. And people of all ages came to consider gardening to be their civic duty. We must do the same today.
Please fill out this survey if you have food production resources to share (seeds, tools, land, volunteer labor, soil/compost, tillage equipment, knowledge, etc), or are interested in starting a farm or garden in your community, particularly if you don’t have access to all of the resources you need. We are working around the clock with a growing coalition of individuals and organizations able to help and will do our best to match those in need with those who have (likely through a different platform than this one, which we will ask you to migrate over to at some point very soon). If you would like to donate funds to support our organizing efforts, please visit www.ExperimentalFarmNetwork.org and click the “Donate” button at the bottom of the page.”
GrowIt! is giving away 1000 free plants through April 19th. You enter by participating in the “Spring is NOT cancelled giveaway” conversation on the GrowIt! App- if you get selected then GrowIt! will ship a houseplant to your door via a small business OR give you a giftcard to a local garden center.Visit our Giveaway FAQ for details.
Little Prince is a grower in Oregon who is helping garden centers and nurseries who are in need. They are a grower that ships directly from their growhouse, so they are set up for success in this time- but garden centers with no online sales capacity are struggling. So they are telling garden centers and shops who can’t sell, that if they direct their customers to the Little Prince site and make sales through them, Little Prince will send them 20% of the sale to help them stay afloat. It’s a really creative way for a grower with the ability to sell, help generate even a small amount of revenue for shops that cannot. If you know a shop or nursery who could benefit from this, visit the Garden Center 911 Page at Little Prince Nursery. Also, if you are just curious to see their awesome array of succulents, airplants, houseplants and more, you can use the Bloom and Grow Radio Affiliate link here.
Now is the time to take time to advance your learning! I am on an online course spree! I’m currently taking the online Soil Science 101 class at NYBG, BSchool by Marie Forleo, Joe Lampl’s Organic Vegetable Gardening course AND I’ve got a botanical watercolor class tonight I’m taking with friends! I’m hooked! I know there finances might be tighter for some of us in these periods- so I have offerings listed in every price range (including free) for you to check out.
If you’re looking for free gardening tips- there are limitless options of different channels! As I prep for my spring garden, lately I’ve been watching:
But comment below on the blog if you have channels you want to suggest!
The New York Botanical Garden has created the New York Botanical Garden At Home Hub for a one stop visit where you can find virtual tours of the garden, plant guides, videos, recipes for kids, blogs links to their online courses and so much more!
NYBG has put many of their courses online! I’ve taken Fundamentals of Gardening and Soil Science 101 and loved it! I’ll be enrolling in the Plant Science 101 Course starting April 23rd, incase anyone wants to join me!
If you are interested in growing herbs and vegetables they have the following classes coming up:
Craft Jam has all sorts of fun botanically inspired classes like botanical watercolor and embroidery (I’m taking the Floral Watercolor on April 2nd and Modern Calligraphy on April 4th!)
Leslie Halleck has discounted her Garden Consultations and Business Consultations for people wanting to design their first gardens or help their planty businesses pivot in these times. For rates and more info click here
Rooney Bloom (from our two part Cannabis Series) launched his online shop where he sells plants and consulting services. But for the month of April he is doing a 4 part educational series for kids on learning how to grow plants from seed. This could be a very fun activity for those of you with kids at home! http://www.rooneybloom.com/products/online-education
Farm One is the hydroponic farm in NYC that is run by our Hydroponics 101 guest, Rob. The farm grows rare herbs and flowers and sells them to high end restaurants across NY. Because of the restaurant closures, they’ve found themselves with a farm full of product and no one to sell it to…so they are offering it to folks to use in their home quarantine cooking creations. 🙂 They will also going to be releasing herb mixes to follow along with video content, like cocktail classes and have a recorded a tasting tour of the farm and will be offering a pack of the herbs covered in that tour so people can taste along at home. Check out their herbs delivered to your door and tours and other offerings at https://store.farm.one. You can also buy a gift card to use once the farm reopens for a tour!
NYC based Advertising Agency CSM, launched #ExperienceGood a campaign to collectively celebrate the ideas and people adapting to the sudden shift in what live experiences mean in the midst of this unprecedented crisis. If you are a business owner trying to pivot and need to feel uplifted and inspired, head to the experiencegood.co to find some inspo!
GiveDirectly is the leading global NGO specialized in delivering digital cash transfers. They’ve worked in challenging contexts across 8 countries, from Houston after Harvey to the most remote parts of Uganda, and now they have turned their attention to those in need in the US in response to Covid. They are helping Americans who are on SNAP (or foodstamps) to get financial relieve into households in need.
(quoted from April 2nd edition of Washington Post’s Power UP Newsletter) “We are working specifically with people on food assistance,” Michael Faye, the president and co-founder of GiveDirectly, told Power Up. “80 percent of these people will have lost work or received a reduction in wages … The urgency of the crisis cannot be understated. The difference between getting someone a check — or buying a load of groceries now versus waiting a month or so is pretty meaningful.”
The nonprofit has already committed to doling out $10 million for cash transfers of $1,000 to 9,000 American families. They’ve also rolled out their #PassTheCheck pledge. The group is encouraging Americans “about to receive government checks even though they might not need it,” to donate their check — or a portion of it — to help a low-income family.
“To the extent that you are in a fortunate position, we are asking you to give [your check] to someone in more need,” Faye told us. “Do the math. If 1 percent of the population doesn’t need their check and donates it — that’s $3.5 billion dollars.”
If you are in a position to give or #PassTheCheck learn more at givedirectly.org
People all over the country are doing amazing things to help those in need in this time of crisis in which none of us could have prepared for. It is scary, it is unnerving, and it is at times, beautiful. The pandemic is horrible and wreaking havoc on our economic and healthcare systems, but silver linings will come out of this. People are quarantining sometimes not to help themselves, but to help others not get sick. Neighbors are offering to do grocery runs for those unable to go outside in these conditions. Old friends are connecting over zoom. Families and couples are reconnecting in quarantine in deeper ways. This period of isolation is causing all of us to slow down for a minute and be present. Just like plant care. How lucky are we to have plantcare as a hobby in this time!
So how can you help? Maybe you are in a position to donate which is amazing. But there are so many ways to help that aren’t even financial. Check in on a friend who you know is alone in quarantine. Share an uplifting story. Back a birthday cake for your friend who’s birthday party got cancelled because of social distancing and drop it off on her doorstep. Prepare some cuttings of your plants to send to people you want to feel loved! Or just take some time for yourself to go ham on youtube videos and gardening books to increase your plantcare knowledge. If you have the means, support a local plant shop by buying a plant for yourself or a friend. Donate to an organization that is meaningful or send money to a friend or family member in need. Or maybe buy some educational books or courses for yourself to pass the time.
Whatever you choose to do, be kind to yourself and be kind to others, and Keep Blooming and Keep Growing.
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