FAB Hosts Our First Gardening Workshop in Lennox

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By Sina Uipi

F.A.B. has recently become a part of the Lennox Community Garden, which began a few years ago by a local non-profit organization called From Lot To Spot. They promote health by creating green spaces such as this, along with parks and trails, in urban low-income communities in Los Angeles. It’s the first and only garden in Lennox and we hope there will be more in the near future. The best part is that it is organic and pesticide free!

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Last week, we met with FLTS community organizer Jose Gutierrez, who helps manage the garden, for a workshop on basic gardening since we’ll be planting soon. He gave us some great tips like how it’s a good time to grow greens this season, and we got a good idea of what we’d like to grow just by walking through the garden and seeing all the beautiful greens flourish. We would love to grow green onion, chives, lemon grass, cilantro, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli. We also hope to grow some Tongan food, like ufi and pele, which have many health and nutritious benefits.

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We did some light maintenance around the garden, and pulled out the weeds from out plot to prepare for planting.  Everyone enjoyed it, and there is something peaceful and therapeutic about being in the garden (though it’s right next to a freeway). We are excited to take on this project because it’s something that is lost in today’s young generation. Our parents, grandparents, and ancestors have gardened for many years and we understand it is apart of our Tongan identity. But for many Tongan Americans, we never got a chance to know the true meaning of it, that is, until now. We all hope to connect with our elders through this process of reclaiming and learning cultural knowledge. We also hope to build a working relationship with our fellow Latino gardeners.

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We also discussed the advantages of gardening and the disadvantages of not gardening, or not having the access to it. The benefits is that we know where our food comes from, it’s organic and pesticide free, and we have access to it anytime we want. The downfalls include not knowing where it comes from, and not having the space to garden. The food we do consume most of the time is processed and has genetically modified organisms in it. Not only does that do harm to our bodies, but it does harm to the environment as well. We can begin to make small changes now that we have a space for it. “Give a man a vegetable he’ll be full for a day, teach him how to grow a vegetable he’ll be full for life,”- Simote Tuifua.

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