Renovating playgrounds for L.A. toddlers

We are super proud of local resident Dore Burry for the work he’s been accomplishing with the L.A. Conservation Corps. Their Tot Parks and Trails program upgrades dilapidated spaces and underused sections of existing parks, focusing on the needs of zero-to-five year olds.   This article celebrates the opening of their 6th park in L.A. County at Bellflower’s Thompson Park.  Way to go Dore!

KPCC Article about local graywater featuring Laura Allen

Gray water is waste water that can be easily reused on site, that would be most water that doesn’t flow through toilets or kitchen sinks.   Water from showers, baths and laundry is all fair game for the water recycler.   This KPCC article by Molly Peterson is an excellent primer on the state of greywater in Los Angeles.   And make sure you watch the embedded video on one of our laundry greywater systems:

120 attend LAEV 20th Anniversary Celebration Honoring Jackie Goldberg

120 attend LAEV 20th Anniversary Celebration Honoring Jackie Goldberg

And what a night it was a month ago on December 7th! So cold, we squeezed almost everyone into the lobby, which made us much warmer and cozier, like an art opening, as pizza appetizers circulated hot out of Ray Cirino’s astounding rocket stove with great local and organic veggies donated by Mud Baron and Camille Cimino.

Eco-Villagers Ana Paula Noquez Mercado, Jimmy Lizama (ctr) and Eric Roman

Eco-Villagers Ana Paula Noquez Mercado, Jimmy
Lizama (ctr) and Eric Roman (photo by Yuki)

While wine flowed to accompany Jimmy Lizama’s great rice, beans and veggies with help from sis Mayi Mauricio,  more great food was prepared by Lara Morrison, also chief server for the evening.  Nichole Schwab provided a popular wine pairing activity while Eco- Villagers Jordan B and Becca L. tended bar. To top off the food

Early LAEV visionary Maria Davalos (photo by Yuki).

Early LAEV visionary Maria Davalos (photo by Yuki).

part, 15 dozen fabulous homemade cookies were provided by early LAEV visionary Maria Davalos.                                                                                   

A silent auction and raffle event were  organized by members Claire Bergen and Laura Allen.  LAEV members Yuki Kidokoro and Ianne Lavigne took some terrific photos as did our cohousing consultant and friend Raines Cohen from San Francisco. Yuki K. and Irma Garcia along with our friend Tina Mata helped check folks in at the door.  Other Eco-Villagers circulating to host the event and welcome our guests included Eco Maya Festival producer Julio Santizo, Peter Ralph, George Patton, Melba Thorn, Randy Metz, Somer and Aurisha Walters, Eric Roman, and Michelle Wong.

Thiago Winterstein and friends provide mellow bossa nova

Thiago Winterstein and friends provide mellow bossa nova (photo by Yuki)

Eco-Villager Thiago Winterstein DJed for the event, and, with his musician friends, Elizabeth Perry Dickson, Matt Dickson, and Clark Skelton, provided mellow live Brazilian bossa nova. Los Angeles Country  Bicycle Coalition staff Chris Barnes provided volunteer bicycle valet service.  LA Walks’ Deborah Murphy couldn’t join us but graciously loaned us her catering supplies making our effort at holding a zero waste event very successful.

Midnight dishwashing party with LAEV Intentional Community members.

Midnight dishwashing party with LAEV Intentional Community members (photo by Lois).

We had planned to debut our outdoor courtyard kitchen (coordinated by LAEV member and Greywater Action co-founder Laura Allen) for the dish washing activities, but the cold weather resulted in our carting all the dishes up to our community room for the midnight dish washing party spearheaded by Eco-Villagers Melba Thorn and Ana Paula Noguez Mercado, then joined by members Nichole, Becca, Yuki, Eric, Michelle, Laura, Jordan and Randy who finished the job.

KCET’s “Engaging Spaces” blogger and LAEV friend George Villanueva describes the highlight of the evening as we honored our former LAUSD School Board and City Council member Jackie Goldberg “who fought side by side with LAEV to make the physical and social space for the Village that we see today.” George goes on to quote Jackie saying  “how LAEV members ‘not only talk about what to do, but live it and demonstrate it.'” Go here to read the complete blog post.

Honored guest Jackie Goldberg holds clock plaque award up

Honored guest Jackie Goldberg holds plaque award up (photo by Yuki)

We presented Jackie with a small crystal plaque with the engraved words “Thank you Jackie Goldberg for giving us a garden plot instead of a parking lot” to honor the many times she helped save the LAEV neighborhood from being razed for a new school, especially because there were better alternatives. Jackie set the precedent which ultimately resulted in the saving of the northeast corner of Bimini and White House Place for the White House Place Learning Garden instead of more asphalt.  Currently in development, the corner will eventually host gardening instruction for kids from eight schools within walking distance of LAEV.

Eco-Villagers Mayi Mauricio (left),  George Patton, Lara Morrison

Eco-Villagers Mayi Mauricio (left),
George Patton, Lara Morrison (photo by Yuki)

After the presentation to Jackie, I made a special acknowledgement to Lara Morrison, 15 year LAEV member who has been our buildings manager for over ten years, nearly half of that time as a volunteer.  She will be leaving that position in 2014 as she pursues a variety of other earth-related interests.  A key player in piloting the conversion of our two adjacent apartment buildings of 45 units from conventional nonprofit ownership to the Urban Soil-Tierra Urbana limited equity housing cooperative,  Lara also oversaw the

Eco Maya Festival Producer and BVCLT Board member Julio Santizo.

Eco Maya Festival Producer and BVCLT Board member Julio Santizo (photo by Yuki).

Eco-Villagers Melba Thorn (r) and Lois Arkin

Eco-Villagers Melba Thorn (r) and Lois Arkin (photo by Yuki)

development of the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust, which now owns the land underneath that housing.  The White House Place Learning Garden has also been spearheaded by Lara’s boundless energy.  She will, of course, continue as a valued member of our LAEV Intentional Community.

Eco-Home Network Founder Julia Russell, now retired, chats with new ecohome  creator Avo Babian and former EHN board member Mary Proteau

Eco-Home Network Founder Julia Russell, now retired, chats with new Sherman Oaks ecohome creator Avo Babian and former EHN Board member Mary Proteau (photo by Lois).

More media coverage was provided by Koreatown News staffer Leyna Chon.  Referring to Jackie’s comments, Leyna states “Noting the recent natural disasters around the world and the unusually cold LA weather that evening, Jackie also emphasized the urgency of LAEV’s cause,”  referring to the increasing volatility of climate change.  Leyna’s article on LAEV is one of the most comprehensive in recent times, referring in some detail to our Housing Co-op and Community Land Trust, the LAEV membership process, the Arroyo SECO Network of Time Bank, and more.  See full article here.

Arroyo-Seco Network of Time Banks co-founder Autumn Rooney and Santa Barbara Time Bank activist Jonny Sacko

Arroyo-Seco Network of Time Banks co-founder Autumn Rooney and Santa Barbara Time Bank activist Jonny Sacko (photo by Lois)

Among some of our long time friends and activists attending were noted permaculture trainer Dr. Bill Roley, Eco-Home founder Julia Russell, LA Streetsblog founder Damien Newton, permaculture trainer David Kahn, environmental and political activist Hans Johnson; LAEV co-founder and CRSP board president Architect Ian McIlvaine and wife, architect Victoria Yust, both principals of Tierra Sol y Mar; City Planning staffers and CRSP board members David Somers, Priya Mehendale, and immigration attorney Jesse Moorman; Santa Barbara activist Jonny Sacko, Burbank recycling coordinator and long time friend Kreigh Hampel; Time-Bank founder Autumn Rooney, Time Bank activists Lee Conger and Kathie Adams; Cohousing coaches Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris,
affordable housing advocate
and consultant Ryan Lehman,
L.A. River consultant Jill
Sourial, Filipino-American cultural ambassador

Left to right: George Villanueva, Roque Bucton, Michelle Wong, David Kahn

Left to right: George Villanueva, Roque Bucton, Michelle Wong, David Kahn (photo by Yuki)

and environmental activist Roque Bucton, long time affordable housing activist Sheila Bernard; Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust co-founders and Board members Tina Mata and Helen Campbell; LA County Bicycle Coalition co-founder Ron Milam, popular permaculture activist Hop Hopkins, attorney and social activist Adalilila Zelada-Garcia, Cal State Chicano Studies and Urban Planning professor David Diaz, Sherman Oaks ecohome creator Avo Babian, and school garden activist Mud Baron.

Long time LAEV friend Hop Hopkins with daughter.

Long time LAEV friend Hop Hopkins with daughter (photo by Yuki).

Then Surprise–
The surprise of the evening was when Eco-Village members Yuki Kidokoro and Becca L presented a large framed LAEV photo collage with congratulatory notes from many LAEV community members to LAEV co-founder Lois Arkin (i.e., “me”) along with a very special native buckwheat plant.  I was so surprised and flabbergasted, I was speechless, a most unusual response from someone who generally has something to say about almost everything. It’s pretty hard to keep a secret in the

Yuki Kidokoro and Becca L present congratulatory photo collage to a speechless Lois Arkin

Eco-Villagers present congratulatory photo collage to a speechless Lois Arkin

LAEV community, but they really did it.  After the photo presentation, long time friend and colleague Julia Russell made some very moving  comments about our friendship, followed by Tina Mata’s words of appreciation.  Here are a few of Julia’s words:  “…In my opinion, it’s the most evolutionary project in all of Los Angeles, demonstrating a society of economic and social democracy rooted in ecological wisdom.  Yes, it’s true, as Lois never tires of reminding us, none of us do what we do, or did what we did, alone.  It’s the armies of people that catch the vision and the fire of inspiration and opt to become part of it and give it their energy and commitment that actually bring it to fruition.” (Do email me if you would like to see Julia’s entire comments crsp@igc.org.)  If ever there is a time to make you feel humble, it is when something like this happens, so completely unexpected.

So, yes!, what a night it was to remember.  As an old lady of almost 77, who knows if I’ll be around for the 25th or 30th Anniversary party or not, and/or what shape I’d be in by then, to appreciate such lovely warm and inspiring thoughts?  So a great big public thank you to a wonderful community, one that knows how to throw a great party and make the most brash amongst us feel a tearful and speechless humility.

But, ultimately, the message has got to be:  let’s not take 20 years to create thousands of transitional urban ecovillages.  We’ve got the tools, and, already, there are dozens of eco community initiatives happening right here in the greater Los Angele area. What we call them is not so important as what people are doing in their neighborhoods to connect, collaborate and cooperate with one another for creating an ever higher quality of life at an ever lower environmental impact.  We’re nearly out of time so better to make change happen deeply and rapidly and with all the justice we can muster in the process.

A decade in green links

Green Links

Well, almost a decade.  Here is a chronological collection of links to articles or content that feature the Los Angeles Eco-Village or some of its members, carefully collected by Lois Arkin.

2013:
The Jewish Journal features Lois Arkin (one of the L.A Eco-Village founders)
http://www.jewishjournal.com/50_Plus/article/co_op_living_revisited

2012:
The Eco-Village has been a crossroads for a number of activists in Los Angeles, this LA weekly article traces the birth of Ciclavia as it relates  to this place:
http://www.laweekly.com/2012-04-05/news/ciclavia-LA-bicycles-founding/

2012:
An interview with Joe Linton, artist and activist:
http://thesource.metro.net/2012/02/22/joe-linton-interview-with-an-artist-in-transit/

2009:
Chris Carlsson visits Los Angeles and this is a great post that highlights the people and places that he visited. This would be a good read if you are planning on coming to L.A. and would like to see the other side of the coin.
http://www.nowtopians.com/my-writings-and-appearances/it%E2%80%99s-happening-in-los-angeles

2008:
This is a PDF (warning!) of a Power Point presentation by the Affordable Housing Energy Efficiency Alliance on energy efficiency design. We are featured as a case study.
http://www.h-m-g.com/multifamily/aheea/MF%20Bldgs%20High-Perf%20Design_Part3_LACDC_07.31.08.pdf

2008:
Indymedia’s coverage of the the struggle with LAUSD over nearby land use that would affect our area:
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2008/02/213688.php

2008:
A short article on cohousing by Cassandra Lizaire
http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2008-04-15/lizaire-cohousing.html

2007:
Lois Arkin interview by the Center for Oral History Research at UCLA. (sound files with synopsis)
http://oralhistory.library.ucla.edu/viewItem.do?ark=21198/zz00095x90&title=%2520Arkin,%2520Lois

2007:
Joe Linton interview by the Center for Oral History Research at UCLA. (sound files with synopsis)
http://oralhistory.library.ucla.edu/viewItem.do?ark=21198/zz00095wcj&title=%2520Linton,%2520Joe

2007:
Short article about the growing pains of ecovillages around the world:
http://www.emagazine.com/magazine-archive/it-takes-an-eco-village

2004:
Communes and intentional communities by Dean Schabner:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=96711&page=1

2002:
Radio interview and transcript by Living on Earth:
http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=02-P13-00026&segmentID=5

L.A. Times Article:
http://articles.latimes.com/2002/mar/30/local/me-outthere30

1995:
Flemming Funch recounts an inspiring visit to the L.A Eco-Village:
http://www.worldtrans.org/essay/ecovillage.html

Worldwatch Institute talks about L.A Eco-Village

Worldwatch Institute talks about L.A Eco-Village

In my own travels to ecovillages, I saw the potential of this broader influence especially in places like the Los Angeles Ecovillage, nestled right in the heart of LA, offering both affordable housing and community to environmentalists but also serving as a hub of local eco-activism—from helping to commission a local park that processed street run-off water to organizing events to get mayoral candidates to declare their green credentials and commitments publicly.

Reader Input. One blog to rule them all?

Dear readers:

As some of you might know we also keep a Garden Weblog.  At this point some of the authors of the blog you are reading would like to stop maintaining that site and merge the content with this one.   The expected effect would be to have a single blog with more varied content.  If you are a follower of the garden blog and would like to keep on receiving garden only updates you could check the garden category only or even get the garden RSS feed only.

We recognize there are many types of blog readers and we are a bit undecided about this merger. Please leave your thoughts in the comments. Would you like to see more garden related content around here? Would the merger affect your reading habits? Say hi and tell us what you think.   Thanks!