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vines growing fast
July 28, 2016

Summer Happenings

GWA was very sad to see Ella pass.  She was a loved mascot and gentle dog for the past 15 years.  We have adopted Prince as the new mascot and companion to Ms Doggy.
 
 The nine fruit trees in the front yard are flourishing with pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, herbs, lettuce, and tomatoes to name a few.
 
 GWA is working very closely with the Western Regional Center in Culver City to qualify for vendership.  A special thanks to Lucia Edmonds, a GWA associate, for guiding us in this complicated and important task. 
 
 Evan Dumas is beta testing and editing the grammar and content of the web sites that Sally Hampton has commissioned. When compete, these web sites will provide two functions, one will be used for management and the other for eBlockClubs members.

vines Newest Board Member
January 14, 2016

Winter Happenings

Mary Sampson our newest GWA board member, is taking a 10 week course in Urban Agroecology at the Huntington Gardens' Ranch.
 
 GWA is working with Elektra Grant of  "Human Ecology," Otis College of Art and Design Sustainability Assessments Manager, Arts Earth Partnership.  We will give a short presentation and invite Otis students to choose one of our projects for their Design.
 
 GWA is looking at venderization with the Western Regional Center.
 
 Sally Hampton has asked Warren Montague, a GWA board member and webmaster of this site, to create a website to help in organizing block clubs.
 
 Peter Severynen taught the Culver City High school garden club how to start fig cuttings growing in pots.  It included how to mix the soil and why cuttings can grow roots and new branches.  Everyone really enjoyed his understanding and explanation of tree biology, soil composition and micro organisms support needed for healthy plants.

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August 21, 2015

GWA students planting herbs. 

GWA with the help of Theodore and Richard planted herbs in soil that they mixed to the right consistency and PH, so that the herbs will trive.

Herbs also have medical and health benefits which these students are interested in learning about.
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July 9, 2015

GWA is installing rain catchment for fruit trees. 

GWA with the help of an intern is installing a French Drain on the east side of our Northgate demonstration site, to catch rain coming off the roof and direct it to the fruit trees in the front yard.  When this project is complete we will be making an instructional video of the entire process.  The French Drain allows us to catch rain water without the use of gutters and rain barrows.
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June 22, 2015

GWA is looking for volunteers.  We have met with Debbie Cahill and Jill Thomsen and with their help have placed an ad at the Culver City Senior Center requesting volunteers. 

Here is the text of the ad that appeared in their July News Letter.

GREENER WAY MENTORS

Enjoy Youth! Create An Environmental Legacy!


Whatever your skill or interests, Greener Way Associates invites you to come see if this is the opportunity for you. They mentor youth to live by the principles of the Earth Charter – training them in life & work skills through hands on environmentally sustainable garden projects nearby in Culver City. Gardener? Secretary? Artist? Bookkeeper? Whatever your skills there is an opportunity for you. If you enjoy Youth and want to be the change you would like to see in society, your volunteering will help create the environmental legacy you will be proud to pass on. For more info contact Suzanne at GreenerWayAssociates.org or call 310.204.0570.

Thank you Debbie and Jill for helping GWA find volunteers to help us grow and help even more challenged youth.


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February 3, 2015

Under the direction of Pieter Severynen and with the help of Fab and Warren; nine fruit trees are now growing in the front yard at GWA.

Pieter Severynen is currently consulting with GWA and demonstrated how to plant the first three trees.  He explained soil composition, how to enrich the planting wells, how to inspect and prepare the potted trees so they would grow healthy and strong and how to propery protect the soil with mulch from compression while keeping the ground water using mulch.  He also measured and placed the trees according to size, variety, and sun light.
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October 25, 2014

GWA members are working on -- Urban residential rain water catchment installation -- Learning Module to both educate youth and save water needed for GWA fruit trees.  We are currently offering Culver Park High School students a Learning Module on rain water catchment that will earn them 20 Service Learning hours.   Pieter Severynen an arborist and fruit tree specialist with rain water catchment experience is our expert associate whom will guide us to a sustainable organic orchard.

GWA members are also working on a Basic Gardening Learning Module which is being proposed to the Whittier School District.

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September 15, 2014

Matthew Sloane Matthew Sloane is a student of authenticity in the context of business. He is a Co-Founder and the Chief Content Creator at Soulful Brand.  Matthew has been working with Suzanne and Warren for several months on Branding GWA.

This is primarily an in house summary of who GWA servers and why.  It helps GWA staff understand our mission more clearly and helps us focus on why GWA was created.  I believe it will aid us in reaching our goals and fulfilling our mission.

You can view the Brand Strategy Summary here.vines
August 15, 2014

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GWA is officially a 501(c)(3)
GWA received a letter from the IRS informing us that our 501(c)(3) application was accepted and we officially now have 501(c)(3) tax expemption status.  A photo copy of the letter is on file in our Library..

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before
June 21, 2014

John Swanson's silk screen Psalm 85 was unveiled at the Dedication of Suzanne De Benedittis'  Residence & Garden Summer Solstice Celebration & Blessings

There were about 60 friends, neighbors, and supporters at the Dedication and a Bountiful Harvest Buffet /Pot Luck was enjoyed by all.

To view photos of this event Fans of Rock Soup  an open Facebook Group

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December 5, 2013


The first order of fruit trees has arrived.  All the effort to level the front yard and prepare the soil was so that GWA could  plant a fruit orchard in the front yard.  This has been a two year process and at last the first of the fruit trees have arrived.  These trees have the root system for the Culver City climate and soil with exotic fruit graphs already thriving in small custom pots which soon will be planted with the help of our students and  Pieter Severynen a Landscape Architect and Consulting Arborist.

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August 15, 2013

GWA has filled and received a tax exempt status from the state of California.  Not the same as 501(c)3 but a step in the right direction.

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March 29, 2013

GWA has filled for 501(c)3 status.  There was a lot of paperwork and budget considerations which took much more time and effort than expected, but has now been completed and mailed to the IRS. 

Warren Montague now has a pickup truck so hauling mulch and brush now is much quicker for GWA.. 

vines before
February 5, 2013

Los Angeles-based Landscape Architect and Consulting Arborist, principal of Pieter Severynen Associates, serving homeowners, commercial and institutional clients in the Western United States. Consult on trees, assess outdoor environments, and create integrated, low resource use, emotionally appealing, environmentally sensitive, ecologically sustainable green space designs that emphasize character-revealing trees and shrubs, low-maintenance and long-term viability.

Pieter Severynen is currently consulting with GWA to plant a model fruit tree orchard specifically tailored for Culver City soil and environment.  This will be an entirely organic orchard with no chemicals or fertilizers used in the ground or on the trees.

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January 2, 2013

Warren Montague nominated and elected as board member of GWA 2013.  Amy Montague nominated and elected as board member of GWA 2013.  Warren Montague nominated and elected as President and Treasure of GWA for four years ending 2016.  Amy Montague nominated and elected as Vice President for four years ending 2016. 
vines before
November 11, 2012


The retaining wall is finished and David King has walked the front yard suggesting where to plant 12 fruit trees. The final decisison will be made by Peter Severynen in a couple of months. 

These trees will be much happier and healthier now that the ground is level.  We plan to use all the rain water from the east and north facing roof tops to fill compost filled pits that act like giant sponges and help deliver moisture deeper than surface watering.  .

On the fence we plan to grow raspberries and black berries.  All of this will require a lot of love and attention which we will be training the youth to accomplish giving them confidence and marketable skills which they can use to earn income.vines before 
October 29, 2012

Warren & Linda are attending a LA Southwest College seminar series given by Dr. Alistaire Callender for the next four Saturdays.  This topic is Water Management and Sustainability.  It covers a wide range of topics including food production, water management, water treatment, top soil protection, and many other environmental concerns which must be address and modified quickly or our entire way of life may be drastically changed within the next 40 years.

Total Water Management includes conservation, proper use, and intelligent design to lesson the demand for water, increase our drought tolerance and reverse the waist and inefficiency of our current policies and everyday practices.  By educating our communities we can save money and lower the risk of out of control water prices which will occur if we do not make changes in the ways we use it.  The next big wars will be fought over water not oil because it is essential to food production which, due to population growth, is nearly tapped out. vines

before  October 2, 2012

GWA has looked into Total Water Management as a means to both raise environmental concerns and as an educational program to help the underserved population and home owners manage a growing water shortage problem in Southern California. 

Total water management includes, rainwater harvesting, greywater irrigation, and soil management including proper selection of vegitation.  It also includes storm water run off and ground water protection.

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carving
August 14, 2012

Thank you Albert Taylor for the great carving that you have donated to us.  You can see more of Al's carvings at http://LifeIsGoodCarvings.com  vines
before
July12, 2012 

Garden Wall Progress 

This winter we hope to plant fruit trees in the front yard. The next project will be raised beds in the back yard and compost bins for creating rich soil.

The wood shop is ready to use and we will be creating cabinets and raised bed frames in the near future.
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before May 30, 2012 

GWA looks to the Future 

Rock Soup, as GWA fondly named the pilot project at it's current residential location, is just that; the first step in showing how modern ECO living is both beautiful and practical.  

GWA's vision for the pilot, is to serve as a model which can be scaled upwards and replicated on unused land,  integrated into parks and easements.  It also serves as a model for residents who want to grow their own vegetables and replace their grass with more imaginative alternatives.

To that end a conceptual drawing of a learning ECO garden which feeds and supports a functional public ECO park and which is self supporting and not relying on tax dollars or large donations or grants, shows one of many possible uses settings for GWA's next step in saving the world one garden at a time using a Greener Way.

.vines

beforeDecember 29, 2011

Rock retaining wall progress.


Work has begun on building the rock retaining wall.  This improvement as with all improvements to the property will be completed by volunteers and students.  If you wish to volunteer or help please visit the Contact Us page and let GWA know.  Students learn gardening, handyman, marketing, and computer skills and are paid a weekly stipend to help with transportation.  Students are also welcome to breakfast and lunch.

                                                               donate
                                                                                                                                         GWA is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization


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before

October 3, 2011

Clearing work has begun on retaining wall.


The old concrete must be cleared before the retaining wall can be built.  In keeping with environmental ideals GWA has elected to remove this old concrete the old fashion way.  Not only does this help the environment but it also builds strong muscles and aids in learning the values of hard work.  Anyone can rent some equipment or hire a clearing crew but there is a much greater sense of achievement and satisfaction in doing it yourself.

For those on a low budget or without power tools, this training teaches that nothing is impossible with the right spirit and a little sweat.  Once this old concrete is removed we will be ready to survey the foundation so that it is placed correctly according to the plans and level.   GWA will then create earth forms and use Portland cement, sand, and gravel to mix concrete at a significantly cheaper rate than buying it pre-mixed or delivered by truck.

GWA now has a donation button.   It will be placed at various places on the website for those generous readers who wish to help by making a donation.

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before September 19, 2011

Crew built greenhouse from scraps.

While clearing vines from the back fence, enough lumber was discovered to build a small 4X8 foot green house structure.  The foundation is cynder blocks and large beams.  The floor was a sheet of plywood cut into planks.  After a recent field trip to Tuck Taylor's home we discovered clear tarp which we ordered and used on the walls.  To cellebrate the new green house GWA gave a greenhouse raising party with plenty of good eats and smores around an outdoor fire pit. 

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August 14, 2011

Linda and Warren attended a seminar at the
Center For Non Profit Management

The name of the seminar was Setting the Right Course: Planning Strategies for Dynamic Times, it was held on two Tuesdays and they brought back many tools and ideas to help GWA get it's legs.

Linda, it turned out, used to work at the Center For Non Profit Management several years ago and helped establish a rich library of books and pamphlets to help Non Profit Organizations establish a plan of operation and to find funding.  Linda knew the teacher at the seminar and was able to contribute to the class on a few occasions when she remembered a book or reference that might be helpful to some of the other non profit attendants to the seminar.

We are very grateful and luck to have her as an advisor to GWA.  Linda is helping us set up our strategic plan and will also be positioning us so that when GWA begins applying for funding it will have a solid foundation and strategy plan which funders are looking for and require before making monetary decisions.

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beforeJuly 21, 2011

Thank you Howard Lichtman

GWA loves the Site Drawings you had done for us.  They will soon be used to get a permit from Culver City.  This retaining wall will be built using broken concrete slabs and create a beautiful ECO way to level the front yard for an orchard.

GWA now has a bank account and is working on filing paper work for it's 501c3 tax status.  

GWA is open to the public and has several students already enrolled.  Please visit GWA's mission page and album page if you are interested in becoming a mentor or student.  You can sign up or volunteer today on the Contact Us page.

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June 21, 2011

Greener Way Associates, Inc.

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Greener Way Associates, Inc. is officially incorporated as a non-profit educational corporation.

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June 13, 2011

The Retaining Wall.

The broken concrete for building the retaining wall has been delivered and sorting the large slabs from the small has begun. A conceptual drawing and any other requirements by the City are in the works.  This retaining wall will level the front yard in preparation of planting an orchard.

GWA  now have a couple of students and is looking for more.  If you are under 23 and want to learn how to earn money A Greener Way then please visit our Contact Us page and let GWA know.

A new Services page has been added to the site so thay you can see some of our progress. 

vines
May 16, 2011

Greener Way Associates, Inc.

The paperwork has finally been completed and submitted for non-profit status in the state of California.  In a month or so when the paper work is all signed off a bank account will be formed and Greener Way Associates will be in business.

Once it is official GWA will be adding a corporate page with the complete structure and meeting minutes.  As a non-profit GWA is a public corporation and will make available all records for public viewing by clicking here.

Greener Way Associates, Inc. will be the umbrella name for various programs that GWA wants to make available to everyone.  Some of the projects will have names like Rock Soup, The Urban Winners Group and other descriptive name depicting the scope of each.  GWA will teach gardening, craftsmanship, cooking and ECO living to name just a few.

Brandy and Suzanne are hard at work making co-operative adventures with various groups around Culver City and as these projects take form they will be reported here. 

Warren is pushing forward with the front yard to prepare it for fruit trees. And continues work on computer and internet learning center.vines
April 20, 2011

GWA Organization

The name of any organization is always important for many reasons.  Even the acronyms that the name creates has an effect.  Greener Way Associates GWA is the overall name that nay work best for, obviously a name must be chosen before incorporation.  greenerwayassociates.org will be GWA's web presence name because it so clearly describes the inclusiveness and spirit of community that is so vitally needed in today's uncertain times.

There may also be several other related sub groups which will all have their own names but the most important concerned right now is coming up with a name that relates to all the various programs, classes, and community outreach projects which are urgently needed by neighborhoods today. 

One hundred years ago, community and neighbors were essential to survival and all of us may soon be entering a time in US history where that sense of community and neighborliness again becomes very important.  Grocery stores must replenish everything in the store every week or the shelves will become bare.  There is no large stock piles that you can easily walk to, so if gas becomes scarce deliveries will drive food prices sky high at best, and deliveries might be impossible at worst.

But even if there is no gas shortage, individuals have become so separated from community and simple eye to eye communications, that they can no longer benefit from the true power and joy of life, and instead keep become more and more isolated, powerless, and alone. Gardening is an excellent therapeutic tool which has the added value of getting a person to eat better and become more healthy while lending itself to all sorts of community involvement, like talking to a neighbor who will more often be outside during the day instead of cooped up inside of his or her home.
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March 6, 2011

Incorporation Progress

Well as you can see by the date it has been a while since I posted any status or progress.  It should be noted that while everything posted here reflects current ideas and potential plans, those plans are constantly maturing and sometimes rethinking organizational and preparatory plans becomes necessary.

An example of this was in the discussions about building a fence in the front yard.  There still is no decision about the final look and what materials should be used. The idea of the Rock Soup pilot program is to create a model in the neighborhood that is affordable, practical, beautiful, and something that will inspire others to want to duplicate. 

I do not mean to duplicate the non-profit, youth helping  part, but the gardening and landscaping part which the graduate of this program can help neighbors accomplish.  These are two distinct goals - to help our neighborhood, then the city, and beyond.   The first goal is to help youth find meaningful work; the second is to beautify and enrich everyone with edible landscaping while eating tastier healthy foods.

Food that costs way less than at your local organic grocery store and where most folks drive - polluting all the way.  Not to be too political, but electric cars use electricity that also pollutes the atmosphere at the generating plan.  Even windmills and solar have polluting components in their initial manufacturing and hazardous waste at the end of their useful lives.  So growing your own food naturally and organically can save a lot of energy, cash, and pollution.
 
Enough commentary, things are really getting exciting at the Greener Way Associates.  The incorporation plans have forced GWA to be more organized and seek out expert board members from a wide spectrum of skills and knowledge.  On the board should be a banker, lawyer, contractor, master gardener, and accountant to name a few.  Not only board members but a large advisory staff including - nutritionists, city officials and law enforcement experts, environmentalists, marketing consultants, and fund raising organizers to name a few.  It really gives meaning to the story of Stone Soup.  The skills of everyone working closely together will give guaranteed success and rocket the Rock Soup pilot program into a meaningful community improvement tool.

As soon as the officers, board of directors and advisors are known and documented in the incorporation process they will be make public along with the structure and bylaws for all to see.  If you feel you would like to be a part of this organization then please click on this link and let us know.   The Greener Way Associates is race and color blind and thinks anyone with a good heart is worthy and should be given a part.
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December 16, 2010

Startup Work

Even before accepting the first group of youth there are a few things to be done in preparation.  Plans to erect a green house and build a new tiered fence in the front yard among other things. The green house will allow seeds to sprout in a protected environment rather than buying the more expensive young plans from a garden center.

One of the first projects will be to remove the grass and level the front yard but the retaining wall must be in place before this work can be done.  This wall might be molded concrete that will look like logs and planks. 

With a product such as Composimold a fence from concrete that looks like wood could be made.  Since the building of this fence is to be one of the first steps, the final plans for how it should look and function has high priority. 

Rock Soup needs to be a sub program of a larger non profit organization so that it can raise local money rather than relying on the state or federal government for grants.  In these times of uncertainty state and federal money may not always be available for charitable community service.  Indeed one of the primary goals is to help the local communities survive and prosper in hard times.

By obtaining non profit status Rock Soup will be able to accept tax free donations.  The key to giving youth a sense of purpose is for them to be paid for work as well as learning valuable skills that they can use through out their lives.  So far the name with the most support is Greener Way Associates, this web site will remain as Rock Soup for the time being, and Rock Soup will also refer to the Youth Garden Pilot Program.vines
November 15, 2010

Getting Ready for 2011

Dr. De Benedittise envisioned using her home as a show case of efficiency and her yard as a community garden that together will demonstrate the beauty and benefits of home gardening.  To that end she not only wants her home to be a model but also to be a class room.  Suzanne or Suzie, as her friends know her, is a great cook and grows many vegetables, fruits, and herbs that go into wonderfully delicious and healthy meals.   Please visit the recipes pages where you can see some of Suzanne's creations.

She determined that she needed a state of the art eco home and so has done a complete remake of her house.  The work is nearly complete but the master bath still is unfinished.  Until that work is done she cannot have the inspectors come in and ok all the remodeling.  And her home cannot be used as a class room or model until all of the building permits are signed off and approved.

Suzanne intends to expedite the bathroom and have it done as soon as possible.  This means Rock Soup will not be able to start teaching until next summer.  The Greener Way Associates is still looking for volunteers, supplies, and ideas, if you wish to comment or give us your ideas then please visit the contact us page.

The name Rock Soup comes from the story about stone soup because the more volunteers and tutors with many varied skills are brought together, then the better the pilot program will work.  As in the fable, wonderful exciting things can happen when a community comes together.   It is easy to see the negative results of  youth when they are ignored. Working in the earth and growing food has health benefits as well as self esteem and income benefits.

Once the garden begins to grow, the fruit and vegetables will be freely available to everyone in the neighborhood.  Cooking classes will be free for youth and adults.  Working in the garden will be a class room experience for the youth but also serve as a hobby for neighbors who want to help out.  There are many health related benefits to working with soil and growing plants.  There will be no poisons or dangerous chemicals near the garden and everyone and anyone that wishes to be part of it is welcome.

It is Suzanne's dream, that by showing neighbors how beautiful and wonderfully health having a home garden can be, that many in the community will want to learn how to start their own home gardens.  These are not the gardens of our parents but more like beautiful edible landscaping you can be proud to show off.  And the youth trainees will be more than happy to help teach and maintain gardens that many busy neighbors want but do not have the time to maintain.  That is how they can make money and stay off the streets becoming solid tax paying members of our community.vines
October 27, 2010

Wood Shop Tool Donation

Thanks to the generosity of Marge Gomme, Rock Soup now has wood shop equipment.  Gardens require many structures such as fencing, benches, trellises, storage bins and/or sheds, forms, braces etc all of which are built from wood.  This equipment will allow students to create what ever is needed and gives the opportunity to teach general construction and wood working techniques as well.  vines
October 06, 2010

Fruit Trees

At the top of this page is a before picture of the front yard.  The initial plans are to level this space with a retaining wall and plant fruit trees parallel with the sidewalk.  Modern fruit tree growing includes heavy pruning similar to bonsai techniques.  These small trees will then produce just enough fruit to be eaten during their relatively short harvest season and many different varieties will be chosen so that they are producing at least one type of fruit throughout the year. 

Unlike commercial orchards that grow a large volume of  fruit to be shipped to market, this orchard will be just right for sharing with neighbors, and the fruit will ripen right on the trees.  They will also take much less space with vegetables growing around and beneath these trees.

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Notes from our first brainstorming meeting.

Bermuda grass is very difficult to get rid of and competes with garden plants for moisture and nutriments.  The front yard is covered with this grass and needs to be dug up and disposed of before a garden can be put in.  There will still be years of constant maintenance to eradicate it, but the job will be much easier once most of it is removed from the property.

Deni, a master gardener, recommends a tier approach to the sloping front yard.  Right now the grass is holding the soil from erosion.  Also, Suzanne, wishes to have a place for neighbors and visitors to sit and enjoy the garden.   There may be a way to combine raised gardening with a fence/seating/tiered wall.

Currently, I have started this web site and will document the Rock Soup Pilot project but as soon as there are youth to take over this job it will be handed to them.  My name is Warren Montague and you can read all About Us here.

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