Click Here to See Photo Album
July 28, 2016
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.
January 14, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
September 15, 2014
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
You can view the
Brand Strategy Summary
August 15, 2014
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
of the letter is on file in our Library..
June 21, 2014
John Swanson's silk screen Psalm 85 was unveiled at the Dedication
of Suzanne De Benedittis' Residence & Garden Summer Solstice Celebration
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
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
a Landscape Architect and Consulting Arborist.
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.
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..
February 5, 2013
Landscape Architect and Consulting Arborist, principal of
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
December 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.
GWA is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
page if you are interested in becoming a mentor or student.
You can sign up or volunteer today on the Contact Us
Greener Way Associates, Inc.
Greener Way Associates, Inc. is officially incorporated as a non-profit
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.
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
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
Warren is pushing forward with the front yard to prepare it for fruit trees. And
continues work on computer and internet learning center.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
October 06, 2010
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
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.
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