a dream: deferred and cordially discarded.

26 May

In the above photograph, you will find the site of what was to become the Hampton Roads Community Garden (HRCG) and unfortunately, due to lack of start-up funding, this dream will continue to be deferred indefinitely. 

When I first came up with the idea, a garden seemed like the perfect solution for creating a central meeting place free from the bar and club scene, and away from the shores, that could unite family friends, strangers, students, teachers, the young, the old, politicians, citizens… everyone.  A hub for those interested in taking life’s struggles into their own hands, and tilling and digging and plowing them away into the culmination of fresh, organic produce.  A big garden conglomerate (formed by several mini plot gardens), where the worries of the week would be drowned and consumed by the energies of preparing the land.  A big garden conglomerate where old friends and new ones, could meet regularly to chat, eat nature’s bounty fresh from the earth, romp and run, and be free of the stressors of the day-to-day grind.  A big garden conglomerate where family worries of what to eat for the day and the source of the next meal would disappear among heaps and mounds of harvest.  A big garden conglomerate where fresh, organic produce could heal the wounds caused by fast food, preservatives, and additives….

A big garden conglomerate that would ultimately heal (many) of the wounds of a weeping region. 

And unfortunately, this dream has either been deferred until further notice (of available funding and resources), or cordially discarded.

In a calloused economy, the last concern on the minds of the local governments, is the provision of such a hub; and certainly not the financial support of such a resource: a resource that has been dubbed by Department of Parks and Rec as being trivial and not of sound value.  While it would be great to have an initiative of the sorts completely supported and funded by grassroots sweat, tears, and blood, reality has shown far too often, that the energy needed to successfully make that happen wholly independent of government funding/ support is unimaginably difficult to sustain. 

Please do not think, that I am completely giving up on this dream.  I am simply deferring the admission of this dream into the institution of reality, until financial aid is secured, and the resources are in place to get the ball rolling.

freebee (balm)!

14 May

 

As I was driving home from the cd store, I saw where someone had placed a bucket of bee balm on the curb, with a label reading ‘free’, and being the queen bee of free that I am, I decided to help myself to a hefty share.  I came home and transplanted the bee balm into my urban garden, and decided to do some research on the plant.  According to Wikipedia, bee balm (also known as monarda and bergamot), has been used by native tribes as a poultice for skin wounds and infections, to treat excessive flatulence, and as a tea infusion for the relief of headaches and fever.

Interesting.

What really stood out, was the use of bergamot to treat excess flatulence.

I will let you know how that goes….sounds like a great after-meal tea for my candied sauerkraut ;)

What are your bee balm uses? Post below!

Homebrucha Success…Detoxion Concoxion on the Rox!

13 May

Who said homebrew actually required hops and loads of alcohol?

So I took a trip to HomeBrewUSA in Norfolk (conveniently located near my work) and purchased a case (12) of swingneck bottles for bottling my kombucha flavors, and I must say, they do look rather awesome! Muchos gracias to the wonderful people there… and kudos to their magnificent selection of brewing supplies. In fact, after 3 batches of kombucha, I have racks of awesome. My current flavors and titles are: Jazzmine! (jasmine tea & Sugar in the Raw), Spice Blend No. 1 (white chai & Sugar in the Raw), and House Blend Organic No. 1 (organic ceylon & organic white cane sugar).

The chai, hands down, is my favorite brew. It offers a very spicy, festive taste with the most effervescence. I recommend everyone who is deciding to start brewing their own kombucha, choose to start a brew with chai white tea.

My least favorite of the flavors is the house ceylon: it turned to vinegar way too fast and did not offer a very distinct flavor. I think this brew could be enhanced with a second ferment with grapefruit or ginger….mint, perhaps, will do well also.

I have also learned from having the swingneck bottles, that ‘burping’ the bottles regularly is a REQUIREMENT.

In fact, by regularly I mean daily.

To ‘burp’ the bottles, is to open the swing top to release pressure that has accumulated. This pressure can accumulate quickly if bottles are left at room temperature after the brew has been decanted and the bottles are initially sealed. Why? Because the brew continues to ferment in the bottles, and that pressure can be dangerous if not released regularly. There have been reported cases of exploding bottles…so fermentation is nothing to mess around with.

I took a couple of my bottled brewskies to a friend’s cookout and they were rather popular…a great conversation starter. I was happy to share my creation with my friends, who in turn enjoyed their first kombucha experience.

In short, there will be more fun times had by all (and especially by me), as I continue to create various detoxion concoxions that rox the parties, proving sobriety are not mutually exclusive.

Jah bless, & cheers!

Rastafari misconceptions.

12 May


Many people hear the word ‘Rastafari’ and several things come to mind. Unfortunately, these ‘several things’ are not necessarily the makings of what truly embodies the Rastafari culture and because of this misnomer, the culture has come to be viewed through very polar lenses.

With this post, I hope to shed some light on this culture, my culture, and seek to do my little part in ironing out some of this mis-identification.

Misconception No. 1: All Rastafari smoke weed. Not the case. I personally do not partake in ganja smoke, but do understand its significance to (many) Rastafari. As a Rastafari, however, I do acknowledge and respect the right of others to do as they choose; an it no harm done, do what ye will.

This misconception has also led many to assume that since all/most Rastafari partake, then they obviously do not work, as anyone who partakes cannot hold down a decent job (since all decent jobs require clean urinary analyses). Therefore, Rastafari must be uncontributing to society, and therefore are lazy and mooch off of the government. This slippery slope of misconceived deductive theory could not be farther from the truth. Sadly, this is what many within the confines of Westernized structure come to believe.

There very well may be a Rasta man or Rasta womb-an working with you and you don’t even know it. A Rasta may be preparing your food at lunch or dinner, and how would you know? In fact, your best friend may e a Rastafari, and you may have no clue. There is no physical requirement for Rastafari; no dress code; no ‘logo’; no ‘badge’; Rastafari is about the person, not the paraphernalia. Which brings me to…

Misconception No. 2: All Rastafari wear dreadlocks. No no no!! The decision to lock or not to lock, is a personal one based on the personal spiritual journey of each Rastafari. Rastafari may choose to lock their hair, in accordance with personal beliefs regarding their relationship to Jah. The reasons behind my decision to lock my hair were multifold: I was tired of yielding to Euro-centric standards of beauty, I wanted to treasure and revere my hair in its natural state, and be blessed and appreciative of what I was given by God, and I grew to view my hair as an extention of my innermost self; my soul. Therefore, I have made a personal vow to never cut my hair again, for this very reason! My hair is like the mane of a lion; so majestic and beautiful, with every natural curl and coil; with each kink and knot.

Misconception No. 3: Rastafari are not Christians. Some are, some are not. Some Rastafari view HIM (His Imperial Majesty) Haile Selassie I as the reincarnation of God and thus the Saviour of our people; some continue to worship Jesus Christ as the Saviour. I follow the latter crowd. I respect and revere HIM Haile Selassie I as a great leader, and sort of as a Moshe (Moses) of Africans and those affected by the diaspora. I look to his leadership and feel that it was vital for unifying Africans of the motherland and abroad. I do hold HIM Haile Selassie in high esteem. I will NEVER judge another Rastafari for the- I’s belief system or reasoning behind it, and I would hope to receive the same respect. Why? We are all one. InI, walking in step with our Creator.

Misconception No. 4: Rastafari is a cult religion. This is erroneous…erroneous on both accounts. (If you know what movie that quote is from, post it below and you’re my Honorary Awesome Hero of the Day. Forreal, if I had a treat, I would give it to you.) First of all, Rastafari is not a cult. According to http://www.m-w.com, a cult is “1.) A formal religious veneration.” and “2.) A system of religious beliefs and ritual.” If one were to say that Rastafari is a cult based on the first definition, then the same assumption would therefore have to be made about ALL organized religions. ALL organized religions are formal religious venerations, and the most fundamental of these religions are ESPECIALLY in line with this definiton. Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly than the first definition, Rastafari is not a religion. It is a spiritual LIVITY. Get to know that word, because it is not very popular in western (and dare I say even Eurocentric spiritual lifestyles). Livity is the concept of living life based on the spiritual principles that sustain and preserve life, that enhance and propel life…not destroy and desecrate it. For me, this was the primary driving force behind answering the calling to the Rastafari livity: Rastafari complemented my lifestyle; not competed with it, and surely didn’t cause me to compromise it, as did my associations with more strict, fundamental ‘religious’ followings.

Misconception No. 5: All Rastafari are from Jamaica. Though the origins of the livity were formed in Jamaica and focused on repatriation and reconnecting with Africa (I-thiopia, the mother land of ALL human creation), not all Rastafari are Jamaican. Rastafari live worldwide.

Have I missed any misconceptions? If so, post them below. Help others to overstand…

Jah bless.

Image Source: http://www.getreligion.org/wp-content/photos/ganja.jpg

now on youtube!

11 May

 
so Va Beach Raw is now on youtube! Subscribe:
http://www.youtube.com/user/vabeachraw

I will be doing demonstration vids on how to ferment foods like kombucha, sauerkraut; post some finds from my foraging adventures, maybe some vlogging here and there…. stay tuned!

why not 100%?

10 May

so I am sure many of you are wondering about why I am not interested in pursuing a 100% raw food diet. with the knowledge of raw foods, the unrefuted benefits of a high-raw diet, and the plethora of raw foods-friendly resources in Hampton Roads, why am I not all for a pure raw diet?

My reasoning behind this decision is multifold:

1.) Too much of a good thing…(for me) is not a good thing. Ever get really caught up into something, to the point where it consumes you? Where it drives you and everything you do…and it takes you from passion to obsession? I have seen far too many people go down the slippery slope of adventure, only to stumble into a very dangerous area of obsession, compulsion, and preoccupation. I have seen it happen with vegans, raws, and especially fruitarians…and I don’t want to see that happen to me. A high-raw diet works well with my lifestyle, but 100% raw is not a direction I want to go in. I want to stay grounded in some sense of ‘normalcy’ within my environment; and high- raw allows me to do this without being completely (and awkwardly) dismembered from contemporary society.

2.) I still (believe it or not) enjoy some foods that are cooked! As does everyone, I have my comfort, cooked foods, and I do not want to get rid of them.

3.) My own evolution. What I am seeking out of my livity and my diet, are not the same as they were 5 years ago, a year ago, or even when I began this blog. Thus, as my dietary and lifestyle habits and needs change, so do my requirements for those elements of my life. What I was seeking from a high-raw diet, I am still seeking— but I do not necessarily feel it needs to be obtained from a 100% raw diet. Does that mean that I can’t still enjoy raw foods, or tell people about the benefits of eating raw and living foods? It certainly does not! There is no secret society of all-or-nothing RAWs, and if anyone tells you that, then run in the other direction.

What are your reasons for not being 100% raw? If you are 100% raw, what are your reasons for maintaining this percentage? Please post your comments below.

coco-nutty breakfast flakes cereal.

7 May

Coconutty Flakes Breakfast Cereal

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

Meat from 2 young coconuts (also known as thai young coconuts or young green coconuts)

Directions:

1) Lay the meat on a dehydrator tray teflex sheet. If you do not have teflex, use parchment paper cut to fit your dehydrator tray size. Dehydrate for up to 12 hours. When the pieces of coconut meat are crispy, break into flakes. (this should be around 10 hours of dehydrating.) Continue to dehydrate for another couple of hours.

To serve, pour flakes into a bowl and pour your favorite nut mylk over them. Don’t let them sit too long in the mylk unless you like soggy cereal flakes!

This recipe is soo simple and delicious! To store, keep in a glass container on your counter or in the fridge. Keeps for 3 days.

Source of recipe: I created this recipe by accident after dehydrating coconut strips too long.

Makes: 1 serving, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 12 hours (drying)

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