Alternative Grants in Action


Ever feel like spending the day getting your hands dirty and giving back? Well, last Saturday we did just that when we joined our first Alternative Grants recipient, WE Garden, for a day of gardening in Venice.

Working with volunteers, students, parents and teachers at Westminster Elementary (hence the name “WE” Garden”), we joined an enthusiastic group to do some serious gardening—WE’s Master Gardener Nora Dvosin, Ryland Engelhart (Co-Founder of Café Gratitude), Steven Williams (Biologist and volunteer from Surfrider Foundation), Kameron Waters (Founder of Avocado Army), and of course our first Alternative Grants Ambassador, renegade gardener and good friend Ron Finley.

We planted new vegetable patches, weeded the soil, and planted avocado trees donated by Avocado Army as well as a young oak tree from Tree People. It was a blast. The kids loved it and so did the adults. But one of the biggest highlights of the day was a cooking demonstration by Chef Christian Berten of Joe’s Restaurant. He set up right in the middle of the garden, blending up swiss chard pesto and cooking ‘chard cakes’ with sorrel sauce, all with swiss chard from the garden. What a perfect way to learn that growing our own food can be fun and delicious.

Special thanks to all that made the day such a success! In addition to everyone mentioned above, we also couldn’t have done it without donations from Abbot’s Habit, Windward Café, Whole Foods, 3 Square Café and our good friends at Imprint Projects.

We look forward to seeing many more Alternative Grants come to life in the years to come!




Written by Shannon Flaherty Randall

Photos by Stephen Zeigler

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