Category Archives: Outlook

Growing Communities through Aquaponics

By Jackie Hernandez

As an (untrained) anthropology enthusiast, I sometimes find myself pondering the roots of our food culture and how it affects our lives. Why do we get (or not get…) chocolates, of all things, on Valentine’s Day? When did quinoa become every Angelino‘s best friend? And most recently, how can I use food culture to help others? This last question came about as I realized how much food affects our mood, our health, our appearance, our environment, our wallet, and arguably,  our effectiveness in school and work. Yikes! Food is a huge deal. Plus, food and eating bonds people together and is a form of cultural expression…. For example, as a Californian, I really related to this video while studying abroad in Australia… (skip to 1:40)

I feel, girl, I feel.

Despite being aware of the importance of food, I know I fall into bad eating habits sometimes, like skipping breakfast or relying on processed foods. I also know that there are many people who are in far worse eating situations, due to lack of healthy alternatives. For them and for myself, I started to take an active interest in urban gardening and how it has the potential to change the way a community eats.

For example, one man in South Los Angeles named Ron Finely started planting vegetables in “parkways”– also known as “that little strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road.” His hard work eventually made it possible for families to plant certain foods in public spaces, giving them easier access to healthy foods, not to mention, a new community-bonding recreational activity. I wanted to do the same. Of course, I hadn’t attempted gardening since the third grade, after a field trip to a Los Angeles tree sanctuary in which each child got to take home a tree seed, a seedling planter, and their best intentions to grow a new life. Unfortunately, my young sprout perished in its planter, thanks to a massive pine tree that heavily shaded my apartment window. Ironic, I know.

Continue reading Growing Communities through Aquaponics

Positivity Overload

By Dominique Murdock

So there I was… three months away from the beginning of the fall semester at USC, with no money to travel, no apartment to live in, and quite honestly….no real acceptance letter from my dream graduate school. What I did have, however, was the power to think, see, opportunity centerbelieve, and manifest the things I wanted for my life, into my life. Though I’ve never gone too long without life’s necessities, I’m certainly no stranger to sacrifice. What keeps me resilient though, in those bleak times of struggle, is the sheer drive to be better, see more, and experience things people (at least from where I come) would have never even fathomed.

Before we fast forward this story and kick it into high gear, I want to explore just what it means to “think, see, believe and manifest.” No, these aren’t just cliche words people tattoo onto themselves in barely recognizable languages. Nope… actually they are mantra words, or sacred utterances believed to possess spiritual power when audible, regularly repeated, and present constantly in thought. The idea behind these mantras is that you can literally acquire all the things you want for your life by simply keeping positive. Continue reading Positivity Overload