Martin Luther King Day was celebrated at the Homeless Garden Project on the west side, with a big volunteer effort to ready the grounds for Spring, and for celebrating the meaning of the holidays. I took the opportunity to network with some of the leaders there on giving a talk on climate change, to talk to climate workers I met there, and.... to trigger some repressed childhood traumas of WEED PULLING at Rancho Cost-A-Plenty back in my LA suburban youth. It was great fun, and afterwards, I continued on up the coast to get in a good 16 mile ride.


Big weeds. But the kids there (lots!) had a great time, and were totally into it, and a bit of horsing around too, of course

Those are the hands of a weeder! Note we had some celebrities out too.

Seriously, though, I came away realizing how hard is the effort it takes to pull weeds manually. And how human-labor intensive (and expensive, therefore) it is to accomplish. Much more so than harvesting in most cases. I remind my students that conventional Big Ag farmers are not deliberately trying to destroy their farmland and the Earth with their practices. Yes, they're causing 1% topsoil loss per year, and N2O greenhouse gas emissions, and debilitated soils unable to pull carbon out of the atmosphere as organic soils can do so much better. No, they're trying their best to farm their land with the minimum cost necessary, because the buyers of their products are extremely cost-conscious. We Santa Cruzans can afford to pay double for locally grown organic delicious vegetables and fruits, but what about most of the world's population, who may have to pay much more than double for similar quality food, and can't? This is how starvation and societal breakdowns begin. So it's going to be difficult to change the paradigm to the extent necessary, especially if climate change further erodes society.