Patti Moreno, Garden Girl

Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl and host of Garden Girl TV, started gardening in her backyard at Roxbury, Massachussets, after having gained weight during pregnancy, and she was hooked.

She has the power to attract thousands of viewers, inspiring them to healthier lives through organic gardening.

She’s Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl. She calls herself a modern American homemaker. Being “modern” these days is about growing your own food.

“I’m Newyorican,” says Patti, whose parents migrated to New York City in the 1950’s. “I didn’t know what a garden was.” As a kid, her experience of nature was limited to Central Park, very different from the farm life her parents had in Puerto Rico.

She moved to Boston, where trees surrounded her, but it took gaining seventy extra pounds during pregnancy for her to put on some garden gloves, grab a shovel, and jump into action, as a way to exercise and eat healthier.

“When I started, it was horrible. Se me moría todo. I think I’ve tried up to 500 different plant varieties in the twelve years I’ve been gardening. Every year’s an experiment. My first successes were two apple trees. They were the best apples I’d ever eaten! Then I knew what it was to eat fresh food.”

Patti believes in Gardening by Cuisine. Through her Garden Girl TV show, she teaches viewers not only what to plant and how to grow it, but how to harvest, cook it and can it. The dozen raised beds, filled with homemade compost, are divided according to the dishes that she plans to cook.

“Never plant potatoes with tomatoes,” she says, as she shows her garden. “In this bed I have all the ingredients for Sofrito, and this one is for Ensaladas, this one’s medicinal herbs, and this one Latin Caribbean cuisine. And here is the Mediterranean bed: tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, oregano, basil…”

Her love for the garden is palpable and contagious. “Start small, with cilantro and tomatoes and then grow to bigger things,” she advises.

The Garden Girl TV shows are a natural evolution, since her professional background is in filmmaking. Her short videos are fun and full of fun and useful trivia. Did you know that you could harvest as many as 30 pounds of tomatoes from a healthy plant? “I made the mistakes so you don’t have to,” she says, inviting viewers on her website to play with dirt, and food, and to raise rabbits and chickens.

“My mission is to inspire people to begin farming, to connect to nature, and to remove the stigma; growing your own food is not going back in time, but it’s the future, freedom, and money savings.”

Moreno has made over 200 videos for Garden Girl TV, her online TV show. Many of them are available in two DVD titles. She’s currently working on a book and TV Show named Gardening by Cuisine, which she has pitched to PBS.



And the walking man walks

John Francis, author of “Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence”.

After enjoying a private concert by James Taylor, I was reminded of John Francis, the Planetwalker. Francis witnessed the effects of an oil spill in the San Francisco Bay in 1974. He was shocked by the disaster, and he started walking, and he stopped talking. He walked the world for 22 years, 17 of them in complete silence. He was tired of explaining to people why he wasn’t riding in cars, buses or any other fossil fuel-burning method of transportation. He crossed continents and oceans by foot and sailboat.

During that time, he earned college and graduate degrees in science and environmental studies and was appointed  goodwill ambassador to the world’s grassroots communities by the United Nations.

John Francis walked around the world for 22 years, 17 of them in complete silence.

“Walking is the best way to calibrate where you are, where you come from and where you’re going,” says Francis. “One person can make a difference and show others the road less traveled. But each of us must follow our own road: mine was to walk in response to an oil spill. I learned many marvelous things along the way. I learned to listen.”

The children were the ones who understood his silence the most. “Adults would point at me and say, ‘There goes the man that walks,’ as if the normal thing was to go by car.”

He didn’t know how long he was going to keep his vow of silence. He would decide every year on his birthday if he would renew it. When he finally spoke, he did it to promote sustainability and social justice.

“I learned that sustainability is nothing more that how we relate to each other. The way we treat each other is equivalent to the way we treat our environment. While we have oppression, exploitation of others and wars, we can’t advance. We have to make peace with each other to make peace with the planet.”

John Francis walks on by, always carrying his banjo.

He has written two books, Planetwalker: How to Change Your World One Step at a Time and Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence. He still walks as many as 20 miles per day.