Growing Cities Blog

Why I want to see Growing Cities on PBS: Mandy Mowers, screenings coordinator

July 1st, 2014
Mandy Mowers

Why I want #GrowingCitiesonPBS: Mandy Mowers, Screenings Coordinator from Growing Cities Movie on Vimeo.

Hi. My name is Mandy Mowers, and I’m the screenings coordinator for Growing Cities. That means I’ve gotten to talk to hundreds of fabulous community-minded folks around the country and the world this spring and summer. These people have been interested in bringing Growing Cities to their communities, to help inspire their neighborhoods to grow where they are.

I saw the film in Omaha last fall. Finally. Dan Susman, the director, has become a good friend of mine, stemming from the ultimate frisbee field. We’d been hearing about this film for so long, I couldn’t believe I was finally getting to see it.

Going in, I knew the film was about gardening and growing food in cities. I had no idea just how inspiring it would be.

I loved that the documentary was so positive. I love documentaries, but they can be draining. They are often about issues affecting our world, and I’m left with a heavy, guilty sense. Growing Cities did talk about important issues of our time, but I left feeling light, hopeful, excited.

My friend Betsy and I (thank goodness I got to be her plus one!) talked the whole way home about growing food.

I’d been wanting to start a garden, but I’d resigned to just forget it for the time being. My apartment’s already-limited ground soil is soaked in lead. And I suffer from a black thumb for all vegetables. Houseplants, fine. But if it’s food, I will kill it.

Growing Cities inspired me to contact my friend Marcia, who is a master gardener. I’d help her with the labor of her garden if she’d teach me to nurture those elusive fruits and vegetables. I helped her plant seeds. She sent me photo updates later in the week of our sprouts.

As the summer has picked up, I confess I’ve slipped in my apprenticeship. But I am determined to learn to grow food, and I know Marcia will be on call when it comes time for me to start planting my own garden.

I also registered for an aquaponics class. Betsy is a teacher whose summer class last year built an aquaponics system (with help). That was the first, and the film was the second time I’d really heard about aquaponics.

These systems use fish and plants to feed each other—and to feed you. I’m deeply interested in learning more.

And finally, I was inspired to join the team at Growing Cities, to help spread word about good food and get even more people excited to grow their own. The film has been featured in more than 25 film festivals and at more than 200 community screenings.

I got involved in this project because I believe deeply in the message of the film. You don’t have to grow everything, but you can grow something. And every little bit helps move us toward sustainability.

Because the truth is, we have got to think about future generations. We’ve got to learn and then be able to teach sustainable agricultural practices, and we’ve got to do it in the cities where we live.

Me, I loved the small town I grew up in. But I live in a city now, and I think I’ll probably live in a city when I raise my own family. I want to be part of building a better world right here in the city.

A message like that belongs on PBS. I want kids to see it. I want adults to see it. The people I’m thinking of might not go looking for a documentary on sustainable agriculture or farming in the city. But they might find it if it’s on public television. And maybe they’ll get excited about urban farming too — just like I did.

Please help us spread the word about the Good Food Movement by donating to the Kickstarter today:!

Ted Talk on Healing and Our Land

November 26th, 2013

Thanks to The Green Horns blog, for presenting this Ted talk.  Take a look!

Allan Savory

They ask that you…

Join us for this two-day conference in beautiful Chico, CA. We have an amazing line-up of speakers. Super-star Robb Wolf, New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Solution, will be talking about eating the way humans were designed to. Our very own Allan Savory will be talking about how properly managing livestock can reverse desertification, restore grassland ecosystems and stop climate change. We’ll also have world-famous blogger and author Jenny Mcgruther who is the amazing woman behind one of the most popular food blogs in the world, Nourished Kitchen. Jenny will be talking about bringing these concepts home and how to implement them in our daily meals. We’ll have Dr. Cindy Daley, of Chico State, who has done incredible research, that’s being touted all over the globe, on the nutritional benefits of grass-fed meat and milk. We’ll also have a panel comprised of grass-fed livestock ranchers from around the north-state sharing a bit of their lifestyle and talking about how to make grass-fed meats more available to the masses.

Read more HERE!

Urban Homestead Soda (w/recipe)

December 23rd, 2011

Watch this video and check out this simple recipe to make delicious and healthy soda at home – happy holidays!

Lacto-Fermented Lemon Grapefruit Soda

from K. Ruby Blume at the Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakland, CA

1/2 gallon glass container with lid

3 lemons

1 grapefruit

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  c whey or 2 Tablespoons liquid probiotic

1/2 c sweetener (sugar, maple syrup, agave or honey)

non-chloraminated water

All ingredients may be adjusted to taste, however less whey will mean slower, less bubbly fermentation. More sugar or whey will give you a faster, more fizzy fermentation. Any real sweetener may be used, including honey, cane sugar, agave. Stevia or fake sugars will not work, as they lacto-bacillii need something to feed on in order to multiply and become fizzy

1. Squeeze the lemons & grapefruit into the container.

2. Add the rinds of 2 lemons & . grapefruit (or less for smaller batches).

3. Add the rest of the ingredients.

4. Treat water if necessary and add to reach the target volume.

5. Cap & shake to dissolve & disperse ingredients.

6. Set in a warm spot for 2-5 days until carbonated. The longer it sits, the less sweet it will get.

6. Strain, bottle & refrigerate.


Farmer D Young Food Activist Advice

September 22nd, 2011

A great excerpt from our interview with Daron Joffe (aka Farmer D), a leading figure in the biodynamic and organic farming movements, as well as eco-entrepreneur and owner of Farmer D Organics Garden Center in Atlanta, GA. In this clip he offers some wonderful advice and insight for young people trying to find their niche in sustainable agriculture.

Malik Yakini Outtake

July 21st, 2011

Malik Yakini Outtake from Growing Cities Movie on Vimeo.

Check out a preview of our chat with Detroit activist and urban farmer Malik Yakini. He works with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and is a leading voice in the urban agriculture and food justice movements.

Compass Green Mobile Greenhouse

July 16th, 2011

“If you can grow food in the back of a truck, you can grow it anywhere!” That’s what we learned from the Compass Green project in Brooklyn, NY – its an old truck that has been transformed into mobile greenhouse that is touring the country to teach people about sustainable farming practices and to inspire people to grow their own food.

The Free Farm

July 8th, 2011

Check out a short clip about our visit Free Farm right outside downtown San Francisco. They grow tons of food right in the city and then give it away for free at the Free Farm Stand…no money involved whatsoever. A really amazing way to help feed people who need it most.

Karen Washington Outtake

July 6th, 2011

Check out an outtake from our interview with Karen Washington. She’s an amazing community gardener and activist in the Bronx. She is also an incredibly well-spoken leader in the urban farming movement!

Ultra Fresh Goat’s Milk

June 20th, 2011

Check out our latest video of our visit with Jennie Grant, founder of the Goat Justice League in Seattle, WA. They fought to legalize keeping goats in backyards in Seattle and won! We learned how to milk goats with her and even got some milk straight from the udder. Check it out!

Backwards Beekeeping Video!

June 19th, 2011

Check out our adventure with the Backwards Beekeepers! We saved around 20,000 bees from being exterminated and relocated their hive safely to Warren’s backyard – collecting about 40 lbs. of delicious honey in the process.