During my silent 10-day Vipassina mediation last October, I had a vision to work with kids in underprivileged neighborhoods teaching them how to garden, grow food, and make healthy food. These neighborhoods lack fresh produce or healthy food options. The only way to save lives is to teach kids about food, real food. Growing our food builds confidence and self reliance. It’s important for kids to understand where their food comes from.
Neelam Sharma is the Executive Director of Community Services Unlimited, Inc. and is largely responsible for the development of CSU’s food justice and youth training programs. She helped create The Healthy School Food Coalition, The LA Food Justice Network, and the California Food Justice Coalition. An inspirational lady…passionate, intelligent, and beautiful.
Neelam and I met at the Expo Center garden, where I first met Dana Clay, the Urban Farm Assistant responsible for this beautiful garden. I found a curry tree for the first time, and the leaves tasted pungent, like curry.
They even had a cherimoya tree! Yum. The last time I saw a cherimoya tree was in Baja. I love cherimoya, and just picked up 3 at the local farmer’s market. Visit CSU’s weekly Farm Stand in front of the Expo Center on Menlo just north of MLK on Thursdays from 3-6pm.
Find more about Community Services Unlimited events, and how you can volunteer on their website. A special thanks to my good friend Bryant Terry for introducing me to Neelam and CSU, inc.
Mom Tri, owner of the resort, totally gets it. His spa uses edible coconut oil, he has an organic farm in Chang Mai with a cooking school, and looks super fit and healthy.
This is one of 3 pools at Mom Tri’s, and salt water too.
Each morning I’d find a newly bloomed lotus flower. They’re beautiful!
This is just one of several decks overlooking the ocean for dining and drinking. What a view!
This is the beach at Mom Tri’s….turquoise water and white sands. I did get a minor jelly fish sting. I was with a doctor, luckily, who kept me calm, and though it left welts on my arm, it was really not a big deal. I tried to swim a mile a day in the ocean. It was bath water warm and such a treat.
I love how the Balinese reuse litter glass bottles to hold petrol. At first I wondered if this could be dangerous. What if someone drank a bottle by accident? I guess that’s why they display the bottles on a special stand along with a funnel (you can see it in the photo on the bottom shelf).
Growing up in a Korean home in New York, I was taught to use less and to reuse things whenever possible. Like using prepared food containers, instead of buying bright plastic Tupperware, to store our left overs. Korean moms are notorious for saving plastic bags, and reusing them until they fall apart. I think this comes from the fact that Korea wasn’t always a 1st world country, and when my folks were growing up, resources and even food were scarce. So, it was important to make the best use of everything available, and never to waste.
It’s rainy season in Bali, so it downpours buckets of rain for 20 minutes to a couple hours almost every day. It’s warm, so I don’t mind it. On my first rainy day, I decided to visit a local grocery store, where I found a new fruit called salak. It grows on palm trees.
This is salak. It has a brown snakeskin that’s really thin. You peel it away to find what looks like garlic cloves inside. These pods of fruit contain a small seed, and taste sweet and tart at the same time.
The meat of the salak fruit is not juicy, but rather dry and firm. It has a texture similar to a pear, but not as firm and crisp, smoother in texture, and dry. Interesting texture and delicious flavor.
This brightly colored, hairy fruit is a rambutan. I love lychees, and the rambutan is very similar in texture and flavor. Rambutan is very cheap in Bali. I bought a big bag for about 50 cents. The rambutan, even at the grocery store, is always covered in crawling ants. I guess this means there’s no pesticides on the fruit, a good thing.
Here in hot, muggy Bali, I live off fresh tropical fruits (durian, salak, rambutan, mango, papaya, pineapple, and banana), and enjoy only occasional greens when I find them. Back home in the States, I had been cutting back on my sugar intake over the past several months. I was concerned about eating so much fruit. But, my body is thriving on this raw food fruit diet. Combined with swims in the warm ocean, walking everywhere, and the sunshine, all this fruit is making my body leaner. I like this effect.
Mayor Gavin Newsom at SF Green Festival last Saturday. It’s the largest green festival in the country. Mayor Newsom is a long time vegetarian.
The hall was packed for my talk on raw food desserts, nutrition, and overall well being. I demoed my famous Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake and Spiced Blueberry Cobbler, recipes from “Ani’s Raw Food Desserts”. There was a feeding frenzy over the sample tastes of the desserts, and they were delicious!
Read more about the SF Green Fest on VegNews Magazine’s blog.