Category Archives: Fruitful Harvest


Hunger in America

Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy? If not, do. It is incredibly creative, entertaining reading that I thoroughly enjoyed. That’s right. I just said I enjoyed a series of books that were mass produced and loved. In fact, as far as Summer 2011 books go, these are at the top of my recommendation list.

It’s crazy. Literary times, they be a changin’.

Speaking of hunger, I have been hanging around a local food bank lately helping out where I can. This week, I spent a couple hours taking portraits of recipients and food, to later be used in marketing materials. A few things I’ve learned, for those who’d consider giving to a food bank:

1. Did you know food banks have incredible buying power? That for $1 donated, they can buy 10 pounds of food on the commodity markets? So, if you are interested in donating, instead of going to the grocery, consider instead writing a check.

2. There are non-grocery related items food banks always need — like grocery bags and totes. They can also use toiletries. Not all food banks distribute these, but the ones here in Denver are always asking for toilet paper and small bottles of shampoo and soap too.

3. Pets need food too. Many American families now visiting food banks were otherwise employed and doing just fine a few months ago. Their pets, in turn, were also eating well. Now with the worst unemployment since World War II, pets are among all family members feeling the pinch. Dog and cat food is in great need.

Otherwise, volunteering with these folks is one of the most humbling, gratifying times of my life. I’m getting way more out of it than I’m able to give. Finding such an organization I can work for makes me feel a part of this Denver community.



Garden gate

Garden, before


Underneath all of those weeds, there was a stack of paving stones and three garden boxes. They are now planted with an abundance of squash, turnips, radishes and one lone tomato plant. Thankfully I now have a steady supply of coffee grounds I can add to the soil — another perk of being a coffee shop employee.

Praying for a bounty I can share with the neighbors!


Ignite: Fruitful Harvest

A little more than a week ago, I was given a chance to speak about Fruitful Harvest — a new community program in Phoenix to plant fruit trees on irrigated lots to supplement food banks. The ASU Ignite talk was just five minutes and it took more than a few hours of repeating the same five minutes worth of information to contain my excitement. (Understatement of the week: I’m a talker.)

This Thursday, I’m bringing together anyone interested in helping Fruitful Harvest — those with land, shovels, time, a bit of money or just the desire to see Phoenix be a better place. I sincerely believe using our water for fruit trees to ease hunger makes simple sense. How simple? Easy enough for me to do the math:

1 hour + $100 to purchase 5 fruit trees + 1 irrigated lot (with no extra water used!) = 1,000 pounds of fruit per tree in 3 years.

1 hour. Tell me you can’t give 1 hour of your time to make our home better?*

The meeting will have representatives from the Phoenix Permaculture Guild, local food banks and local faith communities on irrigated lots interested in participating. If you attend, I promise to find you an appropriate place to pitch in to be a part of this great work.

When: 7 pm, Thursday, October 14

Where: Asbury United Methodist Church — 1601 W. Indian School Rd, Phoenix

RSVP: africankelli at gmail dot com


* I’ve heard from more than one friend lately they are getting a little tired of my “Dear Friends,” emails. This is apparently my favorite salutation before a community call to action. To this I say, do you know who I am? Big mouth, bigger heart. Now, stop your complaining and grab the shovel. We’ve got some trees to plant.