Send This E-newsletter to
Everyone You Know
The VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com Merges With Organizations, Businesses and Groups for Training Purposes
For Immediate Release
July 13, 2017
Attn: Cathy Harris, CEO and President
P.O. Box 19282
Austin, TX 78760
The VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com movement created by "The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women" (http://www.EssentialMentors.com) is merging with organizations, business groups and other groups. This phase of our campaign and movement will include compiling a list of organizations, businesses and groups that everyone need to join and support ASAP in order to receive training on how to grow foods. The list will be posted on the website at ww.VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com over the next few weeks.
Qualifications for organizations, businesses and groups to work with us include:
- You need to have a great love for the black community.
- You can not be involved in any type of Network or Multi-Level Marketing venture (aka Pyramid Schemes).
- You can't be out there begging for money through Non-profits. Remember this is a 'self-sufficiency' movement.
Remember that the sky is the limit on what we can do, but we need to get started now. Growing our own foods can and will be a game changer for the black community because we have something that we can do really well, without any outside help or assistance.
So therefore, this
is the 3rd and final stage of our national organic food movement as we start a massive training program by using business alliances, strategic partnerships and co-ops to uplift and educate black communities on how they can grow their own foods at homes, schools, or community gardens, in food co-ops or food coalitions -- to sell to grocery stores, farmer's markets, restaurants, catering companies, roadside stands, etc.
Immediate Steps To Take:
Go Back and Study Phase I and II: There are 3 phases in this movement so everyone should go back to
and read everything in these e-newsletters and at the websites
. The goal is to be well-informed on our initiatives, campaigns, and movements so you can bring others aboard, especially the people that you love.
Participate in Monthly Teleconference Calls:
Participate in our
monthly teleconference calls
or we can talk by video at
. We w
ill hold monthly teleconference calls (max 100 participants on phones)
every 3rd Tuesday
July 18, 2017, 7:00-8:30 p.m
, so call
(712) 770-4715, Pin Code: 243460
and the new playback number is
These calls are
Masterminds, Think Tanks,
so it's important that you be a part of the change in your community.
We want to hear from you to see how we can help you set up job and business opportunities around growing foods in your city and of course we would love to hear your story of how you got started yourself.
Turn Your Home or Car Into A Learning Center:
It's estimated that African American families watch 6 to 7 hours of TV everyday, so instead we ask that you limit the amount of time that you and your family members watch TV. Try to listen to audiobooks when driving or at home, and only watch health, financial or business shows on TVs at home. Goggle FREE health teleseminars and webinars online around growing foods. Keep your Smart TV, computer or phone on YouTube.com and use the search words "home gardens, school gardens, community gardens, food co-ops, food coalitions, etc. or watch selected gardening videos at
Make Announcements at Your Meetings:
We ask that all organizations, businesses and groups m
ake announcements in their meetings about our new movement at
If you agree to do this and refer others to our movement, we will list your organization, business or group on our website and help you gain exposure through future postings in e-newsletters, on social media and "The Cathy Harris Show."
6. Find Movers and Shakers in Your City: Remember every city has a mover and shaker, who are good at getting things done. They might be legislators, attorneys, reporters, civil rights leaders, activists or advocates, but these people know where all the skeletons are buried in your city. Go to them and meet with them about this new national food initiative. Remember these people might not know a lot about business, especially civil rights leaders, but chances are they can guide you to other movers and shakers, who can assist with the movement, such as bankers, investors, progressive legislators and attorneys, etc.
Work With NNPA.org or NABJ.org:
These are the two largest black reporter groups in the U.S. They are familiar with the entire breakdown of communities and know where all proactive legislators, attorneys and others who can help us with this movement and other issues are located, so go into the local offices of the NNPA.org (aka Black Press) in your city and meet with publishers and editors, who runs these small black presses. Become a member and advertise on their websites; Volunteer to help them get an online presence; Subscribe yourself along with family members to their publications; Help them deliver newspapers throughout communities because everyone is not online, especially seniors; and also give monthly donations to these groups. If you are a freelancer, blogger or syndicated columnist, the NABJ.org has a monthly writing group in most cities or create these your ownself. Then write stories around growing our own foods.
Set Up Black Business Districts:
Try to w
ork with proactive legislators, investors, black contractors, etc. who can help you map out areas in your city, where you can set up black business districts, especially with business incubators. These can be inside of buildings, flee market areas, farmer's markets, and other areas. It would be nice to have several buildings side by side for this type of venture. We can raise money to have contractors help us with the costs of turning several buildings into black business districts, then we could hire our own security guards to guard these areas.
Let's Investigate Politicians In Your City:
We need to start campaigns to VOTE OUT unresponsive legislators at the end of their terms from the ground up. If you work on 2nd and 3rd shifts, or is retired or a student, please think about volunteering to monitor legislation at the legislative sessions at your capitol. In some cities, these sessions only take place for 3 months throughout the year, January - March of each year, so we need to be ready to make out REPORT CARDS on each legislator. A's and B's can remain in office, but C's and especially D's, need to be BLACKLISTED and VOTED OUT of office so we can run and elect proactive and progressive legislators from the ground up. For instance, like this group out of Maryland (click here).
Join "The Beauty and Barber Shop" or "Storefront" Initiative in your city:
Print out the press release and hand it to storefront owners, especially beauty and barber shops, in your city. Remember the individuals who turns these in to these establishments will be given priority to gain more customers and clients through these outlets as they move their businesses to the next level. We can help you advertise so send us the names of the businesses and your business name and website that are cooperating with this initiative. We especially need all
business coaches, consultants, mentors, and tutors to get involved in this initiative.
12. Go Back And Read ACTION STEPS at EssentialMentors.com: In order to be in a position to grow our own foods, we need to realize some hard facts about ourselves as we put our health before wealth, so go back and read all the ACTION STEPS around HEALTH, BUSINESS and COMMUNITY at www.EssentialMentors.com, that were released by "The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women."
Cathy Harris is available to speak with anyone or any group at anytime by phone, video or email so call (512) 909-7365 or email: email@example.com. These sessions will be FREE. She
is a National Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert and is the author of 24 non-fiction books including 5 health books and 2 business books and can be reached through her empowerment and publishing company, Angels Press, P.O. 19282, Austin, TX 78760, Phone: (512) 909-7365, Website:
. She is available for health seminars, workshops, webinars and coaching at
Cathy Harris Releases New Book
"Overcoming Food Deserts in Your Community: How To Start A Home, School, or Community Garden, Food Co-op or Food Coalition"
and New National Food Project
"Virtual Organic Garden Clubs"
VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com Merges With Black Farmers
Also View Our Press Release
"90 Day Health Challenge"
Can Women Turn Off the Stove for 90 Days to Save Their Family?
Can Men Stop Watching Sports for 90 Days to Save Their Family?
Starting on Tuesday, July 18, 2017
7:00-8:30 p.m. (CST)
Cathy Harris Creates "The Beauty and Barber Shop" or "Storefront" Initiative
When I started this venture, I looked at the three (3) places where black people
mostly, which is
1) Churches, 2) Beauty
3) Community and business meetings,
so we need to use these establishments to educate black people on how they can use their own skills and talents to grow their own foods in the ground, in raised bed gardens, in pots and containers, etc.
In 2008, when I lived in Atlanta and had my "Youth CEO Clubs," I went into 10 beauty and barber shops on a regular basis to talk to kids and adults about business opportunities so I know this will work, but we need to do it on a larger scale.
"We got this!" Cathy Harris
Virtual Organic Garden Clubs Launches "The Beauty and Barber Shop" (or "Storefront") Initiative
For Immediate Release
June 29, 2017
Attn: Cathy Harris, CEO and President
P.O. Box 19282
Austin, TX 78760
"The Beauty and Barber Shop"
(or "Storefront") Initiative
Cathy Harris launches "The Beauty and Barber Shop" (or "Storefront") Initiative. This initiative is being launched by Cathy Harris from "Virtual Organic Garden Clubs" at http://www.VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com and "The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women" at http://www.EssentialMentors.com. The initiative is created to help African American families gain access to good clean, organic foods, while they start businesses, especially around growing foods.
We are asking all African American Beauty and Barbers Shop owners or business owners with storefronts to consider allowing business coaches, consultants, mentors, tutors and other business owners to set up an area once or twice a week in your storefront, in order to educate the community. This would be a win, win for everyone because both the storefront owners and business owners would obtain more clients and customers, especially now while school is out for the summer.
We will announce this training through meetup.com groups, ads in newspapers, through churches and community meetings.
Business training will include FREE consultations or coaching sessions on -- 1) The steps to start a business, 2) How to set entrepreneurial goals, 3) How to create a business plan, 3) How to obtain business start-up money, 4) Business ethics and etiquette training, 5) How to develop marketable skills, 6) How to network with local business owners, and 7) How to obtain business mentors.
Just some of the reasons that youths should open their own businesses include: 1) Young adults need to learn responsibility to prepare for adulthood, 2) It gives them something constructive to do with their time, 3) They can help their family out financially, 4) New businesses improves the conditions of the community, 5) They can pay for their entire college education, and 6) They have no other choice because of the economy.
Some easy to set up businesses just in time for summer include: Gardening and greenhouse consultants; Tutoring businesses; Resume businesses; Author/publishing company; Pet sitting/walking businesses; T-shirt businesses; Flyer distribution businesses; Newsletter/Marketing/PR businesses; Giving lessons - music, dancing, or cooking; Baking cakes, pastries or cookies; Garage cleaning; Lawn maintenance; Computer training; Website or Graphic Designing - just to name a few.
It's time to invest in our children! This is a great opportunity for multi-talented youths to use their skills and stay out of trouble this summer. Children are much more energetic and resourceful than adults and they live in a world of technology so they can start making money in 2 weeks to 30 days by using their own skills, talents and passions.
If you would like to sign your business up for this initiative and be listed on our website and receive free marketing, contact Cathy Harris, who is a National Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Speaker and Author at Angels Press, P.O. Box 19282, Austin, TX 78760, Website: www.CathyHarrisInternational.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (512) 909-7365.
If you print out the press release and give it to beauty
and barber shops or other storefront businesses in your area, then
you will be the businesses that they welcome into
their shops, so do this right away so you can move
your business to the next level. Remember business owners "toot their own horns."
Book Trailer - Overcoming Food Deserts in Your Community
Buy This Book Now -- Read
and Study It from Cover to Cover...
This book can be read by 12 year olds and above.
This book can be a summer reading
assignment for your kids.
"Overcoming Food Deserts in Your Community: How To Start A Home, School or Community Garden, Food Co-op or Food Coalition"
by Cathy Harris
available as an e-book and paperback
Table of Contents
SECTION 1: HOW WILL YOU GAIN ACCESS TO GOOD, CLEAN, ORGANIC FOODS?
- How To Start A Home Garden
- How To Start A School Garden
- How To Start A Community Garden
- How To Start A Food Co-op
- How To Start A Food Coalition
SECTION II: LEGAL STRUCTURE AND FINANCING FOR FOOD PROJECTS
- Job and Business Opportunities
- Legal Business Structure
- Top Ways to Finance Food Projects
SECTION III: MARKETING AND MEDIA FOR FOOD PROJECTS
- How To Market Food Projects
- How To Deal With Media Entities
PREFACE - A NOTE TO THE READER
This book not only lays out several action plans to gain access to good, clean, organic foods, but it will help all family members gain access to job and business opportunities, while they eliminate food deserts in their communities.
Face it we will never get back to totally living off the land like our ancestors did, but families must come together today for the sake of future generations. We need to seriously look at solutions because this is the first generation that will not outlive their parents. However, there are economically-empowered ways we can feed, clothe and shelter our own families.
Food is not always only about the most expedient way to suppress hunger. Many community organizations have long understood this and believe that food access and quality is tied to both racial and economic justice.
Over the past few years we have heard quite a bit about food deserts, or high poverty areas where a lack of grocery stores makes it difficult for residents to purchase fresh food. However, we know far less about the food realities of people who live near grocery stores where fresh food is sold, but because of their limited
incomes, they simply cannot afford it.
Affordable healthy food is an issue of both equity and justice that disproportionally affects working-class and poor people of color in cities and rural areas. Reducing the economic necessity for some to rely so heavily on food that is unhealthy, is not only a tool for fighting health concerns, there are other benefits too.
Time and time again it shows when many schools team up with healthy venues and swap out soda machines and offer instead -- juices, water and low-sugar energy drinks and also prepared meals entirely free of additives and chemicals, but with abundant amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole-grain breads, this have led to reduced behavioral problems, higher grades, lower expulsion rates, decreases in the use of ADD prescription drugs, and teachers are reporting that the students were more attentive and could concentrate for longer periods of time.
Gaining access to clean, sustainability, grown food is a basic human right so we need venues to offer education to inspire family members to live healthy lives, by offering hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition and this is what this book will do.
Who is Cathy Harris?
Cathy Harris International Promotional Video
THIRD Business Action Step for
"The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women"
My Business Story
How I Figured
Out My Calling
July 13, 2017
by Cathy Harris, The Ethical Black Business Coach
Write Down All the Titles You Could
Have Easily Stepped Into
For me it's the below titles that I could have easily stepped into, however, they weren't my
PASSION, so pay attention because whatever you do needs to be your
Roles I could have stepped into include:
- Pocketbook Empire: When I was a young girl, I used to crochet purses and sell them. Little did I know that I was a business owner, but I had no adult in my life to push me to keep doing this. Today I am the only business owner out of my 9 siblings.
- Seamstress: In high school I took home economics and for my sewing project, I made a man's tuxedo. But I regret never teaching my two daughters to sew.
- Photographer: For years before I fell in love with writing, I was an avid photographer. I always had some type of camera with me everywhere I went and even collected picture frames. I also took a couple of classes at one time and was really looking at landscape photography. This is why I enjoy nature so much today.
- Greeting Card Designer: For years I would disappear in the greeting card section in grocery stores and other stores because of my love for greeting cards. My co-workers would always laugh at me because I always had a stack of greeting cards on hand to hand out in time of joy and grief. They even nick-named me "Ms. Hallmark."
Calligraphy: Calligraphy is the art of writing. For a minute I dabbled with calligraphy and have been told I have a very nice handwriting. You can get into this business and work with individuals or companies to design stylist lettering for your clients.
Firearms Coach: When I was in the military and when I worked for Customs and Border Protection for over 20 years, I was an expert shot so I could have easily become a firearms coach or instructor. However, I have always disliked cleaning weapons.
- Public Relations Expert: When I became a business owner, I read every book in America on Business, Marketing and Public Relations (PR) and when I became a whistleblower, I launched my own story in the media and ended up with major national and international coverage, so I could have easily become a Public Relations (PR), Marketing or Media Expert.
What Were You Good At in School?
Most people, even Generation X's and Baby Boomers, don't understand to come up with a business idea, sometimes you have to go back to school to figure this out. What were you good at in school that you can put into a legitimate business today?
I was told I was very good in English, which was my favorite subject so I enjoyed writing and rearranging sentences so eventually I became a writer, freelancer, blogger and syndicated columnist. Most writers go on to write books and become speakers.
- Math Tutor: If you are good in math, then become a Financial Expert because there is a shortage of these experts in black communities or start your own tutoring business out of your home with relatives then move the business to bookstores, community centers, libraries, and learning centers to gain more clients.
- Reading Classes: If you have a love for reading then teach others how to read in your own tutoring business. If you can't read you can't fill out a college or job application or become a business owner.
- Writing Classes: Since they have taken cursive out of most schools, people still need to be able to sign their names and write so start a community writing class. If you can't write you can't fill out a college or job application, or start a business, especially if you can't use a computer, so it's important to know how to compose sentences.
- Computer Classes: If you are good with computers, then teach others, especially adults in Adult Education Classes, Senior Citizen Centers, Community Classes and other locations, how to use computers. You can even go into homes and teach more than one person at one time. Get at least 5 or more clients on Saturdays and charge anywhere from $60.00 to $80.00 or more an hour for a 2 to 3 hour training session. You can take this further and do the same thing with a photography class, Facebook.com training, YouTube.com training, etc. The sky is the limit!
- Speaking Classes: If you are a good speaker, then get your own internet radio show, especially at "Blog Talk Radio" (www.blogtalkradio.com) for $40.00 a month or start a local speaking group that you can franchise later such as a Toastmasters group, but name it something else.
- Science Classes: If you are good in science many students go into the medical field, but not just as doctors or nurses, but occupational therapy, physical therapy, and holistic and naturopathic healing, etc.
- History Classes: If you enjoyed history in school then become a historian and get your own line of lectures, seminars and workshops with your books (e-books, paperback, and audiobooks). Make powerpoint presentations for the audience. People are waiting to learn from you!
Listen To What People Say To You
- I was always told I was great at writing letters, especially when I had to write letters to financial aid offices, when both my daughters went to college back to back, to seek out funds for college. Because of my letters, my daughters received free grants on several occasions.
- I wrote letters to my Congressmen and Senators because of workplace abuse.
- I wrote letters to my mortgage company after filing two bankruptcies.
- I was told that my e-newsletters, especially "The National Black Agenda Online" contained great information and that people loved reading them.
- I am told today that my e-newsletters are written very well with great content/info.
Write Down Past Titles
In deciding how to reinvent yourself or which career to launch write down all the past titles that you have held in your lifetime. Somewhere in those titles is a new potential career.
Here are my titles:
Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner, Business Coach/Consultant, Minority Business Developer, Small Business Specialist, CEO of Angels Press, President of Angels Press, Publisher of Angels Press, Empowerment Speaker, Motivational Speaker, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Health Coach/Consultant, Whistleblower, Truth-Teller, Former U.S. Customs Inspector, Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer, Author, Freelance Writer, Syndicated Columnist, Discrimination Coach/Consultant, Workplace Coach/Consultant, Copywriter, Editor, Proofreader, Typesetter, Book Critic, Multi-Level Marketing Fraud Expert, Veteran, Photographer, Expert Witness, Political Consultant, Public Relations/Marketing/Media Expert, Investigative Reporter, Panelist, Facilitator, Moderator, Internet Radio Host, Broadcaster, Radio Announcer, Manager, Supervisor, Teacher, Educator, Professional Advisor, Arbitrator, Spokesperson, Visionary, Leader, Community Organizer, Human Rights Advocate or Humanitarian, Mentor, Youth Organizer, Child Advocate, Woman Advocate, Activist, Advocate, Advocate for Justice, Freedom Fighter, Warrior, Tarot Reader and Advisor, Black Farmer, Nubian Queen, Mother, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Black Woman, Former Black Teenager, Former Black Child
Next List 3 Things That You Are Really Good At
Remember, just because you have talents and are good at something, doesn't mean you need to start a business around your talents, however, these talents should help you market your business, which you should be doing at least 75% of your time to gain more customers and clients.
What Do You Enjoy Doing
- Giving Seminars and Workshops
- Surfing the web
- Working out
- Attending meetup.com groups.
When you enjoy doing something, researching it, reading about it, then chances are that's your PASSION so start a business around your PASSION.
What's Your Hobbies?
- Attending Metaphysical Meetup.com Events
You can take your hobbies and put them into legitimate businesses. You can start off part-time or full time.
Next Write Down Your Strengths & Weaknesses
Next don't be afraid to write down your strengths and weaknesses.
Here are my
- Has passion for people
- Has passion for business
- Has good customer service skills (always return phone calls, emails, etc.)
- Has professional web presence (websites, blogs, social media sites, etc.)
- Has good business slogans
- Is a good speaker
- Is a good writer with good content in e-newsletters
- Speak and teach on good topics - GMOs/Health, Business, Police Interactions, Credit Repair, Mandatory Vaccinations, How To Write A Book, etc.
- Has creditable and reputable history of integrity as a Whistleblower
- Has national and international online presence since 1998
- Very mobile as a Speaker, Author, and Coach
- Retired at the age of 48 now 60 and is in good health
- Has low tolerance for people who disrespect others, especially elders.
- I am a baby boomer so I am not familiar with all the latest technology.
FOURTH Business Action Step for
"The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women"
Can Forming Business Alliances and Strategic Partnerships Save Black Communities?
by Cathy Harris, Syndicated Columnist
Are you a solo business owner and your business has grown to include one or
more employees and you're looking for ways to expand your reach without
generating a lot of debt? Well the answer to your dilemma could very well be it's
time to form "business alliances" or "strategic partnerships" with other
Your company may have started out as a
solo business and you still want it to
remain that way, but you need to see the value in making connections and joining
Most businesses go out of business within the first 5 years. A reason for this is
because many business owners never find ways to build or grow their
businesses, therefore, they go out of business.
With the current state of business today, small businesses need to always be
strategic and "think outside the box."
A "business alliance" is an agreement between businesses, usually motivated by
cost reduction and improved service for the customer.
"strategic partnership" is a formal alliance between two commercial
enterprises, usually formalized by one or more business contracts, but falls short
of forming a legal partnership, or agency, or corporate affiliate relationship. In big business - alliances are often bound by a single agreement with risk and
opportunity share for all parties involved.
In many cases, alliances between companies can involve two or more categories
or types of alliances:
- A "sales alliance" occurs when two companies agree to go to market together to sell complementary products and services.
- A "solution-specific alliance" occurs when two companies agree to jointly develop and sell a specific marketplace solution.
- A "geographic-specific alliance" is developed when two companies agree to jointly market or co-brand their products and services in a specific geographic region.
- An "investment alliance" occurs when two companies agree to joint their funds for mutual investment.
- A "joint venture alliance" occurs when two or more companies agree to undertake economic activity together.
Joining forces with another company can allow your business to finance certain
services or production functions by sharing expertise, assets, expenses and risk
without necessarily incurring cash debt.
Many business alliances and strategic partnerships may offer great opportunities
for financing some advertising and distribution expenses so it just makes sense
to join forces.
A business alliance or strategic partnership can be an arrangement between two
companies that combine resources to gain additional business. They can be
formed when one company alone cannot fill the gap in serving the needs of the
It involves two companies that pool together expertise and
resources to enter new markets, share financial risks and get products and
services to the market faster.
Some alliances or strategic partnerships are formal
written agreements -- others
are informal as a handshake. With the internet, some alliances are entered into
after several email exchanges, even without the physical meeting of the parties
Whatever their structure, one goal prevails -- these alliances or partnerships are
opportunities for small businesses to accomplish things that would otherwise take
much more money or staff time.
Typically two companies form a strategic partnership when each possesses one
or more business assets that will help the other, but that it does not wish to
One common strategic partnership involves one company providing engineering,
manufacturing or product development services, partnering with a smaller,
entrepreneurial firm or inventor to create a specialized new product.
Typically, the larger firm supplies capital, and the necessary product
development, marketing, manufacturing, and distribution capabilities, while the
smaller firm supplies specialized technical or creative expertise.
Another common strategic partnership involves a supplier/manufacturer
partnering with a distributor or wholesale consumer. Rather than approach the
transactions between the companies as a simple link in the product or service
supply chain, the two companies form a closer relationship where they mutually
participate in advertising, marketing, branding, product development, and other
An example includes an automotive manufacturer may form
strategic partnerships with its parts suppliers or a music distributor with record
For small businesses, these alliances often consist of simple
customers, suppliers and even competitors. There are several other groups you can partner with. Employees can leave their companies and form a partnership with their employers if they see potential partnership opportunities.
Many entrepreneurs can partner with their customers if they are selling a substantial amount of product to one company. It also makes sense to join forces with other companies such as trade associations, local community organizations, etc. Even at times it might be best to partner with a
competitor. You can work hand-in-hand with a competitor over contracts that may be too large for you to handle by yourself.
Remember as you consider forming business alliances and strategic
partnerships - always try to partner with groups that can add value to your
business, not just money. To clear the air, it always best to put any type of
agreement in writing. Always make sure these businesses are on the same page
as your business and that they operate with integrity.
Copyright 2017 Cathy Harris. All Rights Reserved
FIFTH Business Action Step for
"The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women"
TOP 12 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE JOINING
ANY BUSINESS GROUPS
Could Black Chambers of Commerce, Black Business Leagues and
Black Business Networks Save
the Black Community?
July 13, 2017
By Cathy Harris, Syndicated Columnist
With small businesses being the backbone of the community, one would think that these business entities would be in a position to save the black community. But if you are a black business owner, then you should be well aware of how it really works and of all the struggles of black businesses.
Unlike other nationalities and communities, in the black community misinformation, community myths, urban legends, and old wives tales will always be the primary reason for timely and relevant business information not being disseminated properly.
Many people don't know what to look for when they are seeking to join a local or national business group. Therefore, they end up joining the wrong group and get off track by losing their focus.
The following top 12 business questions are what you should ask yourself before joining any local or national business groups:
1. Is the Leader (CEO/President) of the Business Group Ethical?
The primary objective of any business network is to assist the network to achieve their goals - not just his or her goals. Everyone needs to understand that all leaders were followers at one time. But being a business owner, especially the head of a business network, means you must become a leader.
Not just a leader but an effective leader with your number one trait being honesty. It's up to the head of any business group to set the tone for their group because again, "It's their business!"
2. Is the Membership Fees or Activity Fees Too Expensive?
This is where you have to be really careful and investigate potential business groups. Some of these groups might run their business simply to collect extremely high monthly or yearly membership fees.
You can check to see how much other groups are charging for their fees and compare prices. Does the fees fall in the same range as other business groups or do the fees seem extremely high for what they have to offer?
Even if the funds are low, investigate what the funds are used for.
If you don't receive a clear answer on how the business group is using the funds, then don't join because chances are these groups will not be honest with their members.
3. Does the Business Group Provide Feedback and Follow-up?
When you inquire about membership or other services or products of a business group, are they timely when getting back to you or do they even bother to return your texts, emails or phone calls? Sometimes the President of a business group might be great, but the people around him or her might not have the right attitude to bring in new members or help grow the group.
But again, it's up to the leader of any business group to set the tone, therefore, he or she should be aware of what type of people they have surrounded themselves with. Not providing feedback and follow-up, will be one of the main reasons that will force business owners to leave business groups and join others.
4. Do the Business Group have a Website With all Their Services and Products Listed?
Having a website will make it easier for anyone to view what services and products a business group has to offer. It will bring legitimacy to whatever mission the group is trying to achieve. It will also help you see how the group presents itself to the public and other potential members and partners.
Is the website professional? Are there spelling, punctuation or grammar errors? Does the website have a signup mailing list or do you have to join first? Is the website updated often? Does the website list any potential partners? All relevant information should be posted on the website, especially a list of any other groups they are partnering with.
5. Who are the Business Group Partnering With?
In order to be a successful business owner, a solo business owner can only get so far unless they form business alliances, strategic partnerships and co-ops with other businesses. But before joining any business groups, try to make sure you check out other potential partners of that group.
What type of reputation do these potential partners have? If the business groups you are looking at joining are partnering with groups that have hurt the black community, then of course you do not want to be a part of their group. So investigate by speaking to the President and other members and attend several meetings and networking events before you decide to join.
6. Are the Business Group' Leaders Forming Alliances with Black Pro-Business Legislators and Other Community Leaders?
Pro-business, visionary black legislators can play a major role in the success of black businesses. These legislators are in a position to disperse funds and business information to both black youths and adults and, therefore, we must hold them accountable, especially when it comes to black youths.
Business leaders and groups must have respect for all segments of the community including grassroots, youth, elderly, other business proprietors, professionals, laborers, clergy, etc. This will not only allow the network to grow, but it facilitates bonding and promotes self-esteem.
7. Are there Monthly Business Meetings, Yearly Events and Other Networking Activities?
Business networking is a marketing method by which business opportunities are created through networks of like-minded business people. There are several prominent business networking organizations that create models of networking activities that, when followed, allows the business person to build new business relationships and generate business opportunities at the same time.
Many groups are inactive when it comes to networking events. Some simply want others to join and pay their membership fees without giving them anything in return. Never, ever join a group that is INACTIVE unless you think your participation can help the group expand their services and products.
If the group does not have monthly meetings, yearly events or other networking activities, where members can highlight their services and products and build relationships, then you need to find another group.
You can usually tell if a group is inactive when they don't update their website. All weekly, monthly or yearly activities should be listed on their websites.
8. Is the Business Group a Non-Profit?
Many of these groups, especially Chambers of Commerce might be non-profits. Working with a Chamber of Commerce that is a non-profit will not hurt your business, but be careful starting your own non-profit.
Most black business owners who have non-profits end up sitting around begging the government for money. A Chamber of Commerce is a form of business network that works with everyone from every walk of life such as small business owners, college students, educators, bankers, retirees, health professionals, etc., and others committed to ensuring the strength of our economy.
Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a President, CEO or Executive Director to run the organization.
Generally, Chambers of Commerce serves the following purposes: 1) Creating a strong local economy, 2) Promoting the community, 3) Providing networking opportunities, and 4) Speaking with government on behalf of businesses.
Chambers may also serve other purposes, such as
between businesses or serving as a "Better Business Bureau."
9. Is the Business Group Polluted with Multi-Level Marketers?
Remember that many black business groups including Chambers of Commerce are involved with or is polluted with Multi-Level Marketers (MLMs) (also called Network Marketers, Referral Marketing, Direct Selling, Pyramid Schemes, etc.) such as Noni-Juice, Melaleuca, Pre-Paid Legal, Primerica, YTB Travel, ACN, Ignite Energy, Ameriplan, Quixtar, Body Magic Shapers, Warm Spirits, Juice Plus, MCA (Motor Club of America -- just to name a few.
That's why it's extremely important to visit groups several times before paying any type of membership fees or forming alliances or partnerships with these businesses. You want to stay away from these types of groups because if the groups are polluted with MLM's, usually the President or leaders of the group will also be involved in some type of pyramid scheme, which will make it extremely hard for you to succeed with your business because of their unethical business practices.
Remember never, ever get involved with any business simply because someone else is involved in the business. If it's not your passion, chances are you will become bored and not succeed in your business.
10. Are Businesses Given the Right Tools to Move Their Businesses to the Next Level?
The purpose of any business is to grow into a local business, to a local company, to a National Corporation and into an International Corporation. The top 3 reasons a business will fail include: 1) Lack of Research, 2) Poor Management, and 3) Lack of Funding.
Every business could use some extra money to grow their business. Are the group leaders making sure that members' business plans are being viewed by potential investors and others who can help their businesses move to the next level?
Are they bringing in speakers and other trainers, who can help the group's membership grow and assist businesses with highlighting their services and products, while they form strategic alliances and partnerships with other businesses?
11. Is it Hard to Join Committees in the Business Group and Actively Take a Part in the Group?
The problem with most business groups is the heads of these groups caters to their own long-time networks including their own family, friends and supporters, whom they have built relationships with over the years -- even though they might not offer anything of value to the group.
Others who join these groups or committees will have an extremely hard time to move up in the group and get the visibility that they need to build and grow their businesses. Being a leader of any business with membership means developing the skills of the members of the group by encouraging full participation, while opportunities are created for its groups' members.
Are there different committees and do they cover a broad range of topics that you would like to see addressed? Do current committee leaders give you the respect you deserve? Is your input taken seriously?
12. Do the Business Group Have a Youth Division?
Any black business group, whether they are a Chamber of Commerce, Business League or Business Network, should have a "Youth division," where young people can be matched up with other business mentors in the group.
They should also have a program where speakers and other business mentors go into the school system on a regular basic
. These mentors should be guiding black youths to business resources in the community, while they teach them about financial literacy, mentoring and tutoring programs.
If black business groups don't have a youth division, then volunteer to form this committee. This should be one of the most important committees in any black business group.
Copyright 2017 Cathy Harris. All Rights Reserved
What You Need To Know About Roadside Vendors Today
July 13, 2017
by Cathy Harris,
National Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert
July 13, 2017
I don't think any of us, especially if you are a baby boomer, will ever forget
roadside vendors from back in the day. These farmers had fresh, organic pickings from their gardens and fields in their trucks and other vehicles and sold these alongside of their family members and neighbors -- on the
sides of roads.
This is how they made money to feed their families.
They did not have to buy groceries because everything they ate came from their gardens and fields -- from the land. Legal and health paperwork weren't required because even local government and law enforcement officials felt like everyone else, that they could go to these roadside vendors and buy some good, organic foods for their family members.
During the month of July 2017, right before July 4, 2017, my mate and I were riding around looking at the countryside. We then decided to drive all the way up to Houston, which is two (2) hours away from Austin, basically to visit some of the
black roadside vendors on the side of the road.
Everyone in the area know that these vendors hang out on this stretch of highway so we wanted to see what they had good to eat.
For some reason up until now, we thought that these vendors had fresh, home-grown foods right out of their gardens and fields, or out of their family members or neighbors gardens and fields, but our perception on how we see these vendors have forever changed.
We bought some tomatoes, peaches and watermelons from one vendor. They had forgotten to remove a sticker off one of the peaches, so we were able to figure out right away that they had went out to some grocery store or another food vendor and bought these foods to sell at a higher price on the side of the roads.
Others had stopped by but because the prices were so high, they kept driving, however, my mate and I wanted something to snack on as we drove around the countryside, so we went ahead and paid the higher prices.
However, if we knew the foods were not
organically grown in gardens and fields, and they were just more GMO fruits and vegetables from grocery stores or some other GMO food vendor, we would have stopped by one of the 10 to 15 grocery stores that we passed along the way, and searched for a
better quality of food.
Before we found the sticker, I had washed off a peach and bit into it. As soon I bit into the peach, I felt sick to my stomach. Not only did it not have a taste, it barely had a smell to it. My mind went back to the peaches that we used to grow right in our own front yard, when I was a little girl, and how juicy it was and how I would give anything for a chance to eat like we did when I grew up.
We kept driving and passed several other black vendors on both sides of the road and wondered if they too were using these
deceitful tactics to make money -
probably so. Black people can do better! First of all they have to start by being honest with other black folks then joining in and working with them in business alliances, strategic partnerships and co-ops, for the
betterment of the community.
We have to do the right thing by each other and when we lay our heads on our pillows at night, we need to be able to sleep with a clear mind that we did not go out of our way to hurt or be deceitful to others, especially other black folks. That include telling the truth in
EVERY AREA of our lives.
I know that black folks are desperate today to make money, but as long as they remain deceitful and don't share information with each other and continue to seek out
unethical avenues to make money, they will continue on a downward spiral of deceit and dishonesty.
There are many other ways to make legitimate funds and fed, clothe and shelter our own families. These roadside vendors are the exact group of individuals that we are trying to get involved with in our new movement
"Virtual Organic Garden Clubs"
, but we need everyone to get involved and help us spread the word on our new
national food project
"Remember we are the ones we've been waiting on."
10 Steps To Start Growing
Your Own Foods
Grow Your Foods in Pots and Containers
My First Garden Journey
July 13, 2017/Update:
I feel pretty good about choosing to do a
raised bed garden and plant my first crops on June 14, 2017. As I continue to attend local gardening classes, there has been two different instructors, a woman and man, teaching the classes, who are giving out great information for our area.
It's also great having a woman and man's different prospective on growing foods. Remember men and women never really think alike. One might do something totally different from the other because "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus."
These classes are places where you can get all your gardening questions answered and as soon as I find out something, I will share it with you, my waiting audience, but it's extremely important to find out what's happening in your own zone and region and attend classes there -- so read the article -
"10 Steps To Get Started Growing Your Own Foods."
The male instructor said it's best in Austin to do a raised bed garden because many people have
, so it's best to do a 10 to 12 inch raised bed garden.
Remember to ask at garden centers or local universities, which studies agriculture, how to get someone out to check your soil to see if you can grow foods directly in your soil, especially if you are not in a position to build these raised beds, buy these raised bed gardens or buy pots and containers to grow foods -- in and outside of your home.
He even said if you can, try not to use the weed barrier paper in your raised bed garden, but instead allow the earth worms to come up through the garden, unless you have a major problem with grass coming up.
We used the
100% biodegradable paper
, which will dissolve overtime and so far we are satisfied that we haven't had a major grass issue in the garden, but it's only been 30 days.
It might have been worse, if we did not use the barrier paper so I think we will stick with the
weed barrier p
aper in the future.
In my book I talked about renting a tiller to prepare the area for raised beds, but the instructor said he uses a
long handle pick ax, with a 2 and a half pound head, so this is a great idea that I will share with my mate. Last time he used a shovel and then went out and bought a hoe, so it's important to use the right tools when preparing your land for a raised bed garden.
The biggest thing to remember when you put up a raised bed garden is have access to water and use a well-draining soil that can hold water. It is also suggested that you water your raised bed garden earlier in the day, when the sun is out versus late in the evening, so the water won't be left to stand in the garden the entire night. If that happens, then you are risking issues with fungus.
30 Day Report Back
As you can see my
first raised bed garden
It's now 30 days old
. Can you believe it? Oh my God, my baby is growing up!
Because a neighborhood dog ran across my garden last week, my mate has started putting up a fence around the garden, which you can lift up. I will show you more of how it will look once he finishes it.
My heart sunk when I saw the dog tracks in my raised bed garden. It was probably chasing a rabbit. We have fences on both sides and at the back of our backyard and there is usually nothing back there but rabbits and birds.
There is always something to do when you start gardening. It's more than just planting and watering the foods. But I am loving the experience and excitement. Even at 60, I feel like I am carrying a 6 lb baby (both my daughters weighed 6 lbs) again for 9 months. You have to do it to get the feeling...(ladies and gents)...so grow your foods today!
Since it doesn't look like any of the foods we planted on June 14, 2017 will be ready by September, when we get ready to plant our cooler weather
, and mostly the foods that I eat, it looks like we will be building
2 to 3 more raised beds
in our backyard. What a
When I mentioned to my mate that it did not look like the crops will be ready by September, he said he already
contemplated the idea of building several more raised beds. So we are certainly on the same page and again we both are enjoying our
gardening project together.
As you see above on the 30 day picture, there is room for 2 to 3 more raised beds at
the head of the raised bed garden so my mate said he will get rid of his cinder block garden and extend several more beds all the way to the
big pot of tomatoes
, which will put the food directly in the sunlight behind a shed we have out back. In September, it will still be burning hot here in Austin, so I hope
the cold weather crops do okay.
First Tomatoe Trellis
As you can see my mate made his first trellis for the tomatoes in the large pot, which is nothing but strings and sticks for now, but he will probably be doing more once they get bigger.
Unlike other foods, you can plant tomatoes 8 to 12 inches deep, but take the leaves that will be in the ground off. My instructor said that
tomatoes grows bigger and healthier in the ground, especially dwarf and patio tomatoes, versus being in pots and containers, and that cherry tomatoes will produce better in the heat. This is good to know for future crops.
Tomatoes might need row covers or
if it gets extremely hot, especially over 90 degrees, but of course you won't need these in cooler climates. He said if you use mulch on your tomatoes, you can minimize fungal diseases.
Pine straw mulch is good because it doesn't break down.
I don't really know a lot about mulch, but I hope to learn more later on in my gardening journey.
As I said in an early write-up we plan on using bird scare tape to scare away any birds and we built the fence around the garden to keep rabbits (and dogs chasing rabbits) away.
Now my mate tells me, we might have rats that comes in from the fields out back so now I have to conduct research on what to do about that.
My instructor said it might be cotton rats and stated that these rats have the ability to climb on top of chicken wire and other wire fences to get at foods.
My mate wants to build a deck out back, however, he hasn't mentioned anything lately about the
the six-legged larva of a mite of the family Trombiculidae, parasitic on humans and other vertebrates, sucking blood and causing severe itching and
acting as a vector of scrub typhus and other infectious diseases.
I think they got me once and him several times and I haven't had time to conduct much research on these creatures yet, even though the
welts that forms on the skin after a chigger bite may last for weeks.
However, I did find out that
is the month that the
in our area so it's been nice out at my garden so far, since I planted it in June in hot weather.
It's been close to 100 degrees most days here in Austin, TX. Chiggers prefer a temperature in the 70s and lower 80s and become less active when the temperature soars over 90 degrees or falls under 60 degrees.
The instructor said sulphur can control chiggers. He said put sulphur in a sock then knock it against your socks because chiggers seems to congregate around tight areas like your socks or even a waistband. He said the best thing you can do is coverup.
Someone asked do chiggers get on dogs or cats? You know how much people love their animals and the answer is yes and it will cause severe itching.
After working in the garden, you should wash these chiggers off you by washing your clothes or towels that you used to get the bugs off you with in hot water.
your bites with an over-the-counter anti-itch cream or ointment, like menthol, calamine lotion, or hydrocortisone.
Because I wore pants and a uniform for many, many years, first with the U.S. Army, and then with the U.S. Customs Service, today I love to wear dresses with sandals because it is so hot here, but my mate has warned me not to go out to the garden in this manner because of the chiggers in Austin, so I definitely need to conduct more research on those little creatures.
I am very comfortable around the house wearing dresses so sometimes to take a break from the computer when I am writing articles and books, I might get up and run out back to the garden so I have to be more careful and especially get some snake repellent.
Growing up in rural Georgia, I know all about snakes. I also know that I don't like them either.
My mate saw one a while back being chased across the backyard by birds. Good thing I was not in the area at the time because I am sure I would have had a fit.
I don't even know if I could kill a snake. Growing up in rural Georgia with 8 siblings, my brother Lewis, was the snake killer in the family. Everytime we saw a snake, we would yell his name "Leewwwwiiiissss" come quick, my siblings and I used to say. And he would grab a shovel, or hoe or gun and kill the snake.
My mate keeps all his tools looked up in the shed out back so if I see a snake, I will just run for the front or back door.
As I start to conduct research on whether to buy snake pellets or snake powder as a snake repellent, I am finding out from YouTube.com and other sites, that some of these products don't work anyway. And you know me, I am looking for something that won't be toxic to our family.
I asked the instructor in our gardening class when is snake season in Austin and he responded in warm weather, however, if your area experiences a lot of rain like last year, snakes will be forced from their beds and maybe even into your front or backyards so families need to be careful.
He said there is a product called
snake repelling granules
that might work, which contains sulphur. He also said cedar
(cedar, clove and cinnamon essential oil combination
out of your yard -- Add 30 ml of
with 5 ml of clove
, 5 ml of cinnamon
and 2 cups of water to a
bottle (increase mixture proportionately as needed)). However, do your own research and again, try to use something that's not toxic to your family.
Pests on Plants
Houston we have a problem. Three (3) weeks exactly after we built our first raised bed garden on June 14, 2017, my mate's smaller garden, that contains cantaloupes and tomatoes, had worms on the tomatoe plants, at least 2. The
worms were about a half of inch long and light green in color.
Tomato horn worms
can be a problem in many areas. These
should be removed by hand whenever you see them. Also watch out for signs of
(the rapid and extensive discoloration, wilting, and death of plant tissues), which is a real problem in many parts.
Blight is a
a plant disease, especially one caused by fungi such as mildews, rusts, and smuts.
Things you can do to keep these caterpillars away:
Handpick caterpillars from plants as you find them.
2) Dust plant foliage with Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt powder. Bt is a natural bacteria that kills caterpillars, but it does not harm most beneficial insects. Make sure you dust the underside of the plants also. And spray this in the evening and it's not viable for long periods.
Spray the foliage of plants with neem oil. Neem oil controls caterpillars and other pests, including whiteflies, leaf miners and thrips. It may also kill beneficial insects such as bees and earthworms. Again, find out what pests are found in your zone or region so you will know how to deal with them when you spot them early on in your gardening project.
Invite birds and predatory insects into your garden. Hang a bird feeder to attract birds to the area. Ducks and chickens also enjoy eating caterpillars. If you garden lacks predatory insects, such as praying mantises, you can usually purchase a box of them from a garden center.
Surround seedlings with a rigid collar, such as toilet paper roll or plastic cup, to ward off cutworms.
Lay a sheet of cardboard or
plywood on the ground near your plants. Check under the board every morning. Slugs like to hide under the board at night, making it easy to capture them.
Shield plants with sheets of polyester fabric full of pores. Row covers allow light to reach plants while keeping pests away.
8) Plant herbs and flowers around your garden to
repel caterpillars. Many insects dislike the scent of lavender, mugwort,
sage and peppermint. This is great to know because once I learn more about growing herbs, I really wanted to grow sage, which is extremely good for the human brain. It sharpens the mind.
Practice crop rotation to cut down on caterpillar infestation. For example, don't plant tomatoes in the same place two years in a row.
are hard to get control of so try to control them as babies by using soapy water spray or
ready-to-use insecticidal soap. Spray both sides of the leaves and the stems to ensure you kill all the nymphs feeding on the plants. Repeat every three or four days until you see no more nymphs.
A nymph is
an immature form of an insect that does not change greatly as it grows, e.g., a dragonfly, mayfly, or locust.
Leaffooted bugs are medium to large sized insects that feed on fruits, fruiting vegetables, nuts, and ornamentals (a plant cultivated
hey have piercing-sucking mouth parts that allow them to feed on plant parts, particularly seeds
bugs are in the family Coreidae and get their name from the small leaf-like enlargements found on the hind legs.
three common species
of leaffooted bugs that are native to California and the western United States. These
include Leptoglossus zonatus, L. clypealis, and L. occidentalis. Adults of all three species are about 0.75 to 1 inch long and have a narrow brown body. Adults of all three species are similar in appearance, except that:
- L. zonatus has two yellow spots just behind the head (on the pronotum).
- L. clypealis has a thorn-like projection called a clypeus that extends forward from the tip of the head.
- L. occidentalis has neither of these features.
There are numerous good bugs that will eat other bugs.
feed on fruits like peaches or
apples, they use their mouth to pierce the skin of the fruit. These plant-feeding
stink bugs can become serious pests in farms, orchards and gardens. A few species of stink bugs d
o not feed on plants. They are predators of
that attack plants. Most wasps will eat caterpillars.
Adding Fertilizer to Your Plants
Some people think once their garden starts producing seedlings and getting bigger, you no longer have to add any type of fertilizer to the soils to keep the foods growing faster and healthier -- but you do.
The male instructor said that potting soil and raised bed soils DO NOT HAVE FERTILIZER, so you have to add it. You have to keep up this regimen throughout the life of your garden, especially if you want to produce the best fast-growing, healthy foods.
So I will continue to use what we used initially on the garden, Smart Naturals Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer, which is organic, once a month.
Because I know that the human body need probiotics to balance out the gut and that your health actually begins in the gut, I realized I wanted to get some type of probiotic to keep my foods growing in my raised bed garden.
In the last class, the instructor talked about having some type of liquid seaweed fertilizer or probiotic for the maintenance of your garden. He said seaweed is like a
multi-vitamin for plants. Therefore, I decided to buy
Lady Bug John's Recipe Fertilizer, which is a blend of both hydrolyzed and emulsified fish, seaweed, molasses, humate and Medina Soil Activator.
You should use this every two weeks -- 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon water.
So between these two products, my raised bed garden should be set, until I have the foods on my plate.
Epsom Salt helps improve flower blooming and enhances a plant's green color and can even help plants grow bushier, the male gardening instructor said you can overdo Epsom Salt so be careful using it. I will just stick with the recommended fertilizers in the future. Again, growing foods are trial and error.
When I brought the two fertilizers home, my mate suggested that I did not need these because the garden was coming along nicely, however, I responded to him that maintenance is important and that he did not have to use these products on his garden, but I was going to use them on my raised bed garden and continue to use the fish fertilizer on my two potted citrus trees and any future foods I plant. So there will be disagreements from time to time, but you need to find your way back to agree to disagree.
Why You Need To Amend the Soil in Texas
What you need to realize is that in some areas, you need to amend, alter or modify the soil once you plant your foods, especially in raised bed gardens. Remember what I said before that t
he soil is the digestive system of the plant.
An analogy include:
- Compost is a veggie-filled salad with yogurt dressing with live and active cultures.
- Dry fertilizer is meat and potatoes.
- Liquid fertilizer is fish stew.
- Seaweed is a bourbon and water.
- Compost tea is a probiotic.
- Molasses is a probiotic booster.
- Mulch is a blanket that tucks everything in.
Texas soils, generally speaking, don't have enough
organic matter or
nitrogen. It gets baked out every summer and nitrogen gets used up and washed out by the flooding rains.
Foods Not Receiving Enough Sunlight
Veggies are the Olympians of crops, but they need full direct sunlight for up to 8 hours. Initially, when my mate put his smaller cinder block garden next to my raised bed garden, I stressed to him about the importance of my raised bed garden getting enough sunlight.
However, his tomatoe plants are growing so big that they are shadowing parts of my foods in my raised bed garden -- part of the day, so this might be problematic down the line. But for now instead of replanting the tomatoes to another area or even in a pot or container, we will provide a watchful eye.
The goal is never plant the taller crops in front of the crops that will see their shadow. My friend said because she has lots of trees and shade in her backyard, her plants are not doing very well because they are not receiving enough sunlight, so again, be careful of this.
Update on Growing Foods in Pots and Containers
After writing the article on
"How To Use Pots and Containers To Grow Foods,"
one of the food experts told me that unglazed clay pots with drainage are the best pots to use to grow foods so I am taking her advice, but will ask other experts about this also.
I was very unsatisfied with how the leaves have been looking on my two citrus trees in pots, a lemon and tangerine tree, since I first brought them home, even though I am adding the semi-monthly liquid fertilizer. So
I actually took leaves off both the trees and took it to Austin Natural Gardener so they could examine the leaves under a microscope, to tell me what was happening with them.
I put a disclaimer on the picture on the blog because again,
I don't want to put the wrong information out there.
I was told by an expert that every part of a potatoe is deadly, except the potatoe itself and to keep children and animals away from your potatoes when growing them.
Personally, I don't eat potatoes. I just used the picture from the internet for this article.
Again, everyone need to conduct their own research. I wanted the article to get everyone thinking about growing their own foods, but I am certainly not an expert when it comes to growing foods.
I am learning along with everyone else by reading books, attending local classes, watching
, and working with other food experts."
Just by looking at the leaves under a microscope, the instructor told me that I was
overwatering both of the plants. One pot I know I might have been overwatering because it did not have a drainage hole so I have since repotted the tangerine plant to another pot, an
unglazed clay pot with a
Stunted slow growth with
yellowing leaves is a symptom of
overwatering and that's exactly what was happening to these two plants. To me they were growing entirely too slow. The other sign of overwatering is
he leaves had been falling off the plants.
If you have yellowing leaves -- old leaves as well as new leaves falling off at the same accelerated rate, you are providing too much water. So she said just check my soil regularly, but make sure the soil drys completely out before watering again.
And it's worth mentioning again -- never add liquid fertilizer to your pots and containers or raised bed gardens, unless the soil is wet, because it can burn the plants.
What You Need To Know About Seeds
Before even looking at the plot of land or pots and containers to grow your foods, start collecting good, organic seeds. Supposedly, Monsanto owns over 90% of all seed companies in the U.S. They approached all these smaller seed companies and offered thousands of dollars to buy them out and most sold out to Monsanto.
So check to see if there is a
Seed Exchange Program
in your city. Also check with
local community gardens
to see if they have some type of
seed swapping program
The gardening center said only a couple of growers are allowed to put
100% Certified Organic seeds on their packets because of USDA.gov and FDA.gov, who works with Monsanto to try to stop everyone from growing good, organic foods, so look for the seed packets that states the seeds are
"100% Certified Organic" or
The goal is not to allow your seeds to dry out. Give them a deep soaking everyday with water and once they come up as seedlings, you want to back off. You can use soaker hoses, which are regular water hoses or drip irrigation. You can only use automatic sprinkler systems on
days, when you have a
in your city, but this will not stop you from using drip irrigation.
When I was collecting my seeds for my June crop, I think a couple of the seeds were not organic. I thought most of the seeds at Austin Natural Gardener were organic, but that wasn't the case.
However, the instructor said that their seeds comes from reputable seed dealers and not to worry about it, but this will be something I will pay more close attention to in the future, especially since the reasons for growing foods in the first place is to:
- Eat foods you know are safe or Non-GMOs.
- Homegrown foods taste better.
- To save money on your food bill.
- To keep down doctor's visits.
- It's better for the environment.
Growing Seasons in Your Zone or Region
Growing seasons here in Austin, TX, swing back and forth because of the rain, so it's not as stable as it is in other states. The instructor stated that the middle of the summer is not really a good growing season here, but my mate and I did not want to wait until fall or spring to start growing our foods, so hopefully everything turns out okay.
Timing is Everything
The gardening instructor stated that fall was great for growing good
"nutrient-dense" leafy green vegetables so we want to be ready with more raised beds by September 1, 2017. Ideally I would like to have a raised bed just for growing flowers in the spring or summer to sell to farmer's markets. Women especially love to buy fresh flowers to put throughout their homes and some men love giving flowers to their special ladies so this is an exceptional business idea -- hint, hint...
Sweet potatoes, okra and black eyed-peas are good summer foods in my area, but you have to play the season by ear. Start off small, but be ready to expand when the need and feeling arise. Pick expensive foods that you currently purchase and start growing them first and of course, grow the foods your like, and make sure these foods have the highest
He said most of the transplants comes into their garden center around Valentine's Day, February 14, of each year. He also said you should start seeds in January inside of your home. It's best to start growing foods with
organic seeds because a lot of transplants are planted in toxic soils so you want to avoid that.
Our Next Steps
Now that we have the garden out back by the side of the shed, my mate is always out back
doing something. He has even decided to build a deck next to the shed so we can sit out back in the late evening in the shade by the garden. What a great idea!
As you can see we have a large backyard and it doesn't make sense to go into your Golden Years cutting grass all the time (every 2 weeks in the summer) when you can just walk outside of your back door and pick your own foods from your garden, so who knows what type of plans we will come up with for our front and backyard.
We are not a part of any homeowner's association so we can basically do what we want to in our area, as long as we keep it professional though and we do want to inspire our family, friends and neighbors to do the same. I am telling you this gardening project has taken a life of it's own. What a happy, happy feeling!
Growing foods can be overwhelming for many people and comforting for others, but I am hoping these e-newsletters and blog posts really help you along on your gardening journey.
I have received so many positive comments, especially from people in my city, and other cities, women and men, so again, everything happens for a reason. We can do this and have fun doing it so let's continue on a path of education for everyone.
Please share this e-newsletter with everyone you know. Also send them to my garden club where all my articles will be posted and videos for your gardening project at
"Cathy Harris Garden Club."
Host & Moderator, Cathy Harris
"The Cathy Harris Show"
Cathy Harris, Speaker, Author, Coach
Angels Press, CEO, President, Publisher
Former U.S. Customs Whistleblower
The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women
July 13, 2017
The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women
Phase I of New Campaign/Movement
Phase II of the New Campaign/Movement
Phase III of the New Campaign/Movement
Cathy Harris Introduces "VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com"
This campaign or new movement was created on June 15, 2017 by "The Essential Women's Movement for African American Women" to flood black communities with ideas on how we can gain access to good, clean, organic foods as quick as possible. There will be three (3) phases of this campaign/movement, as we start training by videos, teleconference calls, seminars, workshops, webinars, consultations/coaching, etc. -- so go back and study each phase, in order to be ready to save your own family and community.
Different phases of our campaign:
- First phase of our campaign was to release the campaign "www.VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com" campaign/movement and new book "Overcoming Food Deserts in Your Community: How To Start A Home, School, or Community Garden, Food Co-ops or Food Coalition" - available as an e-book and paperback book. The book will give everyone who only have a general knowledge of growing foods how to get started in their own communities. Again the book will go hand-in-hand with "VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com" and we ask that those starting out growing foods for the first time to view www.CathyHarrisGardenClub.com for tips and ideas. We already launched Phase 1 - http://conta.cc/2sutlIF
- Second phase is to announce the merger of the "VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com" and black farmers (including "The New Black Farmers") along with the "Beauty and Barber Shop Initiatives" and start monthly teleconference calls (Masterminds, Think Tanks, Classrooms) starting on July 18, 2017, 7:00-8:30 p.m. (CST) (3rd Tuesdays of each month). During this phase we ask that you approach local beauty and barber shops and other storefront businesses and ask them to get involved with this initiative. You can just send them to the website at www.VirtualOrganicGardenClubs.com for more information. We launched Phase II on June 29, 2017 with a press release - http://conta.cc/2uoHqVO
- Third phase will include putting together a list of all organizations, businesses and groups that everyone need to join ASAP in order to receive training. We will start a massive 'train the trainer" program. Remember that most groups will not understand how businesses work, so therefore, there will need to be a mass educational campaign by business groups especially business coaches, consultants, mentors, tutors, etc. Our ultimate goals are to set up business incubators and black business districts in every city. In order to do this business groups will need to work with proactive and progressive legislators, investors, etc. to secure buildings in their communities for business incubators, farmer's markets, food co-ops, etc. We also need to start campaigns to VOTE OUT unresponsive legislators at the end of their terms from the ground up. This phase is hereby launched with today's e-newsletter (July 13, 2017) and press release.
Starting on Tuesday, July 18, 2017
The second round of
Masterminds, Think Tanks
are about to commence on
esday, July 18, 2017, 7:00-8:30 p.m. (CST),
which will be every 3rd Tuesday of the month so join us today.
Call (712) 770-4715,
Pin Code: 243460. New playback number is (712) 770-4772.
oin us for our conversations and discussions at the below groups and our new national food group on
Meanwhile, stop being selfish and share this e-newsletter with others. Remember when one of us win in the game of life, we all win.
Your Sister in the Struggle...
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