Garden's for a Future

Community Investment: Encouraging Our Dreams
June 1, 2011, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s been a while. I finally have found a group to garden together and establish gardens as a team.

We have myself, the college student who is about to graduate, Tracy Bentley, a home school dad who loves to garden now from the influence of his wife, Hai Chin Bentley, a school teacher at John’s Elementary, and Tim Peters, a geneticist who has bred his own vegetable varieties for the bulk of his life.

Over the past few months we’ve installed over 2000 sq ft of gardens and we’re now looking at installing a garden on a half acre site with plenty of land available to us. Slowly, we are communicating and fulfilling the dreams we all have set out for ourselves through working as a unit and a community.

Tim wants to continue his seed selections and is going to be able to do so this year and years to follow. Tracy and Hai Chin want to learn how to garden and have the available space to feed their family. As for myself, I want to establish permanent food landscapes for people to witness how we can partner with Nature.

This conquest towards our passions has not been without problems. Tim works on a crisis mode basis, while Tracy is very hardworking and organized. I’m in the background passively taking in information and the surroundings. This has taught us to begin talking about our qualms with each other and the work we are pursuing. To further the best traits within ourselves and becoming knowledgeable about our shortcomings in a civil manner.

I can’t thoroughly communicate how much I’ve learned through each of these individuals. In time, there will be ways for this to become more accessible to the people around us. By doing so, perhaps we can help each other to fulfill our passions and share the things we love in life.

It hasn’t quite happened yet, but the dreams envisioned by each of us is beginning to mold and form into a communal dream. One that we have all shared to begin with. In the end, I can’t wait to see the Food Forest Garden with Genetically bred heirloom varieties that feeds us all plus all the other miscellaneous ventures that other people want to pursue; animal husbandry, vermiculture, and so forth.

All of Life’s Necessities come from a Garden including your passions and dreams.


New Insights on the Process and Patterns of STUFF: Loops and Spirals
April 6, 2011, 8:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I wanted to put the World instead of STUFF, but it sounded too cliche. Moving on, I’ve started a new sleep cycle and I’m breaking the pattern of sleeping 8 hours a day and doing stuff for 16. Instead, it’s sleep for 30-40 minutes and then active for 4 hours. For now, I just need something to do to keep my mind occupied.

Here’s an idea I’ve been working on. It’s nothing new, but the insight is worth thinking about in my opinion.

Most if not every pattern in nature works in loops and spirals. The change of the seasons loops with every year and we see the same changes occurring. At the same time, the change of the stars and planets occurs in much of the same way as with many other things in the universe.

Whenever people get chronic illnesses, they are stuck in a pattern that continually loops back to a state of illness. Cancer can be caused by the replication of DNA that is damaged which begins a loop of self-destruction. Computer viruses continually cycle the same code to cause the failure of computational devices.

So loops or circles are common in many occurrence in life. The same is true for the way we think, talk, and act. We find loops to stay within the same mind frame which in itself can become cancerous. Being open to new ideas and thoughts is necessary to challenge the paradigm of the old. Escaping out of these loops is fundamental in ushering a new era on the world as we know it.

It is the very core of sustainability in practice. It is a never ending process to evolve the ideas and actions of ourselves.

Reflecting on this idea, to get out of a loop we create a spiral. Its force concentrates energy to break out of a pattern and begin a new one. Going back to the idea of illness, we spiral out of our wellness state and into the loop of disease. Whenever we break out of the pattern of destruction, we spiral into the loop of creation.

Hand in hand, these two forms go together to form the pattern and fabric of who we are and what we will be. If people can fathom this simple idea, we can begin the process of healing once we acknowledge the current pattern of destruction.

Keep in mind this idea is not contained within the shapes or forms of just loops and spirals. Other shapes and models can be applied as well. Use what works best for you.

In reality, the very essence of this concept is yin and yang. Two forces spiraling within a loop to create a rhythym, balance, symmetry, and harmony.

Canoing and Cleaning the Brazos
April 3, 2011, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Life Outside

It was a wonderful Saturday morning floating down the calm shallow waters on the Brazos. The locals told us about the lack of rain, and at certain parts the canoes got stuck in shallow areas forcing us to push ahead in our cleaning endeavors.

The cleanup took me by surprise. The first sand bar  was less than a hundred feet from the starting point and it filled up several trash bags. On a little five mile stretch, the first few crews that finished their journey dropped off over a hundred tires and a trailer full of trash with plenty more to pick up. All the canoes were fully loaded and had to pass up the opportunity to pick up more trash so that their boats would not tip over.

Although the sight of the trash was disheartening, the cleanup efforts give hope and shed light on how we can come together to save our rivers. Local canoe businesses gave out free rentals, another business opened up their RV park for volunteers to park at, a scrumptious BBQ joint fed everybody with piping hot brisket, hot dogs, iced tea, and cold beer. The locals understood the precious value of the river.

In the end, it comes down to one simple understanding; water feeds life.

President Spaniolo’s Response on the Green Fund
March 15, 2011, 5:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, I’ll give you my initial e-mail to him, and his response to me.

Let me Know what you Think.

My Email
From: Chowgene Koay []
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 8:34 PM
To: Spaniolo, James
Subject: Green Fund Initiative at UT Arlington

Dear President  Spaniolo,

My name is Chowgene Jeremy Koay. I am a current student at UT Arlington within the Interdisciplinary Studies program, am an active member within the community volunteering with various nonprofits including but not limited to the Arlington Conservation Council and Tarrant Area Food Bank, actively participate in campus activities such as the bicycle workshop program, lead the Environmental Society at UTA, and conduct various independent experiments and projects in the realm of agriculture in Dallas-Fort Worth.

This e-mail is to inform you of a great opportunity for current and future UT Arlington students with a Green Fund Initiative and to obtain your approval of it.

A Green Fund would increase tuition for students per semester in the range of one penny to five dollars. This allocated fee will pool the additional fee for student-led projects in sustainability. To receive funds students, faculty, or staff can submit proposals for project initiatives much like a grant. These proposals would then filter through an elected student body, organization, or campus department to allocate funds for various projects and initiatives.

The downside is that this does increase tuition. On the other hand, the advantages must be taken into consideration as well. With such a fund, students can take an active role in applying their knowledge and education within their community which will reflect on the standard of education and life given to us at UT Arlington. At the same time, it enhances students abilities to take leadership roles, develop new relations in a working environment, and enables new opportunities and resources for students that never were available before.

In your Tuition speech in 2004, you stated tuition increases “doesn’t mean students are paying more”  and that “an education is an investment that will pay handsomely for a lifetime.”  I hope you see the Green Fund as a way for students to apply their education at UT Arlington and to use those experiences to invest and create a way of life for themselves.

Please let me know where you stand,

Chowgene Koay
Environmental Society”

His E-Mail

“From: Spaniolo, James
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 3:48 PM
To: Koay, Chowgene
Subject: Re: Green Fund Initiative at UT Arlington

“Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000149 EndHTML:0000005751 StartFragment:0000000199 EndFragment:0000005717 StartSelection:0000000199 EndSelection:0000005717

Dear Chowgene,

Thank you for your recent email. Your record of service to UT Arlington and to the community is impressive.  Thank you for being such an outstanding representative of our great university.

Regarding the potential “green fee,” it’s an interesting idea with plenty of merit and some degree of student support, albeit the overall turnout in the election was quite low.  But whatever merit it may have, this simply isn’t the right time to add an additional fee to our students’ tuition cost.

Even without the “green fee,” though, we’ve accomplished a great deal on campus in the spirit of sustainability—much of which you’ve been a part, along with Meghna Tare, Becky Valentich, and many others.  I’m proud of our record of sustainability.

The latest example is our extraordinary community garden, which opened the same day as our new Engineering Research Building that we expect will obtain LEED Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Commission.  (We’re hopeful that the College Park Center, currently under construction on the east side of campus, will also attain LEED Gold.)

Add to that initiatives like our a robust composting and recycling programs, innovative utility contract, tray-less dining in the cafeteria, and so many more, and we’re accomplishing a great deal at UT Arlington in terms of sustainability.  Even without a “green fee” in place.

Thank you for doing your part—and more.


James D. Spaniolo

James D. Spaniolo, President
817-272-2101 •


Observations on Building Community
March 10, 2011, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted.

This is the idea at the moment. We’ve been helping people install gardens in various places and mustering a force to do this everywhere. The issue with this is that it’s hard for people outside to get involved because we’re meandering to other locations they may not be aware about.

It’s great that we are coming together to put in gardens and plots to be maintained in various locations. This could help whenever people take ownership of these gardens and systemically hold potlucks, events, and social interactions to build community.

The other idea is that we focus in one central area and garden there continually to build community there. The advantage in my eyes is the consistency factor. We can congregate at one place, at the same day and time to continually bring more people together. Over time, the surrounding folks should become involved so they can take ownership of the area so the gardening posse can move onto a new location.

Right now, I’m torn between what to do, but I feel like we can try all of the above. If we set one day to do one garden, and another day to do another, the accessibility is easier for people to find a place to go to on a frequent basis at various locations to learn, get involved, meet your neighbors, and have life’s necessities.

The Tao: Emptiness
February 12, 2011, 4:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Forgot how much I enjoy the Tao Te Ching. I just wish I could read the original writing.

“Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;
It is on the hole in the center that the use of the cart hinges.

We make a vessel from a lump of clay;
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.

We make doors and windows for a room;
But it is these empty spaces that make the room livable.

Thus, while the tangible has advantages,
It is the intangible that makes it useful.”

Tzu, Lao. Translated by John C Wu

What More Could You Possibly Want?
February 3, 2011, 1:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I had this dream a few years back and it’s the only full dream I can fully recall.

This week it seems to be a reoccurring theme amongst friends so I might as well share this with everybody.

The setting is inside a futuristic building and there’s a machine with a button on it. The machine greets everybody that passes it and says, “If you press the button, you can receive anything you could possibly want.”

Intrigued, my friends and I begin to push the button. With each push the machine says, “You already have everything you need. What more could you possibly want? (push) You already have everything you need. What more could you possibly want?” Nothing comes out of the machine. Regardless, we continue to push the button until the end of our lives.

The end.
The truths in this dream are many to me.
You can draw whatever conclusions you want.