Sep

28

Ellie Fun Day Visits Full Circle Organic Farm

Over a high-brow NYC lunch, my past client William and I were mulling over some life prodding questions. I posed this question to him “What do you want to do with your life? What sort of legacy do you want to leave?” Apparently that got him thinking. Somehow organic farming was brewing in the back of his mind. This was of special interest to me as we continue our journey of sourcing responsibly and looking for organic goods. I’m not sure if I shared about my own dream about designing organic baby blankets, but somehow our synergies connected.

He got wind that the Santa Clara Unified School District was thinking of leasing part of it’s land. In a vote 5-1 the school board voted to allow an educational organic farm to use the land.

William began volunteering at ground level, clearing the land, digging up old concrete footings. His hope was that this would be a great opportunity for he and his daughter to bond over a meaningful cause and that they did. He is now active on the board of Full Circle Farm, heading up their sales and marketing efforts. The nonprofit is dedicated to the renewal of local, and sustainable food systems for everyone. What inspires me the most about William’s story is that he saw an opportunity and took a risk to invest. He himself was a graphic art director and was laid off during the downturn, but he saw it as an opportunity, a bit of re-birth and renewal for his own life. More recently, they’ve been inspired to work with lower-economic families and help them gain access to healthy fresh grown food through an up and coming program.

I can see how this has become a large part of who he is and how it’s inspired him to continue the full circle of how we grow, get and eat our food.

I’m always amazed to see my food in it’s natural element, unpackaged and coming from the ground. Who knew that kale looks like a mini-palm tree and that ocra had the most gorgeous pale yellow and purple flowers?

FULL CIRCLE FARM

Farm Stand Hours
Wed & Fri: 1:30-7 and Sun: 11-3

Volunteer Hours
Weds & Sat 10am-dark
All ages in Education Garden
Enter at WEST farm gate

Sundays for 16 years+
on the Production Farm from 9-2

Open for Visitors
Monday- Friday 9-5
Saturday 10-dusk WEST GATE ONLY
Sunday 9-3

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Jan

11

Behind the Scenes of the Ellie Fun Day Photoshoot

I always thought that it was fun to see what goes on behind the scenes of a photoshoot. To be honest with you, I’ve been on many photoshoots that I’ve art directed and many times they’re pretty calculated and staged with lots of lights and makeup.

For Ellie Fun Day due to time and resources we had to be more creative with what we had. First off, booking a studio would cost us hundreds of dollars and lots of other not so fun paper work. After some discussion with my in-resident photographer Calvina, we thought that my loft would be the best place since we had tons of natural light and the right flooring.

After some “minor” furniture rearranging we managed to get our set-up where we had a nice clean wall and floor for our main shoot. (notice how Nate, our videographer, used my stool and clothespins to hold up the blankets!)

For the bedroom shoot I cleaned out my guest room and kept the palette nice and clean with bright whites and a fluffy bed. This is where you see our teaser with the adorable Isaiah.

Wardrobing kids is always fun. I wanted to keep the feel simple and make sure that the kids and the blankets stood out so I kept them in whites and neutrals. Surprisingly it’s extremely hard to find just simple white tees and bottoms for them.

To keep the kids happy and entertained we had a good sampling of organic pops, Goldfish and juice boxes to keep them happy. Note to self for future shoots, bring out goodies AFTER the shoot to keep them clean. :)

One of the biggest challenges with shooting kids is that you can’t direct them as much as adults so you’re looking to create spontaneous and fun moments for them. It’s really the job of the photographer to capture them at just the right moment and Calvina did a fabulous job.

The two sisters, Audrey (older) and Emily (younger) are daughters of my dear friend Corrine (we go all the way back to 6th grade). They’re hapa-babies as we call them, half Irish and half Chinese. They are both as rambunctious as the photos show and Emily had the total gigglies the entire time. I was scared at first that they would be camera shy, but it was quite the opposite. When we took a break to shoot Isaiah in the bedroom, Emily started to cry because she couldn’t be a part of that shoot!

I can’t wait to do the next Ellie Fun Day shoot, we have some interesting ideas brewing… love to hear some of your thoughts on what you’d like to see next as well!

 

 

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Nov

30

POSSIBILITIES PROJECT // DAY 8 // Trivandrum : Fresh Air

Trivandrum is like a breath of fresh air. The swaying palm trees and the sprawling beaches reminded me a bit of my own childhood in Hawaii. Keren and Promoth, our partners with Women in Rural Development picked us up at the airport. Their bubbly two year old daughter gave us a big hug!

Our journey continues here as we begin dialoging with Keren and her father Moses Swamidas about developing the sewing center. Their stories are unique. They are Dalits. Dalit means broken or suppressed. The Hindu caste system is made up of four main castes or classes. Dalits are considered so low that they are not even in the caste system. They’re social and spiritual outcasts (and thus “untouchable”). And because of this they’ve suffered alarming discrimination and have not been given equal access to gainful employment and a proper education.

Moses and his family lead an organization that seeks holistic renewal among the Dalits: social, physical and spiritual. They are revolutionaries fighting an uphill battle, advocating for the rights of their own people. Many choose not to hear their pleas, but they continue to fight and have done so for almost 30 years.

Keren has shared with us her own personal journey as a Dalit woman. Dalits are the lowest; but to be a Dalit woman is the lowest of the low. In school she would often avoid telling her classmates that she was a Dalit fearing they wouldn’t befriend her. Many Dalits are also darker skinned and the Indian culture tends to prefer fair skinned people. When it comes to the Indian tradition of arranged marriages, many families shy away from darker skinned people, labeling them undesirable and even calling them ugly.

My hope is that through our work, we would begin changing these perceptions. Providing dignified work and a fair wage will stabilize families writhing in poverty and provide resources for their children to get a proper education. Education then opens doors for the next generation to compete for better jobs and a better living.

 

Education and relief from poverty also closes the door to opportunities for labor and sex trafficking. Families will no longer need to sell their daughters to feed their families. And boys and girls will be able to explore their inborn gifts and talents and understand their inherent value as beautiful children of God. Our hope is that they will NO longer be called undesirable, ugly or untouchable. We’ve seen courageous people in Kolkata redeeming the lives of those who’ve been in the sex-trade. Our plan is to work at the source and stop it from the beginning.

 

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