It all happened unexpectedly. I was hanging out on a bench in the community garden that I managed at the time. We had just finished an early morning honey bee hive inspection and I stayed behind to listen to the birds and enjoy the cool spring breeze. I started singing “beez beez honey honey beez beez, they’ll sting me, if I get too close, try to put my nose in their beesness”. It made me laugh out loud! And in that moment I realized that songs like that would help kids learn about gardening and ease their fears about things like bees, snakes and worms.
Prior to that I helped develop and teach a program that introduced gardening to 6-12 year old kids. Nearly all of the kids who participated had no gardening experience and most of them were entirely freaked out about being in the garden. They would walk through the garden with their arms stuck to their sides avoiding contact with anything green. They would scream and run if anything moved. They had never tasted fresh strawberries (only strawberry flavoured “foods”), had never seen food on the vine or plant, and believed that anything moving in the garden (bees, worms, ladybugs, snakes, etc.) should be immediately destroyed.
But they were learning things each week, like how to eat little flowers that grew in the grass, how to eat sugar snap peas off the vine and they learned about honey bees. They learned about worms and soil and planted seeds that became fruiting plants. After a few weeks they were dragging mom into the garden to show her how they could find and pick up worms (gasp!). They showed off their harvesting techniques and the plants they grew. I saw these kids transform before my eyes! It was amazing to see their confidence grow and to watch their whole relationship to nature change. Those kids will forever be kind to the planet because they “get it”.
So when I started singing “beez beeeeez” I thought “whoa, I could write a bunch of these and it would be a fun way for kids to learn. And music is a great learning aid”! That’s how it started.
- You are never alone in the garden.
- I think all gardeners have a kinship in gardening. We share techniques, resources and our harvests. If you’re a gardener, you are my friend.
- It’s the title song on the first CD and a lesson in companion planting. Even plants in the garden have friends!
I can grow all year since I live in Atlanta, GA where winters are mild. It’s July right now and I’m growing: heirloom tomatoes, cayenne peppers, shishito peppers, two types of zucchini, butternut squash, ground cherries, gerkins, spacemaster cukes, and straight eight cukes, Swiss chard, Fordhook chard, plus a slew of herbs- oregano, dill, chives, Genovese basil, holy basil/tulsi, thyme, and two kinds of parsley.
And, a lot of flowers. I LOVE flowers! I installed a round pollinator bed and all summer it’s alive with bees, moths, butterflies and hummingbirds. I post lots of pics of my Yarden on the Friends in the Garden Facebook page, which I invite you to Like, Follow and enjoy.
To help young people be HEALTHIER & HAPPIER
Scientific studies show that when children spend time in nature, they have lower rates of depression and anxiety, and gain other quality of life benefits. “Nature” doesn’t have to mean a trip to a national park, it can be the nature in your front or back yard, or community garden or local park.
To inspire people to be HEALTHY and JOYOUS.
I’m an instigator of joy and health and kindness. My songs and videos are meant to be nuggets of happiness. I want my music to inspire actions like composting and healthy eating. Those are things that do good and feel good!
To BE A GOOD STEWARD OF THE EARTH.
I do what I do because I want everyone to love the Earth. I want everyone to experience the joy of nature and of being tuned in to life that is happening all around us. When someone tunes in to that, they naturally become a better steward of the planet.
To inspire JUSTICE.
Healthy food is a human right. Learning to grow your own food is a powerful way to sidestep a system that is inherently unjust. And, even if your zip code is not in a food desert, you haven’t escaped the under-nutritive and sometimes toxic produce for sale in your grocery store. For instance, cancer-causing glyphosate is found in some organically grown foods. Did you know that? But you can grow your own pesticide-free, non-toxic food and take back your power to control your food and your health.
Although there is a lot more work to be done, there are lots of thriving community gardens, home gardens and farmers markets in areas otherwise challenged to access healthy produce. That is justice in action. Grow your own! And all the while, urge policy makers to pass legislation that paves the way for a sustainable and just food system.
I tent camped for 6 months all over the US. I had just graduated Georgia State University with a B.A. in Sociology and had a good job offer with the Department of Corrections working in the Substance Abuse unit. I had interned there and wanted to work in corrections and substance abuse but…I had an opportunity to tent camp across the US. I turned down the job and hit the road. It was so worth it!!!
Don’t tell anybody, but I was in Cuba for two weeks studying drum set and percussion. I applied for but wasn’t granted permission, so I went illegally. That two weeks was a mind and ear blowing experience.
Just me and a backpack, $300, and no agenda for 12 days in Costa Rica. It was amazing!
What I do with Friends in the Garden is the PERFECT blend of my passions – music and health promotion. Inspiring people to live healthier lives has been my thing since I was about ten years old.
I have a Master’s Degree in Public Health (specializing in Social and Behavioral Science) and hold a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) designation.
I was director of the Healthy Belvedere Initiative, then executive director of Partners in Action for Healthy Living, Inc., a 501c3 health promotion non-profit. I’ve also taught environmental science to 4th/5th grade students in a local charter school where most of the lessons were garden-based. And as mentioned above, I coached garden leaders and helped develop workshop curriculum to train garden leaders and novice gardeners as part of a Food Well Alliance project team.
It’s FUN! You can expect to sing, dance and learn garden stuff. For instance, for the song Beez Beez, I talk about how honey bees have GPS and I demonstrate the bee waggle and invite everyone to do the bee waggle and sing “Beez Beeeez”. There’s call and response parts in some songs, dances for others and some have both. The whole things works best when parents learn and have fun, too!
Some recent performances include the Red, White & Blooms 4th of July event at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the Farm to School Summit hosted by Georgia Organics, Decatur Farmer’s Market, the Soil Festival hosted by Food Well Alliance, the Recycling Day Festival hosted by the Wylde Center and house concerts.
I did a livestream show for Earth Day 2020 to benefit the Farmer Fund. Georgia Organics organized the fund with a coalition of local urban agriculture/food justice non-profit organizations to address the need for emergency relief during the pandemic. Georgia-based sustainable and organic farmers suffering significant economic loss due to COVID-19 can apply for grants through the fund.
I have committed 5% of profits from this site go to the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm. Their mission is to reduce barriers to healthy living in urban communities by encouraging, promoting and supporting health education and sustainable high-quality low-cost agricultural production through gardening and farm training.
During the COVID-19 pandemic 75% of their time is dedicated to an emergency food relief program where they provide food to over 2,000 families a month. MAUF is also training students to get involved in the STEM Research Program.
Yes! I’d love to come to your house and give a Friends in the Garden concert and if you’d like, even do a garden project with the kids. Complete and submit the BOOKING form and we can work out the best event to fit your wants and budget. All shows during the COVID-19 pandemic must be outdoors and properly physically distanced at all times.
I’d love to! I need an electrical outlet and kids/adults who are ready to learn and have some fun. We can also put together an easy project that relates to one of my songs – composting, building a worm farm, planting seeds, harvesting, or releasing ladybugs, for instance. Complete and submit the BOOKING form and we can work out the best event to fit your wants and budget. All shows during the COVID-19 pandemic must be outdoors and properly physically distanced at all times.