Small gestures, BIG changes

A simple, little Buddha statue seems to be spreading a big message of peace in an Oakland, California, neighborhood.


Photo by Hartwig HKD via Flickr

One resident, who’s not a Buddhist or even affiliated with any other religion, placed a small, stone Buddha at an Ace Hardware store in an Oakland residential area that was plagued by crime, drug-dealing, prostitution, and littering. He was merely hoping that the calm, benevolent presence of the statue would somehow bring a glimmer of peace to the neighborhood. Before long, offerings of flowers, food, and candles appeared at the site. Then, Vietnamese women from the neighborhood began to meet there for morning prayers. “And the neighborhood changed. People stopped dumping garbage. They stopped vandalizing walls with graffiti. And the drug dealers stopped using that area to deal. The prostitutes went away,” says the San Francisco Chronicle. Police crime statistics for the area actually show an 82 percent drop in crime since the women began their morning prayers.

Whether you call it the power of prayer, the power of positive thinking, or the power of peace, this one little statue and this one little gesture has made a big difference in one little neighborhood.

Read the whole story here.



Today Is International Day of Peace

Yesterday morning I enjoyed a leisurely morning with three of my grandgirls in the heart of our town in what is called Friendship Square—overflowing on Saturdays with the hustle and bustle of our Farmers’ Market.


There’s a water fountain in the middle where people make wishes and toss pennies. My daughter handed a penny to each of the girls but when she handed one to me, I was caught off guard. As I tried to think of a meaningful wish, I said, “You know, I think all my wishes have come true.” That’s when I remembered about my post earlier this week, so I wished for more peace in the world and tossed my penny into the water.


MaryJanesFarm teams up with Team Rubicon

When we received an e-mail and photo from Kirk Jackson of Team Rubicon, a veteran-focused disaster relief organization, we were humbled and pleased that our just-add-water organic meals found their way to the Philippines after the devastating typhoon in 2013. (Read that original post here.)


We also knew we wanted to help this great organization carry on their inspiring and important work.

So we teamed up with the Team: For every 3-lb mylar package of emergency food you buy from us (15 to 25 servings, depending on entrée), we donate two single-serve pouches of food to Team Rubicon to help feed them when they travel to help those in need. Each box of emergency food contains one 3-lb bulk oxygen-free mylar bag of our just-add-water organic meals for emergency preparedness long-term storage. Shelf life: 15+ years.

If you haven’t tried our delicious packaged food yet, take a look and team up with the Team, too. It’s a win-win!

From Battlefields to Farmfields

Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face a difficult transition to civilian life. They need a place to de-escalate from the impact of combat. They’re service-driven people who need a new mission.

At the same time, half of American farmers have reached retirement age, and the USDA is calling for one million new farmers and ranchers in the next 10 years to fill the gap.

Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields is a documentary film and social action campaign that champions the growing network of combat veterans who are transitioning into careers as sustainable farmers, ranchers, and artisan food producers. The film follows an ensemble of young men and women who tell us why they joined the military; how the war changed them; how they’ve struggled to return home; and ultimately, how they found organic farming and ranching to be the answer to a dream. In a world full of problems, Ground Operations is a story about solutions.

“Teach these guys how to farm, and they can have sustainable lives with sustainable agriculture,” says Adam Burke, who started the Veterans Farm in Jacksonville, Florida, growing organic blueberries.

You can support Ground Operations by sharing the 2-minute video below or by buying the 40-minute film on DVD for $20. You’ll be rooting for returning veterans all the way to your local farmers’ market.

… And find out how we’re doing our part to support returning veterans in my post that’s coming up on Saturday.

Testimonial: “Awesome video! As the wife of a 3rd generation farmer, I applaud veterans’ choices to enter into farming. The USA needs farmers!!!” – Gina





International Day of Peace, Sept. 21

Next Sunday, September 21, is the International Day of Peace (Peace Day). In 1981, the United Nations General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Twenty years later, in 2001, the General Assembly declared that the day would be an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. According to the official website, “Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, or doing a good deed for someone you don’t know. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. You can also share thoughts, messages, and pictures to commemorate Peace Day on social media.”


“Hand of Peace” sculpture by Rose Garrard. Photo by Kudpung via Wikimedia Commons

Search the website’s extensive database of peace-related events to find out what’s happening in your area. You’ll be joining with millions of people around the world to promote peace with activities, events, concerts, and festivals. This year’s theme is “Rights of Peoples to Peace.”

Here are some ideas on how YOU can participate from

  • Share a selfie on social media using the #PeaceDay hashtag.
  • Help us Make #PeaceDay Trend on September 21 by tweeting, posting and sharing your thoughts, pictures and message of peace throughout the day.
  • Sign the “I am a Pathway to Peace” Pledge to show your commitment to peace.
  • Join people across the world in a Minute of Silence, Moment of Peace at noon in every time zone.
  • Consider gathering for a Global Feast for Peace, including foods from different cultures, or interfaith dialogue, or just gather to break bread.
  • Have a discussion or create an art activity around what this year’s theme, “Right of Peoples to Peace” means to your group.
  • Organize a Global March for Peace and Unity.
  • Involve your Faith/Spiritual Community in Peace Day.
  • Tell your favorite Radio Stations about Peace Day.
  • Participate in a Global Meditation on September 21 for the International Day of Peace at 19:00 UTC/ GMT worldwide.
  • Give Peace Breathing a try, and share it with others.
  • Open or close your gatherings with the simple universal statement of peace, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Or display the message of peace, “May Peace Prevail on Earth”, with your own Peace Pole.
  • Bring music and inspiration into the lives of children around the world. Join in on the 4th Annual Playing for Change Day on September 20.
  • Participate in PeaceCast, a free, not-for-profit webcast streaming video online that will run continuously for 48 hours spanning all global time zones, starting from Peace Day’s first minute on September 21, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand until its last in Honolulu Hawaii.
  • If futbol/football/soccer is a part of your life and you are passionate about inspiring peace within your community, get involved with One Day One Goal.
  • If you are a dancer, a dance teacher, or simply someone who loves to dance, then One Day One Dance is the perfect way to express your passion for peace.
  • If you love singing and belong to a choir, run one, or want to create one just for the day, then One Day One Choir is a perfect way to get together and sing for peace.