Dear friends, family and supporters,
Today is the premier of my Brooklyn Seeds short videos on native plants! I've combined my background in television with my knowledge and love for native plants and animals to make these short, approximately 3-minute videos. I'm hoping these videos help educate parents, school children, teachers and the general public about plants we see almost every day- plants we consider weeds. It turns out many of these weeds are actually native plants that have been here for millions of years, and when we remove these weeds, we also remove the animals that depend on them. These videos are for back-yard gardeners, teachers who want to study local plants and animals, and for folks who write our school curricula so we can start including native plants in schools - not just for the survival of plants and animals but for the survival of humanity. Yes, that's a big statement. But there is growing evidence that as our local plants and animals go extinct, our own survival is at stake as we lose essential local pollinators and animals in the food chain that lead directly to US.
We teach kids at some amazing schools and parks all over Brooklyn about native plants, but it's the adults who make decisions on what to plant, what to study, what to remove, and what to focus on. And kids follow our lead. At Brooklyn Seeds, we undo what we've been taught for generations- to ONLY grow plants we like and want. I am guilty of having done this for years- growing what's pretty and what's on sale, NOT what's native. This directly leads to the decline and extinction of local flora and fauna. Instead, at Brooklyn Seeds we teach kids to grow plants which are essential for the survival of our native animals, and not just animals in Antarctica, but animals here in our neighborhoods. We still grow delicious food, but it's a healthy balance of native plants and edible plants.
Almost every week I get emails from teachers and parents saying both the kids and adults learned something new about native plants and animals from Brooklyn Seeds. Now let's spread the word and share the knowledge! It's time for us to take serious action on biodiversity- in our home gardens, in our schools, in city tree beds and in our parks. And for those who think that one person or one neighborhood or one school cannot make much of a difference, think about this number: Studies show that if 70% of what we plant is native, we allow native animals to survive and thrive. But if the majority of what we grow in our gardens is food for us as well as non-native plants, we are actively contributing to the extinction crisis because our native animals (native bees, ladybugs, birds, etc...) do not recognize and cannot use most non-native plants.
Every day Brooklyn Seeds teaches students about native plants and the animals that depend on them. We usually study one plant and animal at a time to allow kids to identify and learn the benefits of the flora and fauna that have been here for millions of years. And then the fun part: we teach them to eat the edible invasive plants! And we've taught thousands of students in the past decade! But these kids are not decision-makers yet! So please sit down once a week (with or without your child) and watch one of our videos. Every video focuses on ONE plant that we may see in a sidewalk crack, growing next to our vegetables, or growing in the park or a tree bed. We hope you never see these plants the same way again.
As Brooklyn Seeds moves to become a non-profit, it's essential that we first pay off our debt, so there's also a link to our GoFundMe campaign. Please watch and share the videos. If you learned something new, or found it helpful, please share. Every video we release also has a link to another great non-profit that teaches about or promotes the use of native plants and animals. If you have time, please write a comment on our YouTube channel. And yes, kids can watch these! They are simple enough for kids to follow, and can be linked to a particular curriculum on insects, plants or environmental justice for kids. It's also quite empowering for kids to be able to make decisions about what to grow, and know that it has a direct impact on the animals in their neighborhood and school garden.
Please watch these short informative videos so we can all become part of the solution. Do the right thing. Grow native plants.