Looks like Whole Foods in OKC is getting in line to honor the non-profit Closer to Earth youth project is an exceptionally creative response to a number of issues that involve sustainability. Whole Foods OKC is making it easier for you to join too.
Closer to Earth http://closertoearth.org/ has many links to consider. Focusing on full use of youth, volunteers of all ages and the Earth, Closer to Earth is part of Central Park Community Gardens, which have won awards locally and nationally for innovations processes in teaching, conservation, beautification and production ( individual productivity in people, and production of food and goods.)
The chances of you having seen Allen Parleir are pretty good, once you see a picture of him, he is pretty identifiable in any given crowd. Parleir has the best job. For years, Allen has supported and creatively responded to Central Park, by buying and developing abandoned lots into greenspaces. This neighborhood, just North and slightly West of Paseo Arts District, is peppered now with efforts under his direction, and joined hands, hearts and dollars of many.
The mix of a sort of pseudo diversion program and the crafting of public spaces and private community gardens for the area are all relevant. The primary feeder schools to this program are http://www.hardingcharterprep.org/ and http://hardingfinearts.org/ which are housed in the building together, about 1 block from Central Park Community Garden main campus on Shartel Avenue in NW Oklahoma City.
Parlier has prior advanced experience with teaching horticulture skills (for a diversity skill and lifestyle set, think Mother Earth News) and in employing that in a satisfying education process that converts non-gardeners and some kids who are or might be at risk by offering structured learning volunteer opportunities that they have made investments in... and for some which has converted in to working on a professional certification in horticulture.
Parlier's example on an extreme, is kids who maybe are getting detention or other related community service, can be given hours in this gardening process, which invites them to be hooked in to be a community, plan, learn skill sets in series and see definitive results every time, seasonally from efforts.
At a recent event, Parleir and his lovely and talented wife (They are iconic in OKC much like WayneandMichelleCoyne have been) excitedly shared with this writer that their group Closer to Earth , had a successful urban farm, CommonWealth Urban Farm.
Here's Allen's exact letter received this morning as a Whole Foods OKC donation option invitation via email.
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Our Central Park Neighborhood Youth Group called Closer to Earth Youth Gardens will receive 5% of all sales at the OKC Whole Foods Market this Wednesday, April 2nd !
This is our neighborhood non-profit youth group supporting at-risk youth to help themselves and their community to make healthier choices and become environmental advocates! YOU can help our youth and yourself by shopping at Whole Foods onWednesday, April 2nd. We will have a table there so you can meet some of our youth.
The CPNA started this Closer to Earth youth group in 2007 in partnership with Harding Fine Arts Academy. Youth enter CTE doing school or court required community service and when finished can apply to be a paid garden trainee to work with other youth. These are the youth taking care of the Shartel Medians from 30th to 33rd and ten organic greenspaces (former vacant lots) in Central Park.
Closer to Earth has been coordinating the composting of the food waste from the OKC Whole Foods store since they opened in October of 2011. This large scale composting supports our greenspaces in Central Park and our new urban farm called CommonWealth Urban Farms.
If you want to know more.... see Closertoearth.org or come by Whole Foods this Wednesday !
You can begin Earth Month by buying some Whole Foods and helping our neighborhood youth!
Allen Parleir, Coordinator
Closer to Earth Youth Gardens
Allen is more than happy to provide tours and explanations of their service continuum and volunteer opportunities. The group has many opportunities, and many admirers.
Here's a YouTube spot from a local fraternity and their initial learning excursion. <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zoSaCGj8mho" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>