A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Local Pioneer of Self-Reliance Practices What She Teaches – and Teaches What She Practices

Recently, Prudence Boczarski was at the Highland Park Farmers’ Market, showcasing her natural bakery business and representing WTI, the local nonprofit founded in 1971 to teach urban dwellers how to live better with less. And since there is no better way to teach than to give a hands-on demonstration, Ms. Boczarski was also using her […]

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Lani Says: Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime 

For 103 incoming juniors at Eagle Rock High School, myself included, the first day of school on Aug. 14 will be the start of a rigorous, two-year academic journey known as the “International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme,” or IBDP. Begun in 1968 in Switzerland, IBDP stresses intercultural understanding, inquiry and analysis through immersion in English language […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: Soil from Coffee Grounds, Water from the Air Conditioner

I recently noticed a new flower bed behind Antigua Bread, the coffeehouse/bakery at 5703 N. Figueroa St. Where there once had been weeds and trash was a beautiful wood-framed garden bed, approximately 6-by-6 feet, with colorful flowers, some vegetables – and a five-gallon plastic bucket strapped to a tall wooden pole and connected by a […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: The Art and Craft of Sharpening a Knife

I met Julio Toruno recently at the Old L.A. (Highland Park) Farmers Market, where he works on Tuesdays from the back of his truck, sharpening knives on a whetstone.  Just by watching him, I could tell he epitomizes “old school” craftsmanship.  I approached him as he was sharpening a large kitchen knife and I could […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness:Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms

Matt Heidrich of Highland Park loves oyster mushrooms – so much, in fact, that he has mastered the intricate art and science of home cultivation. I visited him recently and learned a lot. Oyster mushrooms grow on the sides of old and dying trees; in the Arroyo Seco, they commonly grow on willows and cottonwoods. […]

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Ask Lionel: What Growing Older Has Taught Me About Being Young 

  I recently told my physical therapist that until he brings it up, I often forget I have arthritis. The dreaded autoimmune disorder has very slowly taken residence in various parts of my body, occupying it as though it had squatter’s rights, but on days when I’m pain free, I feel like I did 30 […]

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Ask Lionel : Compassion or Anger? Conflicting Emotions About Homeless People

Witnessing the plight of the homeless is heartbreaking. But on days when the concerns of my life require my full attention, I can find myself becoming irrtated and then mad at the people in tents, on the sidewalks and offramps, or living in cars and RVs. One day I wish I could save them and […]

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A Voice in the NELA Wilderness: How Does Your Drought-Resistant Garden Grow?

State water officials recently toyed with the idea of reinstating drought-era water rules and making them permanent. In the end, they didn’t act. But rules or no rules, it behooves all of us to find and practice a lifestyle of water conservation. Northeast Los Angeles is part of a coastal desert plain, with enough local […]

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