Environmental Change-Makers (ECM)
ECM began in 2005 with a circle of five local neighbors sitting with then-Holy Nativity rector, Father Peter Rood in the church's community hall, trying to decide what they could possibly DO about environmental problems like global warming. In those days, before anyone had heard of An Inconvenient Truth, any discussion about global warming was more likely to provoke debate over whether it existed than stimulate discussion about solutions.
Over the next months and years, ECM grew as they discussed individual triumphs in “doing something” to help the environment. There were movies and talks and guest speakers, such as actor/environmental activist, Ed Begley, Jr. In early 2008, ECM was at the forefront in the creation of the Holy Nativity Community Garden and that summer began offering the organic vegetable gardening classes. Under Master Gardener Azita Banu, this ECM initiative provides fresh, organic produce to the LAX Food Pantry. Making Solar Ovens (above)
ECM has been a joint project under the direction of Joanne Poyourow, John Tikotsky, and Father Peter.
Joanne Poyourow is a co-founder of the Environmental Change-Makers, and is well-known in the regional and national Transition movement. She is a writer, a food gardener, and an activist. She designed the Community Garden at Holy Nativity and continues to manage its plantings for ongoing abundant harvests. She teaches many of ECM’s organic vegetable gardening classes and helped design and found the Emerson Avenue Community Garden.
She is one of the founding members of Seed Freedom LA and has had her fingers in the changes at many other local gardens as well. In addition to having written three books, Joanne writes most of the ECM handouts, how-to guides, and booklets.
Joanne’s home garden, located a few blocks from Holy Nativity, is a busy place of city chickens, vegetable experiments, and weedy failures to learn from.
John Tikotsky is a landscape architect and a member of ECM’s founding board. John designed the rainwater harvesting at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, and he conducts some of the organic vegetable gardening classes and hands-on workshops.
John did significant work in bringing the Emerson Avenue Community Garden from vague vision to abundant reality. He has also assisted with garden-building projects such as the Good Karma Gardens. John’s favorite garden topic is beneficial insects and how to attract a rich and biodiverse population of them.
ECM was incorporated in 2012 as a California nonprofit corporation.
John Tikotsky, Rob Hopkins, Joanne Poyourow, Father Peter Rood
If you are interested in becoming part of the work of the Environmental Change-Makers, call the church office at 310.670.4777 or email your request to [email protected].
Environmental Change-Making (A How-To Book)
The late Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, became interested in Holy Nativity's environmental work and asked Joanne and Father Peter to write a book about what communities can do. The result was Environmental Change-Making. Currently out-of-print, please address queries about the book to [email protected].
Emerson Avenue Community Garden
Located at Orville Wright Middle School (LAUSD) just a few blocks from Holy Nativity, this one-acre property was the site of agricultural programs in the 1970s but had fallen into disuse and was simply an abandoned plot of land on the edge of the school grounds. Working with local city officials and an LAUSD teacher in 2009, the Environmental Change-Makers of Holy Nativity helped bring this garden back to life.
The plan merges school garden with traditional plot-style community garden and community pocket park. The garden is being built out by volunteer labor. One section of the space is a school garden with plots for classes. Another section will eventually have traditional community garden plots. Additional features include a native plants garden to attract native pollinators and other “good bugs,” an urbanite and cob outdoor classroom, a mini-orchard of fruit trees, and a one-fifth-mile walking track.