Organicallygrowngroup's Blog

The Unsung Heroes
September 17, 2010, 5:54 pm
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Last Friday, you saw me hobnobbing with Hollywood’s elite at the Stand Up to Cancer benefit. Today, I would like to share with you a different kind of story about an unsung hero named Pete Barajas. Pete has been taking care of the park near our house for the past twenty-two years. Yesterday, as I was walking my dogs Hero and Carl, I saw Pete and he didn’t seem like his cheerful self. He told me that he was being transferred. I immediately made a phone call to Lee Marks, the person in charge of the park.

She requested that maybe I could write a letter on Pete’s behalf. The following is the letter I wrote:

Pete Barajas has been serving our neighborhood at Encino Park for the past 22 years. That’s a long time when people these days just come and go.  Pete does an amazing job keeping the park in tip top shape.  When I see how people trash the park (especially on the weekends), I am amazed how Pete gets the park back to brand new by Monday…always with a smile on his face.

One night I couldn’t sleep, so I took my dog for a walk and there’s Pete cleaning the tennis courts at 5:30am! I asked Pete if he was crazy as it was still cold and dark. Pete politely said that he consistently cleans them and that they had to dry for the people who get there by 7:00am!

That’s Pete. I can tell you from working in the park as a citizen forrester with Treepeople, Pete knows where all the bones are buried.

Pete is an ASSET to our neighborhood.  I can get you the names of 100 neighbors who feel the same way about Pete.

I am respectfully requesting that you please keep Pete at Encino Park.  He is a dedicated friend to the neighborhood.

Others wrote similar letters on behalf of Pete.

There are many of us who are not celebrities, just ordinary people who do extraordinary things…Win no trophies or awards…Just figure out how to do the right thing, like put out a fire, stop a criminal, work on finding a cure for a disease, raise loving children, try to recycle and save water, and yes, even take pride in keeping the park spotless.

This morning, Hero and I saw Pete with a big smile on his face. He told me he was staying in the park, and thanked me for writing the letter he never asked for. I said, “No. Thank you, Pete. Thank you for your service to our community.” Thank you, Pete…Just keep doing your thing.


Organically Grown Congratulates Stand Up to Cancer

This past Friday night, Julia and I had the honor of attending the Stand Up to Cancer global telethon. We salute our dear friends Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz, two of the founders of Stand Up to Cancer, along with their co-founders Katie Couric, Noreen Fraser, Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulson, Ellen Ziffren, and Laura Ziskin, for accomplishing the impossible: Assembling a dream team of cancer researchers from many of the top notch hospitals, including Johns Hopkins and UCLA, working together to find a cure.

The benefit was hosted by Katie Couric, Brian Williams, and Diane Sawyer, and broadcasted  by all the major television networks. Celebrities such as Denzel Washington, Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lance Armstrong manned the telephones and accepted donations.

Adding to the star power of the evening were performances by Neil Diamond and Stevie Wonder. If I were to go to the moon and was only allowed to bring a handful of albums, the music of these two icons would be right there with me. I was fortunate enough to meet  Stevie Wonder, and he is as beautiful as his music.

According to the Organic Trade Association, cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, with over 450 million pounds of pesticides applied on conventional cotton each year. Seven of these pesticides are on the EPA’s list of known, likely, or probable human carcinogens. Furthermore, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ study “Cancer and the Environment” cites research stating, “Studies of people with high exposures to pesticides, such as farmers, pesticide applicators, crop duster pilots, and manufacturers, have found high rates of blood and lymphatic system cancers, cancers of the lip, stomach, lung, brain, and prostate, as well as melanoma and other skin cancers.”

I am inspired by Rusty and Sue, and everyone at Stand Up to Cancer. The cure to this awful disease is within our reach.

At Organically Grown, we offer affordable products that are made from 100% organic of harmful pesticides. I believe that one day we will all be wearing organic clothing as we celebrate the end of cancer.


Please visit to donate money or to purchase SUTC gear. 100% of all donations and proceeds go to collaborative cancer research.

Click here to learn more about Organically Grown or shop organic.

For more information, please visit these links:

National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s “Cancer and the Environment”

National Wildlife Foundation’s “Cotton and Pesticides”

Brandweek’s Moral Cotton
September 7, 2010, 7:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There is a great cover article in a recent issue of Brandweek titled “Moral Fabric.” There are several interesting facts about organic cotton in this article, specifically about the relatively new and growing popularity of companies producing organic cotton. For example, the article compares the organic cotton movement to being similar in size and scope to that of the organic foods movement around ten years ago. To put it in perspective, the organic foods industry was a $6 billion business in 1990, and a $24 billion business last year. Comparatively, the organic cotton business is currently a $4.3 billion industry, and is projected to grow to $6 billion by next year. The author of the article, Robert Klara, writes, “Seeing as organically grown cotton was worn the by likes of Jesus, Caesar and King Tut, why are so many major brands waking up to it only now? Again, there’s a parallel to organic food. After years of consuming chemicals, more and more Americans are ready to return to natural things.” Thanks to articles like this one, hopefully the importance of organic cotton products will continue to grow in the consciousness of consumers. Organic cotton is the fabric of the future.

Be sure to check out the full article here!