TAYLOR NEWTON & THE GUERRILLA GARDNERS

 

Note from a fan…  Taylor Newton was recognized for his contributions to Morro Bay during the 2010 decade by MB 50th and I wrote the first of several columns about the honorees (“By the Bay” by Judy Salamacha - Tribune - Feb. 17 www.sanluisobispo.com).  It’s been years since I did my first report about this young community advocate.  I have always been impressed that he saw an issue…  kids who had dropped out of school or from life as they didn’t want to live it and terrorizing our downtown shoppers on their skateboards and harassing our MB police or maybe being harassed…  and instead of crying like most of us, Taylor created a solution…   and when it worked he continued to develop opportunities – a win/win for the youth and our community.  His story is hardly finished.  We should all be so motivated and passionate to create solutions to the problems we complain about. 

My favorite quote from the column by Taylor: “Everybody has value. We teach our members that when they pay their dues, they can participate in their community.  We’re not here to change society, but how to get through life by making one’s space livable.  We’re fighting against drug abuse, violence, profiling, and the revolving cycle of imprisonment.”

As he presented to Rotary, I enjoyed table-talk and he said I had heard it all so didn’t need to take notes. Good things I did. I discovered a few more insights when he presented at Rotary:

·         Guerrilla Gardeners (GGC) have 60+ members, ages 15-103 with average age 20-30;

·         GGC logo represents the anarchy vs. order symbolic of the evolution of society;

·         Sobriety is a choice – GGC does not demand a sober lifestyle, accept on the job representing GGC…drink on the job and go home to wait for another day;

·         Gardening/urban forestry is the basic tool to beautify the community and provide purpose to a life that might have gone sideways;

·         Jade Park near the boat ramp, not intended as a city park, but has been GGC beautified;

·         St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, one of many community partners where GGC provides gardening maintenance, is also the site of the nursery where seeds are planted, plants are potted, and public purchases provide growth for community and individuals’ gardens…  yes you can buy plants there…  weekdays…  10-3 or 4pm….look for the onsite forest;

·         Why did Guerrilla Gardening Club start? It was a grass-roots community action that needed to happen;

·         GGC provides zero-waste programs for groups’ events….  ”We have the tools to pick up the trash… We don’t mind getting dirty or working among drunk people and we can handle people looking down on us for picking up trash because we are united and support each other;” (maybe my second favorite insightful Taylor Newton quote!)

·         GGC provides food, shelter and work for members to sustain life;

·         GGC needs food, shelter and work to encourage members to sustain their new lifestyle;

·         GGC is tied into local resources who might have jobs for laborers;

·         Most people have labor shops…  clean-up, pick-up, weed-whacking, whatever - GGC members can help;

·         Dylan Barker, GGC member, is proud of GGC and Taylor Newton is proud and trusting of Dylan Barker;

·         Surprise! Surprise! Taylor can’t say no

·         No surprise! He was smart enough to turn daily business operations over to Jenni Randolf Newton…Call her if you want to schedule GGC for a project.

You can contact GGC at:    http:/www.mbggc.blogspot.com    or www.facebook.com/MorroBayGuerrillaGardeningClub

"Time will always justify a man (woman) who means to do right." Colonel Thomas Baker