Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

List of 50 US Made Toys

December 6, 2017 Comments off

Finding American made toys and holiday gifts can be a challenge. Please share the following list of 50 toys that are proudly made in the USA. You will have the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting the U.S. economy.  The toys are more likely to meet and exceed product safety standards. Additions to this list are welcome.

  1. Patriot Tricycle by Dirt King.
  2. Stuffed Bear by Stuffington Bear Factory. 
  3. Stacking Toy Ring by Holgate Toys.
  4. Wooden Blocks by Uncle Goose.
  5. Dish Set by Green Toys.
  6. Play Kitchen by Little Colorado.
  7. Tic Tac Truck by Montgomery Schoolhouse.
  8. NameTrain Set by Maple Landmark.
  9. Log Cabin by Roy Toy.
  10. Foam Balls by Poof-Slinky.
  11. The Original Slinky by Poof-Slinky  More than 300 million Slinkys have been sold worldwide since the 1940s.
  12. Dollhouse Kit by Greenleaf Dollhouses 
  13. 888Toys – solid wood toys and furniture
  14. American Toy Boutique – educational toys
  15. Aurelia’s Little Lovelies – rag dogs and creatures
  16. Bath Boats
  17. Beka – wood toys & products
  18. College Hill Games
  19. Deck Crafters- All Things related to skateboarding
  20. Duarte Paper Art
  21. Eco-Kids  (& Mighty Nest) – eco-friendly kid’s art supplies
  22. Eraselet-Eraselet® is a FUNctional, fashionable Wearable Eraser
  23. Howells Natural Wood Products
  24. Green Leaf Doll Houses
  25. Green Toys
  26. Hank the Cow Dog
  27. Heirloom Wooden Toys – handcrafted wooden toys
  28. Hearth Song – toys and gifts
  29. I See Me – personalized children’s books
  30. K’Nex – construction set toys
  31. Lionel – model trains and accessories
  32. Little Tikes– play sets for children
  33. Magic Cabin – toys and gifts for kids
  34. Maple Landmark – natural wooden toys, gifts and games
  35. Mason Corporation – waterslides
  36. My Grandpa’s Wooden Toys
  37. Original Tree Swing
  38. Pajaggle
  39. Promise Monsters – stuffed monster that inspire acts of kindness
  40. Pure Play Kids– natural wooden and cloth toys
  41. Puzzles for Kids
  42. Skull Duggery
  43. Seven Acre Toys – natural wooden toys
  44. Silly Creatures – educational and therapeutic plush toys
  45. Springbok Puzzles – jigsaw puzzles
  46. Step2 – toddler and preschool toys
  47. Tiger Candy Arts – handmade sock puppets
  48. Trouble the Dog – plush stuffed toy
  49. Turner Toys – classic wooden toy
  50. Vermont Teddy Bear – hand stitched in VT
  51. Wee Can Too – edible art supplies
  52. Whittle Shortline Railroad
  53. Wikki Stix – educational waxed yarn toys

Will Cell Phones Kill Earth Day?

April 19, 2016 Comments off

New Plants Earth Day

Friday, April 22nd is Earth Day! There are more than 341.6 million mobile connections in the U.S. and our population stands at about 322.9 million people. There are now more cell phones than people. And, it’s growing! We must ask ourselves some really tough questions about what to do with all of the electronic trash created.

This Earth Day, I encourage you to e-cycle your old cell phones and used electronics on Earth Day. Attend a local e-cycling event. Take Action to communicate the need to protect Mother Earth.

What will you do for the Earth on Earth Day? I encourage you to paste the following message on your social media pages in support of Earth Day:

Will 7.7 Billion Cell Phones Kill Earth Day? Read more @ Recycle locally @ #EarthDay

Investigate Nursing Home Neglect

April 11, 2016 Comments off

nursing_homesI’ve written this blog intermittently for some years now about communications, public relations, social media and communication trends.

But of late, I’ve felt the real need to use this space to communicate about some obvious needs about poor senior care, which needs further investigation. Therefore, this post is a personal communique about elder care issues.

I fear I may be shunned for speaking out, in shedding light for those who need a voice. Recently, I was contacted by an anonymous source about elder neglect taking place in a nursing home. The information worries me enough personally, that I feel compelled to share some shocking behind the scene “stuff” taking place.

I implore any reader of this blog to share it, do something and demand national, state and localized investigations without warning. Perform investigations after 5 p.m. If it is happening in one town within one state, it is likely occurring in many states and towns all across the country.

We must ask ourselves to dig deeper, to see what is really happening behind closed doors, after the health inspectors leave or just before they arrive to make everything seem “OK” and smooth sailing.

Clearly things are not well, based on an eyewitness account shared with me personally. It’s sad that people have to fear for their jobs by communicating about internal abuses. But, that is another story in and of itself.  We must look beyond Elderly woman sits in her room at a nursing homethe superficial “front end” of elder care health inspections.

I am just one person sharing information provided with no other agenda but for better care for our beloved seniors, especially our low-income seniors.

I’ve done my best to perform some limited research with numbers. But I preface, that I am by no means an expert in this industry. Therefore, take the bigger numbers with an ounce of patience and understanding. Please see the bigger picture here, the need for better accountable care.

There should be enough information here to cause readers, leaders, and families to give great pause, and to think twice about what is really is happening behind the closed doors of nursing homes.

How do we do more as advocates for our mothers, fathers and sisters, great aunts, grandparents and great grandparents? Here is just

Here is just one video had their 96-year-old mother in a nursing home.

Be proactive. Please investigate deeper. My dear readers, please, please, please be more informed about your parents or grandparents and their long-term care needs before sending them off into nursing homes. And, know that they may not be as well cared, as you might think.

Think ahead, when choosing a senior nursing home. Install a camera, secretly. And, for those who don’t have any family to help seniors make the best choices for themselves, the due diligence is all of our responsibility because many are all alone.

This article will first touch upon some national numbers, and drill down to one state for some observations and real serious senior care risks and concerns.

Nationally, there are currently more than 25 million Americans aged 60 plus who are economically insecure, and living at or 250% below the federal poverty level ($29,425 per year) for a single person.

The numbers will undoubtedly skyrocket in the next ten to fifteen years as the aging boomer demographic explodes. More than 47% of all our single elderly population depend entirely on their social security benefits.

In other words, 90% of their entire net income comes from Social Security. These older adults struggle with rising housing costs, nursing facility costs, lack of transportation and rising health care bills, not to mention medications and the need to eat. One major adverse life event can change their entire world in an eye blink.

The myriad scope of concerns and risks are national in scope. The changes needed must happen at the state and local level. The question begs, whose eyes are really watching out for the essential “care” being given to our very deserving elders when backs are turned the other direction? The following are some broader risk-related concerns. But, at the end of the day, the absolute best in class care is the responsibility of all nursing home and assisted living staff as a priority for each and every one of our elders.

We all must look very closely, and more deeply not at the numbers, or budgets but at our patients, as individuals.

We must be their voice when they no longer have a voice when curled up in a bed and left alone. They have paid their dues, lived long and productive lives, and we utterly owe it to them to look hard at the “care” they are or are not receiving and provide the oversight needed for the things risking their potential quality of life, at this late stage in their lives

Lack of Enough Skilled Workers.
Low Paying Senior Nursing Care Wages.

There are not enough qualified people to care for all our seniors in nursing homes. The pay is low. Low pay equals less adequate care or less than optimal care. Workers are leaving low-paying jobs to work at fast food restaurants and retail chains, for higher pay. See my news article further below about this issue in just one state.

Gender Risks.
Most people who are older than 65 have worked long and hard most of their adult lives. They paid into the system all of their lives, with their taxes. But, women of this age group were mothers who did not work outside of the home, but rather raised their families, while their husbands were the breadwinners. Since women statistically live longer than men on average, it is only likely that the largest number of patients in nursing homes will be and are elderly women. There have been large demographic discrepancies in the retirement community reporting.

As reported from 2006, retirement communities were comprised of 69% women and 31% men. The raw data supports the notion that women are most at risk of receiving the optimal elder care they need.

Full-time elder nursing home costs average more than $4,000 a month, and much more for more those suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Most elderly people living on very limited social security benefits will not be able to afford the cost of a nursing home.

Most private insurance health insurance policies do not cover long-term care, and very few people have likely not purchased private long-term care.

Older women typically receive about $4,000 or less a year in social security than men due to lower lifetime earnings, time off to care for children, parents, and spouses, occupational segregation, and a lower wage work history. The same applies to those who’ve lost most of their retirement assets due to the recession, veteran widows and or farming widows.

There’s only about 15,700 nursing home facilities across the entire United States to serve one million seniors. That number is expected to double in 10-15 years. Remember there are currently 25 million living at poverty level or below. Every single state will have increasingly larger numbers of older residents who will need care.

For example, let’s take a look at Texas.

  1. For most low-income Texans (or anyone else for that matter) needing long-term care, Medicaid is the only source of funding. Medicaid is funded by both federal and state funds.
  2. To qualify for Medicaid, a single person’s monthly income must be less than $2,199 a month. And for couples, it can not exceed $4,398. In other words, you must be really poor, with very few resources.
  3. Nursing homes are supposed to be credentialed residential facilities that offer  24-hour skilled nursing care. This is often services provided through a managed care system.

The state of Texas for example, can pay a nursing home facility funds for three months before any Medicaid approval kicks in. The nursing home then refunds any personal payments according to specific time limits.

Therefore, nursing homes depend heavily on getting paid for each patient, either by the state and or by the federal government or both. But, they get paid. It would seem that there would be no shortage of funds coming from both government sources, and funds to pay staff.

A key issue is that there not enough facilities, nor enough licensed professional staff to provide around the clock care, the way they should.

More specifically, in more rural areas like Texas, there are extreme staffing shortages for licensed professional nurses and licensed support nursing staff. Essentially there is not enough help.

Not Enough Facilities.

  • Texas is currently home to about 5.2 million baby boomers
  • By 2030 it is estimated more than 20% of Texas’s will be over 65
  • There are now three million Texans older than 65, and the number rise to 10 million by 2050
  • According to Kaiser Foundation, there are only about 1,211 Texas senior nursing care facilities in Texas
  • Texas has a substantial rural, low-income and minority populations
  • The average older single adult in Texas receives only $433 from social security
  • Texas is traditionally a “conservative low-service state with a general philosophy that residents take care of their own.” Do they?

Why the above-stated numbers? Well, the summary substantively implies:

  1. There are NOT enough nursing home facilities to care for the growing number of seniors with complex medical needs
  2. There are NOT enough qualified licensed staff to provide the level of care needed at facilities, especially in more rural facilities
  3. Assisted living is highly under-regulated and a term with many differing definitions and jargon
  4. The industry as a whole is full of problems due to inadequate standards, under-staffing and inappropriate or inadequate “care” provided for our elders.

The following information comes from an anonymous care provider who experienced first hand some serious concerns about the inadequate, unsafe and poorly managed care being provided to seniors at one facility. There is neglect. It needs further investigation.

Supposedly the facility is seriously understaffed. The certified care provider indicated there are many other facilities locally with similar situations.


For the purpose of this article, we shall call her “Betty.” Betty was left unattended for hours and hours in a wheelchair, just slouched over.Nobody notices nor has enough time for her. She is forgotten about. Betty fell out of her wheelchair and was unable to get up nor was she heard when asking for help. Most of the Betty’s are left alone for very long periods of time. No one saw her on the cold floor in her room.

Betty hasn’t had a shower nor been bathed for more than a week. Sometimes Betty will go 10 days without a bath or simply having her hair brushed. There are not enough certified staff to bathe everyone regularly. 

When Betty is bathed it is performed by a male who is not a registered licensed care provider.

Betty doesn’t want “Billy Bob” to be bathing and touching all of her private parts. She is easily startled, afraid, very frail and soft-spoken. She has “no voice”. Betty doesn’t want her hair only combed on “salon days, every two weeks or more”

Betty lays awake at night for hours and hours all alone and has no one to talk to, at all. Betty is very lonely and she can’t speak Spanish, nor does she understand Spanish.

There are many Betty’s in nursing homes who are not getting the level of care, healthy human interaction and help that they need.

Who is “Betty’s” voice?

There Are Multiple Risks Due to Inadequate Care.
Let’s Look at The Risks at Just One Texas Facility.

Sixty residents are currently living at the Hill Country Care Facility at 1505 W. Highway 290 in Dripping Springs, Texas.

The layout of the internal facility provides four hallways radiating out from a central nursing station. Below are the basic operations staffing facts:

  • Administrative staff work five days a week, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., they perform administration tasks in a separate office, off the main floor.
  • Each group of staff wears specific colored coded “uniforms”, for identification and visible professional skill classification and for easier identification by the patients. “This is a uniform and the uniform code should be followed and enforced.” Each staff member also must wear a name tag.
  • There are Registered Nurses (RNs), who wear dark blue tops
  • Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) wear dark blue tops
  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), wear maroon tops
  • Nursing Assistants [(NAs] finished academics, but are NOT state licensed, nor certified).
  • Hospitality Aides (enrolled in CNA courses, not certified, not licensed and can not put hands on any patients)
  • House Keeping, (cleaning crews, they can not legally put hands on ANY patient. They wear Blue Tops /Blue Scrubs. Housekeeping staff wear the same color scrubs as the RNs. Low vision seniors can’t tell the difference on who is a professional care provider or not. Housekeeping crew are handling patients.


  • The facility’s Nursing staff work rotating shifts which run from;
    • 6 a.m.- 2p.m.,
    • 2 p.m.- 10 p.m.,
    • 10 p.m.– 6 a.m.

Situation Risks Observed.

  1. During normal business hours, an administrative staffer who is not in a meeting will usually investigate a patient call light for help. Often times a patient can’t reach something or dropped the remote control for their TV. But, if a patient needs “hands on” assistance the Administrative staff member will seek out a certified CNA to meet the patient’s need.
  2. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. there is usually only one RN and one LVN per shift, for 60 residents
  3. Frequently there are only two CNA’s covering four hallways of 60 residents from 2 p.m. To 10 p.m.
  4. Some patients require two-person transfers
  • If two only two CNA’s are on duty and working with one patient, the remaining 59 residents do not get the care they need and are not being safely monitored
  • Why are there not more CNA’s or Nurses to help for just safety reasons
  1. There is a substantive licensed nursing care staff shortage. Being short-staffed and lacking certified “hands on” nursing care means:
  • Inadequate or no showers for long periods of time
  • Inadequate or very little oral care
  • Inadequate or to no hair care
  • No skin care
  • At risk for increased pressure bed sores from not being rotated or moved every two hours
  • At risk increased urinary tract infections (December 2015 was really bad supposedly)
  • At risk for increased wounds from not being monitored and cared for  adequately
  • risk of urinary burns or feces due prolonged periods of unchanged briefs
  • Risk of humiliation, embarrassment and lack of dignity due to over saturated briefs
  • There are employees handling patients who are not in uniform. Uniforms are confusing. Housekeeping staff are wearing the same color as RNs. The outward appearance shows that literally anyone in street clothes in blue scrubs can enter the facility and handle a patient, without proper ID or in a “blue” uniform to show they are professional nursing staff.
  • Risk of inadequate or no conversation at all with patients. No ability to express care and compassion due to substantive low-paid non-English speaking night workers. The 10 p.m to 6 a.m shift is largely a Hispanic workforce who speak very little English. They often only speak only Spanish while working in proximity of an English-speaking patient in their room at the facility.

How do patients communicate their needs if there is a language barrier?
English speaking patients can not adequately convey what their needs are and do not understand the Hispanic speaking staff.

  • “The Hispanic staff carry on about their business speaking between themselves in front of awake silent patients, with no consideration for if they’d like a conversation”
  • I am told, the night staff “just assume residents are sleeping, so who needs conversational English spoken to the patients to help them pass the long, long nights while they are still awake”

elderabusenursinghome.jpg On a national level, is this representative of most facilities providing care to the exploding senior population where there are undoubtedly many, many low-income seniors? Especially, all the low-income women seniors. They deserve better.

Who is really looking out for the true well-being of all of our ladies, veterans, and men from the Greatest Generation? They, who should be our honored seniors.

Where is the oversight after the infrequent inspectors leave, or when it’s after 5 p.m., or when the lights go out when nobody really sees what is really going on?

Someone, please help our elders who are no longer seen nor have voices to change what is happening all around them. Will you help me take up the gauntlet and not only share this story but share it with those who can help make changes.

Our Greatest Generation should not have to be the Silent Generation.

Media Trends 2015

August 11, 2015 Comments off

New technologies are emerging all the time which give public relations and media agencies many headaches trying to keep up, but also greater control over how and when consumers are exposed to brand messages. There still are huge challenges on how to connect across media “storehouses” and how to reduce and or make sense of digital data labyrinth.

Creative professionals have many more exciting tool boxes these days with nearly as many advertising formats as sand in the sea….but telling a coherent, consistent, and connected multi-screen and multimedia story across a thousand seas of different platforms to a very diverse audience across generations is a challenge and an art.

Additionally, consumers ( and young kids) navigate so easily between media platforms and the entire mobile Internet, all while watching TV, playing a video game and another tablet is open somewhere close-by.  And, MarComm professionals must build strategies around this intricate set of Millenial and Generation Z behaviors. Brands and businesses need to understand the synchronized impact of these behaviors to justify continued (and increased) media investment.

And, then there are a bunch of new digital brands out there worthy of further discussion- but I will save that for another post.  The key mountain to climb for 2015 into 2016 is how to intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of so many things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence capabilities.

And,  finally, the whole wide world is always trying to play catch up technological changes going on, so if you are not formatted for mobile media then you are behind the power curve, so to speak in the hyper-cycle of “Internet Time”


As previously reported by Time, “Hacks released in October (2014) a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will allow the app’s 200 million users to send money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. Meanwhile, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards), which allows users who save their credit card info on Facebook to check out with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web. So why does Facebook want to handle your money in 2015? Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its money transfer services, leverage customer purchasing data to pull in more advertisers or even try to rival traditional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (which make billions on fees). One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.


With the frenzy of Holiday shopping coming down the pike for 2015, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integration efforts to deepen throughout 2015 into 2016. It’s taken quite a long time, when you think about it.

And, despite all the technical media changes and trends there’s a lot going on out there with all things Hand Made, a Retro-Vintage resurgence, Made In America Movement and Small Business Enterprises popping up everywhere. It can be tough to straddle both worlds. But at the end of the day, I think people are looking for value with a great sense of genuine purpose, instead of always operating at hyper-speed business life cycles.

Want to know more about social media trends? Here is a detailed report put out by MillwardBrown that you can download.

Facebook & Twitter Newsy Trends

June 5, 2015 Comments off

Good or bad the social media stratosphere continues to change. This post is a brief update on Facebook and Twitter News and Trends.

Facebook News and Trends

  1. It’s no secret that Facebook post reach is significantly decreasing, and has become a serious problem for business owners who are spending lots of money and using the platform for marketing purposes. This steady decline in reach is what has been coined the Filtered Feed Problem.  As Facebook continues to limit the number of posts page fans actually see, the demand for promoted posts and ads are continuing to increase. And, with this increased demand will come increased pricing. According to an Ad Weekarticle in 2014 Q1 Facebook ad pricing was up 10% over 2013 Q4 pricing. This trend is likely to continue throughout all of 2015, as organic post reach continues to fall.
  2. Introducing Instant Articles. Facebook is giving publishers a tool to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook. Instant Articles is a tool for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook and was designed to give them control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities. Read more
  3. Now you can choose to explicitly send a map of your location or another particular place as a separate message. Read more Providing a new method to send a Facebook friend your current location, the development team working on Facebook Messenger has launched a feature that provides a visual map of your current location or a destination location. As detailed within a post on the Facebook Newsroom, this action can be performed within a conversation, particularly ideal when attempting to coordinate a meeting location between friends.  Read more:
  4. Announcing Facebook Lite. Introducing Facebook Lite, a new version of Facebook for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions.
    Read more

Twitter Trends & News

  1. #confused? Twitter starts explaining trending hashtags for you. Read more:
    Follow: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook
  2. Twitter’s new business advertising model, will it skyrocket in popularity?  With Twitter’s move to offering businesses more choice and flexibility in how and what they pay for in terms of advertising, more small and medium sized businesses will jump on the Twitter ad bandwagon.  The new fee structure allows businesses to pay for certain performance-based actions rather than just retweets or clicks.

Hacked US GOVT = Not So Safe Social Media?

June 5, 2015 Comments off

What Comes Next? 5 Social Media Trends for 2015I normally do a great deal of my own research when I put a blog post together here. But, I want everyone to read is what was predicted for social media trends for 2015, that HootSuite CEO, Ryan Holmes wrote. (I’ ve reposted some parts of his article below).

Why? Well with the very recent news of OPM being hacked, I am very concerned with our rush to produce new payment systems across social platforms given the recent and ongoing hacking targeting the USA.  The following question I have that begs more professional media and communications discussion: Are we wildly scaling social media too much, too far, too fast?

Holmes stated at the end of 2014, “the challenge in 2015 becomes how to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence.”

“Increasing demand for (truly) private social media gives way to the real thing
2014 saw a number of anonymous and ephemeral social networks—Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few—surge in popularity. Not everyone wants every conversation over social media broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, savvy users are increasingly aware—and concerned—about ways personal data is being collected and later sold to advertisers, manipulated in tests or accessed by government agencies.”

“The problem is that few of these “private” networks fulfill their mandates. Snapchat has been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive—supposedly disappearing—user photos posted on the Internet. And in October, it was revealed that the anonymous network Whisper was actually saving users’ posts and locations and compiling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat points out, real anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely difficult to achieve. While it’s easy to make promises, it’s nearly impossible to deliver.”

“since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.”

“Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.”

There is a need for the US Citizens especially our youth to know this information. Help them understand that they should not be so liberal about everything they post and tweet, and share.

Communicating Change – Spring Contest

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Alice's Seed Box for Essay ContestThe recent events in Baltimore and other cities have brought about more communication questions than answers, and these questions often do not produce the results or signigicant changes that citizens need.

I believe we can start a dialog for change through collaborative community projects.

Therefore, I and my colleaques at Flatlands Avenue LLC  though their Patriot Made Audio project are offering free garden seeds for spring planting, as part of our celebration of Mother’s Day and spring.

Therefore would like to inspire some of our own “seeds of hope and seeds of change” through a spring garden essay contest about how you would propose to help create hope and change.

Send your essay to  and please put Spring Garden Contest in the subject line. The deadline is Sunday, May 10th on Mother’s Day (before midnight).  We look forward to awarding three individual seed boxes filled with a variety of seeds, to three lucky winners.

All you need to do is send us an original short essay proposing how you would best use the seeds by growing food for yourself and for others, and how you’ll further save and share new seeds with other family members, an organization. or as a joint collaborative project in your community.

The best ideas or most creative plans win!  

Potentially, in time, hundreds of people could be fed, at little to no cost through our seeds of hope and seeds of change spring contest. Such a project could feed change and better communication in communities.

The essay must be 500 words, or less.

The seed boxes are original pieces of art created by me (Alice Fisher).  This past weekend, I refurbished a few cigar boxes (hand sanded, painted and varnished them) and then packaged up a selection of her own heirloom, non-genetically modified (NGMO) seeds which I grew, dried and hand saved by myself on my small farm in Frederick County, Maryland.

The essay deadline date is Sunday, May 10th at midnight, and if you need some ideas for your essay, try a quick visit to for more information and inspiration about gardening.

Rita Rich at Flatlands Avenue would like to follow-up with the winners in about three or four months with a special podcast interview, once your seeds of hope seeds of change projects have been implemented, and with any pictures you’d like to share as well.

We have three handcrafted seed boxes, filled with 10 – 14 different seed varieties which we’ll send out FREE to our three winners.

These simple hand painted boxes would possibly make a great Mother’s Day garden gift, or some kind of project for all the senior moms in a community, city or for a school to feed children.

The seeds, will keep for up to 25 years, if they stored in a freezer, and can be used for many years to come.

Please share with us your gardening dreams and creative community ideas, and we’ll share with you our seeds of hope and change from my very own garden.

It’s our way of saying, Happy Mother’s Day and happy gardening to you and yours, as you build memories together.

Seeds hold the promise of hope and change, maybe even better communication. Email us your essay at   Please write Spring Garden Contest in the subject line.

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