A Book, A Movie and A Place to Visit

This morning, I thought I would share 3 simple recommendations from this month: a favorite book, an inspiring documentary and a place I think everyone should visit. So here it goes!

1. A Book: The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen

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Though I have not yet even finished this book, I still have to recommend it to anyone interested in the “food revolution” in the United States and the social, economic and racial implications of our current food system. Will Allen intelligently and openly critiques the current mode of operation as many others have. More importantly, however, Allen tells a personal story of a family migration from agricultural slavery in the South to poverty in D.C. and eventually back to farming outside of Milwaukee. His story is so honest, so powerful and so important for our generation to understand that I must highly recommend this book to anyone.

2. A Movie: The Dhamma Brothers

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Last week, I watched one of the most powerful, inspiring and transformational documentaries I have seen in a long time. Dhamma Brothers looks on as 20 inmates from a high-security prison in Alabama go through a 10-day Vipassana Meditation course. The “brothers” are mostly prisoners sentenced to life without parole. What happens at the end of the 10-days is incredible. As a practitioner of Vipassana myself, this is a story that goes straight to my heart, but I believe anyone who watches this will connect with the emotional and spiritual transformation these men experienced. And hey, if prisoners with a life-sentence can find meaning in meditation, maybe so can you? 🙂

3. A Place: The Watts Towers Art Center

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This past weekend, after a trip to visit the local garden where I volunteer at Markham Middle School in Watts (Los Angeles), my girlfriend and I stopped across the street to explore the Watts Towers Art Center. The Watts Towers are a local historical treasure, built by Italian immigrant construction worker Simon Rodia over 33 years (from 1921 to 1954). He decorated the entire structure out of mostly “found” or reused items from around the city. While I had visited the towers once before, I had never stepped into the attached gallery and museum. This week, they have highlighted Charles Dickson, one of LA’s locally renowned artists. The work on display is powerful, combining images of modernization with sculptures and carvings honoring the African woman and family.

While these three recommendations are just samples of the incredible educational and inspirational material I have come across over the past month, each is plenty worthy of a special mention. I hope you will check at least one of them out and let me know what you think!

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