Lemons to Lemonade

Dr. Drip.

The Frondz.


No, these names are not those of contestants on an MTV reality show about up-and-coming rappers. Rather, they are the aliases of members of Los Angeles-based Guerrilla Gardening troupe. Their posted mission is “to beautify our neighborhoods and create community,” and they achieve that goal by showing up at neglected green areas throughout the city, planting gardens, and fleeing. Returning periodically under the cover of night, the group waters and weeds their secret gardens.

Is there a piece of land in your community you would like to see transformed into a garden? Think about taking a page out of the Guerrilla Gardening playbook.

“We prefer to beg forgiveness than ask permission,” explains one member in this video about them for the Toyota Charged Life Campaign. Troupe members make every effort to be respectful, and say they have yet to have any complaints from authorities or community members.

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Led by troupe members “Roly Poly” and “Mr. Stamen,” the idea began as a group of friends looking for a way to come together in community and brighten up a dingy corner in a Hollywood neighborhood. After their first planting, the group new they wanted to do more. Since then, projects have included an herb garden on a strip of land next to a parking lot, a window box of plants on a public library, and various highway median makeovers. People from all over the Los Angeles area have gotten involved–from creating new gardens start-to-finish to showing up occasionally with a watering can.

If you’re interested in getting your hands dirty in your community, you can contact Guerrilla Gardening for tips on how to organize a troupe of your own in your town (or get involved with one of theirs if you happen to live in the LA area). Or start small! One of their favorite activities is throwing “seed bombs” — each about an inch in diameter, the bombs are mixtures of clay, compost, and wildflower seeds. Roll up a few, wait for a rain, and then toss them into some orphaned land that could use a little color.

Beautifying community areas through flowers and plants is not only good for the environment (more oxygen!), it can lift your neighbors’ spirits as they walk to the store or to catch a bus. If you have ideas for ways to improve the scenery of neglected areas, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

Says Mr. Stamen, “The thing that’s most exciting for us is not the work that we do but the work that it inspires other people to do.”

The best thing about running  a business like mine is that you come into contact with the most incredible people in the world. Because everything we do is based on doing good, giving back and making an impact, everything we feature has a story to it.

Every week we will highlight a person who is inspiring – they may have worked through a tough issue in their life and come back stronger, or are dedicating their lives to curing cancer; they may be living in New Orleans re-building housing or a mom working two jobs to feed her kids and volunteering at the local soup kitchen to help others. The stories are endless and we are lucky to tell them.

Meet Sam Fox.

Who is he?  Sam is a 23-year-old who has completed an unbelievable, treacherous, and inspiring challenge: running the entire 2,650 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail in less than 65 days in honor of his mom who has Parkinsons disease. He finished this past October in 61 days averaging 40 miles a day for two months.

Did you hear that? 40 miles a day for two months! That’s nuts! But Sam trained all year —and was determined to complete the challenge which started on August 25, 2011.

Why did he do this? His run was a charitable endeavor organized by his foundation, Run While You Can, to raise awareness and money for Parkinson’s disease research. Sam’s mom, Lucy, was diagnosed with the disease more than a decade ago—and Sam started his foundation in her honor. The 22-year-old runner’s goal raised $140,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

The hardest part of the run?  The over 60 major mountain passes and past more than 1,000 lakes were  daunting and sometimes impossible, not to mention filled with blisters, strained muscles and constant exhaustion.’s blog chronicled Sam’s adventure: the good, the bad and everything in between. Besides amazing photos and very witty commentary, you get an unfiltered look at the athlete and the challenge.  is still taking donations. Sam’s goal was to reach $250,000 and he is working everyday to fill the gap. This is one special guy and a son we would all be proud to call our own.

P.S. – Sam is not related to Michael J. Fox but we’re sure Michael will want to adopt him after this heroic mission!

Ever dreamed of uprooting yourself and moving from the city to the country? Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell did, and now they’ve got the farm to prove it! Wielding goats, a mansion and chemical-free handmade products including the exceedingly popular goat’s milk soap, Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell have created a large following, thanks in part to their Planet Green reality show, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys.”

Named after the Beekman Mansion in Sharon Springs, New York, where the two operate their farm, the boys’ brand is called “Beekman 1802.” Living off the land, creating organic products, and even working on a cookbook, these two prove that Green Acres really is the place to be.

In addition, not only do the Beekman Boys rely on locals to help create their products, their town–once facing a declining population and economic struggles–is now drawing hundreds of visitors and new residents from across the country, thanks to the popularity of the Beekman Boys.

Wouldn’t you like to be their neighbor?

Or, if moving across the country to learn to milk a goat isn’t quite feasible, consider just lathering up–there’s a different scent for each month of the year.


Hi and welcome to Lemons to Lemonade!

My name is Amy Jurkowitz and I am the CEO of Milkshake, a daily email featuring great finds that give back (yes, please check it out – I am thrilled to be launching Lemons to Lemonade, the sister to Milkshake.

I don’t know about you, but my sister and I are different in many ways (I love to read cook books, she actually loves to cook!) However at our core we have the same values, ethics and outlook on the world. That’s how I see this blog as well. Lemons to Lemonade has its own unique style, but at its core is similar to Milkshake and has the same mission: to share stories of others doing good and encourage people to take notice of all the incredible projects that are positively impacting the world — and realize they have the potential to do the same.

We are not a blog about drinks, cooking or recipes (even though we love to title our businesses with names that make you think so!), but instead a blog that highlights products, people, places, causes and companies that are dedicated to doing good and making a difference.  We’ll feature stories, discoveries, experiences: this might be an eco-friendly product that changes how you live, an inspiring charity that is finding ways to deliver clean water, a profile on an athlete, celebrity, musician or teacher who thought he had lost it all and figured out a way to not only come back, but inspire others, or just an idea that revolves around changing the world and giving back to the community. We feature all that is good, and every story we write passes our simplest test: “does it make you feel good?” Our answer is always yes!

We are thrilled to begin blogging on Belief net through Lemons to Lemonade. We like to see ourselves as curators, shedding light on all the amazing, inspiring, and awesome work going on all over the world today.