The tradition of agricultural awareness within Tu B'Shvat is something that we can all easily adopt into our own lives.
Winter is the prime time of year for planting in Southern California. Getting your hands dirty planting a tree, as laborious as it may sound, is a rewarding commitment. And just like we strive to fill our bodies with local produce, it is just as important to fill our gardens with native plants. Miss out on getting a free fruit tree at the market last week? Don't let that stop you from from any gardening endeavors!
We suggest planting a manzanita tree: In Los Angeles, trees like the manzanita, with its rich bark and enticing flowers, attract native pollinators and birds and come in a wide variety. While a beautiful addition to a native garden, planting a manzanita can also be important for water supply. The movement of their leaves in direction away from the sun keeps them from losing moisture, or transpiring. In this natural movement it avoids photosynthesis, preserving the water from escaping the plant. This lack of negative environmental impact goes hand-in-hand with the biggest new year’s goal of all: taking care of our planet.
If you are having troubles launching yourself into 2014 and a new routine, think of what can be understood by agriculture. In giving locally to your farmers and your environment, you can also reap the benefits.
More information regarding the manzanita in Los Angeles at, http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan/31/home/hm-manzanita31
By Katelyn Stark