February 28, 2011
Grass Roots Campaign Challenges Obama to Weed Out Hate and Cultivate Peace and Understanding Amongst the World’s Children
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Socially conscious shoppers are latching on to a new gardening trend this spring - and it's not only fashionable flowers or subliminal scents. Cutting-edge chains like Sloat Garden Centers in California, Calloway's and Cornelius Nursery in Texas, and Earl May Seed and Nursery in the Midwest are partnering with the Weed Out Hate Initiative to market Sunflower Peace Seeds. With the public increasingly attuned to violence on our own shores as well as in the Middle East, peace-savvy retailers like these are cultivating "green thinking" kids through the power of kindergardening - an old-new concept that encourages children to pluck out weeds, roots and all, and sow the seeds of peace.
According to Marc Daniels, author, businessman - and modern day Johnny Appleseed who chairs the organization and has distributed free peace seeds to kindred groups, "Awareness begins by rooting out weeds, a metaphor for hate, bias and prejudice. Freed from such negativity, our spirits will bloom and peace will blossom."
For Martin Luther King Day, a holiday hardly associated with gardening, WeedOutHate.org donated thousands of free Peace Seeds to worthy recipients around the country, including the students of the Springfield, IL School District #186. According to representative Sara Vincent, "The concept offers parents and teachers a method for teaching Dr. King's principles of social inclusion without preaching. It is something that every child can experience firsthand."
In his new book Der Himmelsgarten (The Heavenly Garden), Daniels, eldest grandson of Ross Daniels, the inventor of the Ross Root FeederÃ®, says that weeding the yard and garden, if done with the proper intention, can bring out the best in people. It prepares us for sowing the seeds of peace and social harmony. Apparently his Facebook fans agree. According to one post, "What a wonderful idea you have brought to the eyes and hearts of people across the World...I hope Our children...Grand Children and Great grand children continue to plant seeds of PEACE...as they are Our Future."
Inspired by the actions of the great civil rights leader, Daniels has a dream of his own: That the President and the First Lady will invite children to rally in the White House garden and plant the seeds of peace. And, he wants to televise such an event to demonstrate that if it can work in Washington, DC it can work around the corner - or around the world. To jumpstart his plan, the back panel of every sunflower Peace Seeds pack features a "Calling All Kids ... write the White House" social action appeal. Daniels says, "This is precisely the charm of the campaign. It recaptures the Zeitgeist of the 60's while addressing the social problems of today."
While he may indulge in his vision of sunflowers popping up everywhere, Daniels is ever the pragmatist: "The success of our grass roots efforts depends on how well the seeds take root and spread: It's not only parents, teachers and kids that count, but the Green industry itself."
Daniels' small steps, like a stone thrown into a pond, have had a ripple effect even on distant shores. In Australia, world recognized Green industry consultant and horticultural guru John Stanley observed that WeedOutHate.org was tilling new ground. "Should retailers get involved in social issues and ... support a cause?" he wonders. "I believe in certain situations (the answer to this question) is a definite yes," he asserts. According to Stanley, "'Cause Marketing' is becoming a major driver in all retail sectors. Many thanks to Marc Daniels for bringing this marketing initiative to my attention," he says on his widely followed blog.
Daniels isn't about to rest on such accolades. "Peace," he says, "is something that green-minded marketers can rally around and promote." Through eye-catching packaging and by tapping into the roots of social networking, a single packet of sunflower seeds can germinate peaceful intentions locally - and globally, he asserts. "Even though spring is near," he adds, "it's not too late for America's garden centers to join our cause and make this White House dream a reality." After all, he concludes, the White House gardens really belong to the people. "Isn't it time," he asks, "for the President to call on kids to weed out hate and let our people grow?"
About Marc Daniels
Marc Daniels is the campaign chair for the Weed Out Hate Initiative (www.weedouthate.org) as well as an international businessman, author and eldest grandson of Ross Daniels, the inventor of the Ross Root FeederÃ®. He has devoted the past five years of his life to researching and writing about the spiritual, cultural and ecological roots of gardening. His new book, Der Himmelsgarten: Das Handbuch des Spirituelen Gartners is being released in Germany, March 2011 by Allegria Verlag, a unit of the Ullstein Group of Publishers. US publication will be forthcoming.