Garden Author Calls for Dirt Divas to Lead the Charge Against Childhood Obesity

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Annie Spiegelman, author of Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva’s Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening is asking for some help from the sisterhood.

"We don’t want them calling us a bunch of clueless eco-slackers."

She’s asking fellow Dirt Divas to speak out, commit, organize and get involved in planet-friendly gardening and growing in their communities this Earth Day. “We hold our children’s future in our hands. If we don’t want them calling us a bunch of clueless eco-slackers, when they grow up, we better start role modeling R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the soil that feeds us by growing safe, smart and sustainable yards. Don’t we have enough guilt as parents already? Really.”

Who qualifies as a Dirt Diva?

1. Dirt Divas are just as excited about a Macy’s shoe sale as they are about a couple of buckets of free chicken manure for the garden. Dirt Divas are part fashionista and part compost queen—and proud of it.

2. Dirt Divas dream of seeing an organic school garden in every school. They imagine a day when kids will be outside digging in the dirt and growing food and flowers instead of sitting around playing video games and texting. OMG!

3. Dirt Divas know that the United States is rated number one globally in childhood obesity, that junk food companies have exorbitant advertising budgets, and that Dirt Divas have to do battle primarily with sunflower seeds and compost buckets. But they know they can make a difference.

Pick up your pink Pitchforks and Go to Battle

Spiegelman, who was raised and hardened on New York City pavement, moved to California over twenty years ago. “Once I became a mom I had no time to be ignorant. When my son was a baby and putting all the leaves in his mouth from our garden, I started researching at Pesticide Action Network ( what was in the chemicals I was happily and naively spraying around my yard. I still feel guilty for polluting my entire neighborhood just to get my petunias to look nice! I started studying with a soil scientist at UC Berkeley, Professor Stephen Andrews, and he urged us all to nix the chemicals and get our gardens into rehab fast. His message : compost, compost, compost,” says Spiegelman.

Spiegelman went organic in her garden over ten years ago and would never go back to “drugs,’” as she calls them. Now she has her sights set on converting the next generation. She coordinates two high school organic gardens in the Bay Area and is determined to get teenagers to like gardening. “My goal is to turn those kids into tree-huggers, flower enthusiasts and kale eaters—for life. I’m competing with the junk food, smartphone, and videogame companies. I plan to win - but I need my peeps: fellow dirt divas.”

To that end, this spring, Spiegelman started a fundraiser to support school gardens. She’s selling her Dirt Diva organic cotton Trucker Hats at, essentially, cost, with $1 from each sale going to support school gardens in the Bay Area. To buy online:

For ideas about how to start Dirt Diva movements across the United States, contact Annie:

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Annie Spiegelman
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