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A Broke-Ass take on “When Life Hands You Lemons”

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When life hands you lemons...

Starting the first day of college, we were all broke.  When friends came over to study at our modest abodes and were, as college students perpetually find themselves, hungry, we each asked ourselves, 'œWhy share what little I have?'  However some of us chose to share and some of us did not.  My best friend Emily Kate Nathan (who I will refer to henceforth as 'œEmily' so as to conceal her identity) is one of the most affectionate, ebullient, and intelligent people I know and I love her unconditionally.  That being said, I do not condone or encourage the following behavior: Emily was raised wearing a wardrobe bought with what her mom referred to as 'œfunny money.'  Here is how it worked: her mother went to thrift stores and bought items with brand names.  Then she went to the stores from which they came and returned them, and with no receipt, she often had to make a scene until the poor sales associate succumbed.  Emily thus filled her closet with name brands 'œpurchased' with store credit.

Sharing is Caring!!!

I, being culturally super-Jewish, inherited conflicting proclivities: I was, on the one hand, cunning in my attempts to economize, but on the other hand, my guilty conscience forbade stealing.  On the one hand, I was tempted to hoard my food, but on the other hand, I felt the need to feed those around me.  Emily, being Jewish mainly in fro and freckles, didn’t inherit the 'œother hand.'  I don’t think she ever gave me anything without me asking.  I managed to snag a few almonds from her cupboard over the course of four years, but she gave them grudgingly and I pretty much had to pry them out of her hands.  But the situation wasn’t all bad.  By comparing myself to the example she set, I became more generous with what little broke-ass stuff I had, and for that I am grateful, though clearly not indebted, to her (save for maybe 27 almonds).  My point is this: Being broke pardons neither loose morals nor tight fists.  When life hands you lemons, don’t ask if you can return them for store credit.  Make some goddamn lemonade and then share it with your other broke friends!

Asiya Wadud of Forage Oakland

So, where can you get some FREE lemons?  My friend Asiya Wadud started an awesome urban harvesting project a couple years ago called Forage Oakland and it is really taking off (she graced the cover of San Francisco Magazine’s 'œBest of 2009' issue).  When Asiya noticed that piles of fruit were rotting on the ground yards all over South Berkeley and North Oakland, she mapped the trees, contacted her neighbors, and created an online community so residents could barter, trade, gift, and redistribute their excess produce.  If you don’t live in South Berkeley or North Oakland, don’t fret!  Check out Forage Oakland‘s website for links to other urban harvesting projects throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

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Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.

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