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1-In-4 San Diegans Unemployed From Pandemic, North County Wants Businesses To Reopen, San Diego Sees Drop In Homelessness, And Online Learning Nightmare For Vets

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An estimated 25% of San Diegans are out of work because of the pandemic, according to a new SANDAG report. Plus, a handful of North County mayors want businesses in their towns to reopen sooner rather than later. Also, homelessness in San Diego is seeing a decline, according to the latest homeless count. Also, it’s not just young students who are having a hard time with distance learning, veteran students are also dealing with the challenges of virtual classrooms. And, SoCal singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd shares what types of music she listens to and the healing powers of music. Finally, growing your own veggies? Some gardening tips from a master gardener.

Speaker 1: 00:00 One in four San Diego ones are unemployed and that's why some North County mayors want more businesses opened up. I'm Mark Sauer with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid-day edition. It's Wednesday, April 29th,

Speaker 2: 00:26 governor Newsome announced a new program during his daily Corona virus update. Today the farms to families program will try to pair farmers struggling with excess food to food banks,

Speaker 3: 00:38 uh, and do so in a way that jumpstarts our capacity to deliver nutritious food, uh, high quality locally produced produce, poultry and dairy and the like, uh, to those most in need.

Speaker 2: 00:52 He says, food banks across the state are struggling themselves with an average of a 73% spike in demand during the crisis. Federal state and philanthropic donations will support the partnership with a goal of providing 21 million pounds of fresh produce and other fresh food to food banks each month. And the governor says 78 Corona virus deaths in California in the last 24 hours. Remind us the stay at home orders must remain in effect for the time being. It's been obvious from the close businesses and people filing for unemployment that the Corona virus locked down is thrown a lot of people out of work. Now we're getting a better idea of just how many people have lost work in San Diego. New numbers from the San Diego association of governments send nearly one in four residents or 24.7% of the population is unemployed. That's about 430,000 people during the great recession. Local jobless numbers never Rose above 11.1% in addition to compiling numbers, SANDAG is also working to track areas in the County with the most unemployed people to see where services may be most in need. Journey. Mia SANDAG, chief economist, Ray major and Ray, welcome to the program.

Speaker 4: 02:10 Thank you very much for having me.

Speaker 2: 02:11 How did SANDAG put these unemployment numbers together? Because I understand official UpToDate government numbers aren't out yet.

Speaker 4: 02:19 That's true. But we do have numbers from the national and state government and what we do working with one of our vendors is to take that information and to apportionate down to zip code level. And we do that by using a methodology that we've developed to take a look at the underlying implement type that occurs in these zip codes. So we have an understanding of the type of occupations that people have and where they live in the region. And based upon how hard the different industries are hit, we can make an estimate as to how many people are unemployed in each zip code.

Speaker 2: 02:56 Did you also rely on the number of people who applied for unemployment in in various zip codes?

Speaker 4: 03:04 That is the base of the data. So we look at the new unemployment claims that come in and as you probably know, the number of unemployment claims that come in lag a little bit from when people are let go. And some of that has to do just with the difficulty that people are having right now logging on and filing their claims. So we see new claims coming in every week. The numbers that we provided include, uh, an a adjustment for self-employed people. We wanted to understand what unemployment was in San Diego and not just what the unemployment rate was based on the, uh, unemployment claims

Speaker 2: 03:41 and what were San Diego's last official unemployment numbers back in March.

Speaker 4: 03:47 On March 7th, we had an unemployment rate that was 3.4%. Regionally. There were a few areas that had higher unemployment, maybe in the 5% range and some areas that had unemployment as low as one or 2%.

Speaker 2: 04:03 And now the estimate is 24.7%.

Speaker 4: 04:07 Yes. Now they estimate is 24.7% regionally. And we see some areas within the region having unemployment rates as high as 34.8%. Even the areas that have fared the best have unemployment rates that are in the 20% range.

Speaker 2: 04:24 Have we ever seen a jump like that before?

Speaker 4: 04:28 Absolutely not. This is completely unprecedented. Uh, these type of numbers have never been seen in San Diego. Uh, the unemployment rate that we see here is pretty similar to what we had nationally during the great depression. So maybe going back as far as 1934,

Speaker 2: 04:47 you say that you use zip codes to track areas within the County that had high numbers of people filing for unemployment and you were able to tell what industries were big employers in those regions. What did that zip code tracking tell you?

Speaker 4: 05:04 Well, what it told us is that most of the people who lost their jobs are, and it's really no surprise, um, they're in industries that have close contact and they were really the ones that were impacted by the social distancing guidelines that have been put out. So there are people who are employed in things in areas like the retail industry, personal care services, uh, transportation, the airline industry, restaurants, the entertainment industry, and the hotel and motel industry.

Speaker 2: 05:35 And how does that translate to actual areas of the County? Which areas are hardest hit?

Speaker 4: 05:41 So many of the people who work in those industries, uh, those jobs in, in many cases are considered to be more blue collar workers. The areas in the region where they live and are hardest hit include, uh, the zip codes that include Logan, the college area, San Ysidro, city Heights, golden Hill and national city. So it's really that the core of San Diego, if you, if you take a look at a map is kind of from the downtown area going down to the, to the border.

Speaker 2: 06:13 And do you anticipate the unemployment rate will keep going up through the next few weeks?

Speaker 4: 06:19 You know, it's my belief that for the next couple of weeks until the state home orders are uh, lifted or at least, um, uh, loosened a little bit that we'll continue to see unemployment claims go up. And this is primarily because there, there are people who are probably unemployed right now who haven't filed and haven't shown up in the figures.

Speaker 2: 06:39 You said that even in areas that are the least hardest hit, uh, the unemployment rates are hovering around 20%. What are some of those areas?

Speaker 4: 06:49 So the areas that have done the best are really those areas where the people have jobs that can be done remotely, where people can work from home. So a lot of office workers and we see those people living in areas like Sorento Valley, Scripps ranch, Del Mar for instance, Carmel Valley, uh, the East Lake area of Chula Vista and Rancho Bernardo.

Speaker 2: 07:12 Why did SANDAG decide to jump in and gather this information before the official numbers on unemployment came out?

Speaker 4: 07:20 The reason that we did this analysis is that we wanted to understand where in the region people were getting hit the hardest. It's important for us as SANDAG because we are an association of the 18 individual cities that are here in the San Diego region along with the County, and we want to be able to give the elected officials the best information that we can so that they can make objective decisions in terms of how we come up with a recovery plan.

Speaker 2: 07:47 Now we're hearing that the state is planning a phased in reopening of business. Does that mean we should see these unemployment numbers go down quickly?

Speaker 4: 07:59 Yes. There was nothing wrong with the economy before we started to do the, the a stay at home orders. And so as we start to open up the economy, people will be hired back into the jobs that they had previously. And you'll see the unemployment rate starts to come down. I'm really hoping that we see the bottom here in the next week or two and then we see improvement happening into the summer.

Speaker 2: 08:24 Does SANDAG have an estimate on how long it may take to get the economy and jobs back on track?

Speaker 4: 08:31 We don't have a firm estimate yet because we don't have a good understanding of the timing of the phased in approach that uh, Sacramento is, is talking about when they give us exact dates. When we can start to open up, we'll be able to do some more in depth analysis. What I can tell you is that there are certain industries like the tourism industry, which the hotel motel workers, it includes the restaurants primarily the high higher end ones as well. And as well as things like SeaWorld and the zoo and entertainment, uh, places in San Diego, they will not recover as quickly as, as the rest of the economy. Um, we see that, uh, probably a lot of summer vacations have been canceled. Uh, people won't be coming to San Diego for, for tourist reasons in the next couple of months. And then business travel is probably going to be canceled, uh, in the fall. And so tourism may take a year to 18 months, maybe two years to recover.

Speaker 5: 09:32 Okay. I've been speaking with sandbags, chief economist Ray major Ray. Thank you very much.

Speaker 4: 09:39 Thank you very much.

Speaker 1: 09:44 The tension between continuing to protect public health as a shuttered economy crumbles as being brought into sharp relief by some mayors in North San Diego County. It's time they set an a teleconference yesterday to reopen hair salons, bars, gyms, golf courses and other non-essential businesses closed for more than a month amid the COBIT 19 pandemic. Joining me to discuss this is KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt, welcome. Hey Mark. We'll start with who's pushing to ease these restrictions placed by governor Gavin Newsome and broadly adhere to so far by businesses and the public across California.

Speaker 5: 10:20 Right. So we have mayors from the cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Vista, San Marcos and Oceanside. Uh, they're all sort of being organized by a San Diego County supervisor, Jim Desmond, uh, who used to be a mayor in San Marcos and represents a district five, which is much of North County there. So we're seeing a lot of these North County, the 78 corridor mayors as they call themselves, uh, sort of come together here.

Speaker 1: 10:42 And what are they saying about why we need to open these businesses right now? Some of them are emphasizing different reasons, right?

Speaker 5: 10:49 Yeah. Basically they say that this is about jobs. You know, this is about the thousands and thousands of people inside their communities, inside their cities that are out of work right now. I mean, they're saying that a lot of people are coming to them saying, Hey, when is this going to end? It's been going on long enough in our, in our communities here. I mean in Vista we have the mayor talking about how local breweries are impacted majorly. And then here's the mayor of Escondido talking about his city.

Speaker 6: 11:11 The harsh reality is we're all faced, especially in Escondido, which is a working class city with a lot of people who are not getting paychecks and they are wondering where they're there, where the money is going to be coming from to buy the essentials for their families. May 1st was the date that we sat down, but uh, I would almost phrase it as sooner is better than later. How we do this. We want the guidance of course from the County health professionals, but we can't wait forever. We need to start doing something.

Speaker 5: 11:44 Yeah. So we're seeing mayors, they're saying that they want businesses open basically as soon as possible. I mean, may one, that's this Friday.

Speaker 1: 11:50 And did uh, mayor McNamara there from Escondido, he give details of how he thinks they should happen.

Speaker 5: 11:55 No. You know, he didn't give any details about how he thinks it should happen. You know, he did say that they want to consult with the public health professionals here and you know, they're not, they're not necessarily saying they have all the answers but they definitely want to get the conversation started and started very quickly.

Speaker 1: 12:08 And S a County supervisor, Jim Desmond a what did he say about how this should be done?

Speaker 5: 12:14 Right. So supervisor Jim Desmond and keep in mind too, last week he actually brought a motion at the County board of supervisor meeting, uh, to basically have the County lobby, the state of California to start reopening come may one here. Now that motion failed, the majority of the board voted that down. So he's very anxious to get the County back open. He basically says that the situation right now is getting desperate.

Speaker 4: 12:35 We need to crack this door open, we need to start the economy going again. You know, we need a handful of businesses to be phased in and then see how it goes and then phase in the next set of businesses. And then, and then if we have a, we have a big surgery that happens later on, we're not so far out on the limb that we can't retrieve.

Speaker 5: 12:54 Right. So he's basically saying they're like, let's just give it a shot.

Speaker 1: 12:56 But as you noted, uh, uh, Desmond does not have her agreement across the board of County supervisors. Nathan Fletcher has been a spokesman through all this and these, uh, almost daily briefings. What does Fletcher have to say about opening businesses now?

Speaker 5: 13:10 Right. So yesterday at the County daily briefing, they were asked about a super expert Desmond and this coalition of mayors here and supernatural flusher basically echoed comments that a governor Newsome said earlier in the day, um, you know, saying that politics will not drive our decision making, uh, that data will, you know, their States working out this six indicators of basically looking at things like testing hospitalization rates. So the governor said yesterday, it's basically gonna be, you know, weeks. He said, he said weeks, not months before some of these nonessential businesses are going to be open, but it's not going to be anything coming down quick. And super as Fletcher. Basically echoing those comments on behalf of the County saying that, you know, if, if we loosen restrictions too early then we could see, you know, we did kind of Dodge the bullet in terms of a first big wave of cases, but you know, if we lax restrictions now, then we might see a, uh, even worse wave coming next.

Speaker 1: 13:57 Now governors like Newsome are certainly agreeing with medical experts saying massive testing is needed before restrictions can be lifted. What are these mayors and supervisor Desmond say about flying blind not knowing who's infected as businesses reopened?

Speaker 5: 14:11 Right. Well I think basically what they're saying is, Hey look, you know, there's these quote unquote essential businesses, you know, grocery stores that are able to stay open and they're implementing things like six feet social distancing. You know, we're seeing some of those screens being put up there kind of saying, Hey, you know, why can't these non essential businesses just do what they're doing and reopen in the same way? And they also talked about consumer confidence. They said, you know, they, they did realize that consumers have to have some confidence here. You know, if they said we're going to reopen businesses tomorrow, you know, that doesn't mean that everybody's going to go rush out there cause consumers have to have confidence that they're going to feel safe. The governor talked about that too, but they're really just saying, Hey, you know, it's not fair that these quote unquote essential businesses can stay open where we have all non-essential businesses that make up a large portion of the community that are all hurting here being closed for more than a month.

Speaker 1: 14:57 And do the mayors have any, uh, idea about customers or employees wishing to go back now in these non-essential businesses? Any surveys been done or indication of how customers and employees feel about it?

Speaker 5: 15:09 Right, actually, yeah, County supervisor, Jim Desmond, he's been asking for feedback from local businesses in the County about what they should do. And uh, he actually delivered to County health officials, uh, plans, uh, hundreds of plans. He says from business owners who like kind of, we were talking about saying, Hey, you know, we will wear masks, we'll take people's temperatures, we'll do whatever it is that we need to do. There is a supervisor meeting on May 5th who knows, maybe he'll make another motion to try to reopen as soon as possible.

Speaker 1: 15:35 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Thanks Matt.

Speaker 7: 15:38 Thanks Mark.

Speaker 2: 15:40 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm worrying Kavanaugh last January, which sometimes feels like a lifetime ago. San Diego conducted its annual point in time homeless count volunteers surveyed how many people were living in shelters living in their cars are completely unsheltered around the County. The results are in and the number of homeless individuals is down from last year by about 6% it's good news for San Diego and its efforts to address the problem of homelessness, but now in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic, we find ourselves in a whole different situation. Homeless people are now being housed in the convention center and in vacant hotels as a precaution against the virus, but it's unclear what the next step will be and the region's response to homelessness. Joining me is San Diego city Councilman Chris ward, who is chair of the San Diego regional task force on the homeless and Chris, welcome to the program. Thank you Maureen. Good to be with you. First. Tell us more about the decreases in the homeless population were fewer people homeless all over the County.

Speaker 7: 16:43 So that is not really the ultimate, uh, the message of what the point in time County. It is a snapshot in time that tells us basically on the same point in time every January how many people we are counting. It is helpful for us to see trends over time if we hold our methodology constant as we did, uh, compared to our 2019 methodology. And yes, the numbers for down 6% overall, 11% for those who were unsheltered. Um, it helps inform us, uh, and ties into some of the funding decisions that we see from both state and federal resources. So it's just one metric that we use in our toolbox to be able to understand the complexities around homelessness,

Speaker 2: 17:21 about how many homeless people were counted overall.

Speaker 7: 17:25 So overall, this year we counted just a little over 7,600 homeless individuals, just under 4,000 of those were unsheltered with about 36 50 who were sheltered. And so that both of, uh, the, the unsheltered number was down from about 4,500 in 2019. That was an 11% decrease.

Speaker 2: 17:47 Now the city of San Diego, a 12% drop in unsheltered population. I know that you're saying that's only one point, that's only one metric in a, and doesn't necessarily create a trend, but are you able to attribute any of that drop in the homeless population to any programs or efforts by San Diego to find housing for the homeless?

Speaker 7: 18:09 Sure. We have continued every year to ramp up our programs and efforts, looking to see where things are effective and applying new funding to really double down on some of those efforts. So for example, our family reunification program, which specifically allows people in the downtown partnership who are out there on the streets to connect with individuals who came from another area outside of San Diego County to connect them back home. That was incredibly effective. I think more than 2000 individuals over the last 24 months have been reunited. And those are 2000 individuals that are not stuck here on San Diego streets. So we applied more budget efforts last year when we had better budget times, um, to be able to double the impact and expand the reach beyond downtown. So that's just one example. We can talk about the bridge shelters and safe parking lots and all of these other investments that are all oriented around housing solutions and getting people connected. Uh, once they are stabilized to uh, you know, not be homeless anymore.

Speaker 2: 19:05 How has this point in time count helped with the region's response to the Corona virus outbreak?

Speaker 7: 19:11 That's a great question. So while we were continuing to make sure that we were deduplicating and totally understanding the data before this week's release, we actually have been using some of the information already to identify individuals who were of a frail health or older age that might be able to come into some of the motel units that the County provided to the RT FH to protect them from Coban. We wanted to make sure that we knew about densities of encampments or other hard to reach areas. So when our outreach professionals are out there trying to tell people what the challenges and the dangers of Corona virus were and that they really should want to come in and seek shelter and some of the services, we were able to have GIS mapping to be able to tell our outreach teams where to go and have maximum impact with every day that they were out there. So yes, so the data is very helpful for um, both understanding individuals but also maximizing our resources and our outreach.

Speaker 2: 20:06 Now there are about a thousand homeless individuals at the convention center now and most of those individuals were moved from shelters like the bridge shelters where social distancing was impossible to homeless individuals staying at the convention center who were asymptomatic, tested positive for covert 19. Will everyone at the convention center be tested for Covin?

Speaker 7: 20:29 Yes. So the team that is really responsible, the collaboration is responsible between the County and the city. Uh, our housing commission and the RTF each for really guiding a lot of the day to day operations and, and protocols there does want to see everybody tested there. And so, uh, we want to sure that we are, uh, using, uh, uh, testing and tracing and tracking methods, uh, for this population to keep everybody safe. And if retesting is necessary as well, we'll certainly make ourselves, um, uh, able to do that.

Speaker 2: 20:59 Conversations are underway about how and when to reopen the economy, lift, stay at home orders, what will happen to the homeless individuals in the convention center. Once the convention center returns to business as usual, we'll our housing commission

Speaker 7: 21:15 and our city staff and everybody else on the site are already underway to try to, to know that we need to really ramp up our housing connection and, and efforts to get more people that are there through the pipeline faster and connected with a known housing opportunities. At the same time, we are using, uh, the chances of having maybe some new motel, uh, acquisition that housing commission is looking at some potentially, um, interested properties right now that are distressed and are willing to sell at a, at a good deal, um, to be able to expand the total capacities.

Speaker 2: 21:49 Given that we are in a pandemic now and the unemployment rate is rising, is it possible that this crisis is actually going to increase San Diego's homelessness problem?

Speaker 7: 22:01 Thank you. It's a, it's a very, very salient point. Um, homelessness is as if root cause economic where people are not making enough to make ends meet. Um, or costs got too high and uh, on their, on their, on their lowest low salary and they were pushed into homelessness. That's how most people, uh, sadly begin a state of homelessness. So we have been very diligent as the city council, uh, to make sure that we were protecting individuals from evictions and really putting a pause that we were not introducing more individuals into a state of homelessness. We are obviously you're going to have continued pressures as you mentioned, with, uh, economic challenges going on to be able to make sure that people can stay housed. Uh, I'm interested in a, uh, housing preservation study to make sure that the, the what this, um, housing commission was able to do recently and will soon be presenting to the city council, uh, about longterm strategies to increase both our D restricted and naturally affordable housing, uh, supplies so that we can actually keep a stock reserve and able and accessible to low income individuals and families. Um, so that is definitely something that I'm mindful of and we need to monitor closely so that more people do not fall into homelessness and that we have rapid response and diversion programs that are healthy enough to meet that population's needs.

Speaker 2: 23:19 I've been speaking with San Diego city council member Chris ward and thank you so much for your time. Thank you Maureen

Speaker 8: 23:30 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 23:32 The transition to virtual learning amid the Cobra 19 pandemic has been difficult for many college students, but student veterans face some special challenges. They're often older than traditional students and juggle family

Speaker 9: 23:46 and work responsibilities with their education. Stephanie Colombini reports from the American Homefront project,

Speaker 10: 23:53 40 year old Marine Corps veteran. Travis Holt is getting ready to wrap up his first year in a master's program for social work at the university of South Florida in Tampa. He sums up the virtual college experience he's had since March. Bluntly.

Speaker 9: 24:07 Uh, it's been a nightmare. I mean it's just, I didn't sign up to do online schooling. I'm a classroom guy. I'm kind of an old school type guy.

Speaker 10: 24:19 Holt's discomfort. Learning on a screen is worsened by the fact that he lives in a rural area where he says internet access isn't great on a good day, let alone during this pandemic when most people are home trying to use it. Now Haute works out of a makeshift office in his spare bedroom and says he struggles to get assignments done with a bad connection. On top of that, he has an internship with a local veteran's nonprofit and as a husband and father to a five year old daughter who's also attending school from home now

Speaker 9: 24:47 just being a combat veteran and the trunk, Vive experience and then going to school. That's a lot period. And then you throw in all this code in 19 madness and it's like this is insane right now. Like my life is insane, right?

Speaker 10: 25:02 Holt isn't alone in feeling stressed by the disruptions. A recent survey from student veterans of America found about 90% of respondents say they're concerned Covin 19 will affect their education goals. The survey was conducted the same week Congress passed a law to protect GI bill benefits as school switched to online learning, but SBA is chief of staff. William Hubbard says many student veterans are still under financial strain.

Speaker 11: 25:28 A lot of these students are adults. They've got financial obligations, families to pay for and that's really not what the GI bill was set up to cover the cost of.

Speaker 10: 25:36 As of mid March, a third of survey respondents had lost jobs or were working less hours and that number is likely to have gone up as more stay at home. Orders were implemented across the country. Hubbard says he's also worried about graduating students who will enter a job market turned upside down by the Corona virus. He says SVA is making economic issues a priority.

Speaker 11: 25:57 The key to that is really helping our student veterans figure out what their opportunities are in this new environment that we're all working in

Speaker 10: 26:05 as VA's partnering with federal agencies and job recruiting sites to host a virtual economic opportunity summit for vets. Hubbard's does SVA. His other priority is preserving camaraderie among students are unable to gather in person at their local chapter meetings or campus med centers

Speaker 11: 26:21 and so we're focused on developing different opportunities so that they can stay connected to that community that they can avoid feeling a sense of isolation.

Speaker 10: 26:31 Student veteran Travis Holt is trying to do that through his internship at a nonprofit veterans alternative. He recently hosted a video chat session for vets to vent frustrations and share tips with one another about with online learning.

Speaker 9: 26:44 Sometimes just knowing that you're not the only one going through it is helpful.

Speaker 10: 26:50 Hold says he's lucky to have understanding professors and encourages vets to communicate with their teachers if they need assistance. As finals approach and summer courses begin.

Speaker 9: 26:59 It can be hard to reach out and ask for help and admit that you're overwhelmed, but it's worth it and it's important and it's part of taking care of yourself.

Speaker 10: 27:08 Many colleges and universities are already planning to host their summer programs virtually while some have canceled them. Holt is taking the summer off to spend time with his family. He tries not to worry about whether the Corona virus could force universities to remain online only in the fall saying student veterans need to focus on the things they can control. Right now I'm Stephanie column beanie in Tampa.

Speaker 1: 27:32 This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Mark Sauer along with Maureen Cavenaugh. Grab and go. Gardens are being distributed at four sites within San Diego County. Each garden has a tomato and lettuce seedling along with instructions in English and Spanish and how to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Nan Sterman, host of a growing passion on KPBS TV, hopes the packages will sprout a new generation of gardeners

Speaker 12: 28:08 to introduce children to growing and feeding themselves. There's a satisfaction to that. That is, it's very hard to put into words.

Speaker 1: 28:17 Also encouraging us to try our hands at gardening as the university of California master gardener program in San Diego County. They've launched an online tool to answer gardening questions. Joining me to discuss this as summer Cardiay one of the programs, master gardeners, welcome summer.

Speaker 13: 28:34 Thank you, Mark. I'm excited to be here.

Speaker 1: 28:36 So first, give us an overview of this new tool.

Speaker 13: 28:39 Okay. So with this new tool, we've acknowledged that people's lives have changed and with the stay at home orders, it makes it really difficult for us to get out in the community and educate people about home horticulture and pest management. So we've made an a OneStop, uh, where you can find all of the information in one place on our website and that that master gardener, sd.org, you can also Google us and it'll pop right up. And then on that site there's a link and it says, let's grow San Diego. So you click on that and you'll find this beautiful tomato plant with several different tomatoes representing different topics you can learn about. So what you'll do is you'll click on one of those topics and that topic will give you a plethora of information on everything you might need to know about that.

Speaker 1: 29:24 Well, if someone has a question they can't find the answer to on the site.

Speaker 13: 29:28 So we still have our ask the master gardener program running, so they can either call the hotline and that number is (858) 822-6910 or they can email us@helpatmastergardnersd.org and someone will get back to them with any questions that they have concerning any specific things to their own gardens and anything they can't find on the website.

Speaker 1: 29:54 Okay. Now it seems a lot more people are gardening since the pandemic began. It kind of invokes memories of backyard victory gardens in world war II. Is that something you're seeing? Why do you think that's happening?

Speaker 13: 30:05 Oh exactly. Yeah, I've actually, I know on a personal level I've been receiving lots of calls from friends and family. Um, I think what's happening is that this pandemic is forcing people to reassess their lifestyle and consumption choices. And a lot of people are realizing how dependent we are on others for just our basic food needs. And so I think what they're trying to do is reclaim some of that control. And uh, beyond that, some people are just looking for opportunities to teach their children something that's educational and fun while they have them at home.

Speaker 1: 30:36 And two thirds of San Diego are renters and may not have much space for gardening. What are some good things to grow in a limited amount of space?

Speaker 13: 30:43 Okay. So that's actually one of my favorite questions. If they are reality, is it that San Diego is expensive place to live and people are in apartments? So what I suggest is using your vertical space and using compact plants so people can easily grow things in hanging containers, hanging baskets, whether that's strawberries, herbs, ornamental flowers. They can also grow a smaller variety tomatoes and five gallon pots on a patio. Or if they don't have a patio, they don't have space outside at all. They can create little windowsill gardens, maybe growing some micro greens which can be harvested in as little as seven days or growing some herbs on a window seal.

Speaker 1: 31:23 And for a complete newbie who wants to just get started in gardening, what advice might you have?

Speaker 13: 31:28 So my advice is to start small, choose a few varieties that you like to eat and then start to learn about those plants and you know, through trial and error and a little, um, reading up online or educating yourself. You can learn about those you plants. And then from there expand, um, I also really recommend that you go to our online tool, the let's grow together San Diego tool and choose the tomato that says beginning vegetable gardening. And on there, it's step by step guides to how to start a garden. But it's even great for the more experienced gardener. There's a lot of information, detailed information on plants, um, a variety of plants on pest management. So it's really a great place for all gardeners, whether a newbie or experienced

Speaker 1: 32:12 on that online tool that master gardeners launched. There's activities to do with kids and they're doing schooling from home now these days. Can you give us a few examples?

Speaker 13: 32:21 So if you're a stay at home mom or dad right now? Um, I think it's a really great idea to get the kids outside in the sun and involved in gardening. Um, research shows that a lot of gardening actually connects kids to academic concepts and makes it, uh, more, more tangible for them. So some of the things they can do, they can sprout seeds and watch them grow through the different stages that a plant goes through. And what's fun is, I've noticed with my, my children at the boys and girls club and I see my sister doing this at home. When a child cares for a living thing and they watch it grow, they're super proud and excited to eat that plant once it's ready. And so we find that more children are eating healthy, nutritious vegetables that they may not have already tried. Another fun one is, is learning about the life cycle of a butterfly.

Speaker 13: 33:06 What kid doesn't like butterflies and get excited when they see them flying around. So what's really cool with this project is it teaches them how to create a paper plate craft showing the different life cycle of the, of the butterfly or the stages. And one thing that I've done with children that I find they really love is taking it a step further and actually raising the Monarch butterfly with the kids. So they gather it from the largest stage of the Caterpillar stage and watch it go through the various stages to the point where it emerges out of a Chrysalis as a beautiful Monarch butterfly. And then the kids get to gently handle those and release them out into the wild.

Speaker 1: 33:43 There's something called reminiscence, gardening. What's that? Give us a few examples.

Speaker 13: 33:47 So these are examples of things you can do with elderly. They're especially great for people with dementia or Alzheimer's. Some examples might be planting a tabletop garden in a pot. So this one's fun because they get to have all their senses stimulated, whether it's working with wonderful fragrances to the very textures and sensations of the leaves to the bright beautiful colors that really pop out from the flowers. It's something that helps them engage wind down, maybe release stress and sometimes it even connects them the smells even to something that maybe they, they used to work with when they were, when they were younger. We also have an option on there for them to grow micro greens. So that's a lot of fun because micro greens can be ready to eat in as little as seven days.

Speaker 1: 34:32 No. Any last words of wisdom for those of us testing out our green thumbs?

Speaker 13: 34:36 Absolutely. I think starting, like I said, starting out small, uh, choosing to grow things that you love to eat. I think that's really motivating. When you're watching something grow and you're waiting for it, you're excited to try that. And, and then that time comes, we actually get to harvest it. I think also taking the time to slow down and reconnect again with ourselves and with nature is really important. I think people are gonna find that the motivation might be to grow their own food and reclaim some of that control, but on the other side of that, they're also going to find that it's very therapeutic and they're going to connect in ways with their natural environment that that maybe forgot that they could do.

Speaker 1: 35:14 I've been speaking with summer Cardiay, a master Gardner in San Diego. Thanks very much.

Speaker 13: 35:18 Absolutely. I hope everybody has a lot of fun getting out there and, and groans with food.

Speaker 1: 35:23 Sure do too. Thanks.

Speaker 13: 35:30 California's second month of quarantine is well underway and even after all the live streamed concerts and DJ sets,

Speaker 2: 35:38 maybe you're still feeling a little burned out on your music collection. Well, to help KCRW invited some of their favorite local musicians to share what they've been playing at home. It's a new series kcrws private playlist. Today we spend some time in the listening room with Mia Doyle. Todd, she's an LA native who's released 10 albums under her own name and collaborated with countless others.

Speaker 8: 36:08 [inaudible]

Speaker 14: 36:08 hi, this is Mia DOI. Todd. I'm a singer, songwriter from Los Angeles. We've been sheltering in place here at our home since March 12th I was super stressed out about this new record I've been trying to make before this all started. We were in the final stages of mixing and the craziness that descends upon one when you're trying to finish up a record. And then this happened. I felt so relieved that I didn't have to deal with it for awhile. One of the big challenges has been keeping my daughter engaged and exercising during this shelter in place time. So we have a trampoline in the backyard and we set up a little sound system, a PA in the backyard so that we could play music back there and get her excited and we go on the trampoline and and turn on some Gregory Isaacs. Her favorite Gregory Isaacs track is called if I don't have you. And it's kinda like it's about her, but it's about everybody. Whoever you sing it to

Speaker 8: 37:16 [inaudible] but please do ask, you should call me Mandy. No, no, no.

Speaker 14: 37:40 We don't have a super high fire system. We have like a technics table and then we have these old wooden speakers. I think they're from the seventies so we definitely have a vintage sound going on in the living room. We recently moved most of the vinyl back into the living room and set up the turntables there in a more functional way and we've been enjoying pulling them out and listening.

Speaker 8: 38:10 [inaudible]

Speaker 14: 38:10 I've been wanting to listen to Milton Nascimento, this Brazilian artists that I really love and he for me is like the voice of mother nature and the way that humans are a part of mother nature speaking. Milton has a self titled album that he recorded in Los Angeles, actually in Malibu in 1976. Wayne shorter's on that album, Herbie Hancock. It's more a record and Milton's voice is so beautiful and um, it just gets to the heart of emotion and intuitiveness. I've been enjoying sitting and knitting the last couple of weeks and listening to music, you know, putting on whole albums like I used to do on vinyl and listening to side one and then listening to side two and maybe then listening to side three and four and just taking the time that I haven't had the chance to. And it's a way to like look inside yourself and uh, I've been enjoying that introspection. There's another artist that I really love. [inaudible] there are so many emotions going through me every day about the situation we're in. And I've been going back to Brazilian music over and over again for that complexity of emotion and in car Tolas music, I hear all the, the longing and sadness and happiness and expectation and in every note of his voice, and there's a song I love called precedes me and Contra on a self titled album of his from 1976.

Speaker 8: 40:54 [inaudible] [inaudible]

Speaker 14: 40:54 I've also been really into Laraaji's essence universe album. For me, the music of Laraaji is very cosmic and universal. It's like a teaching kind of music, a healing kind of music.

Speaker 8: 41:38 [inaudible].

Speaker 14: 41:38 He has another album called vision songs, and it has all these inspirational kind of sutras, you know, and uh, there's a certain song on vision songs. It's a version of his own Namah Shivaya.

Speaker 8: 41:56 [inaudible] [inaudible], [inaudible] [inaudible].

Speaker 14: 42:21 There's another album, not very well known called [inaudible], like the secrets of the plants. It's by DeRosier Marcus, another Brazilian artist. It's a very long and dreamy album, and I could listen to that over and over again. That's a gorgeous one.

Speaker 8: 42:54 [inaudible] that

Speaker 2: 42:59 was musician Mia DOI. Todd speaking to KCRW from her home in Los Angeles. Links to the songs you heard can be found on our website. kpbs.org.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.