We’ve Got To Get Back To The Garden

Kamran Taleb, host of ‘Back to the Garden’

Disc jockey Kamran Taleb finds inspiration while inspiring others through his two programs on Kaua’i community radio station KKCR

Kamran Taleb always finds time to stop and smell the flowers, and he inspires others to do the same through his volunteer work at Kaua’i community radio station KKCR.

Twice weekly, Taleb serves as disc jockey at the station. Wednesdays at noon he hosts Back to the Garden, and Sundays at 10 a.m., The Oasis.

“Without the creative expression, I’d explode,” he says regarding why he chooses to spend so much of his time in service to the community. “When we’re contributing, we become our real selves.”

An avid gardener, on his Wednesday program Taleb explores the many topics of cultivating flora.

During the hourlong show, a panel of volunteers answers the phones and explores questions such as how to grow cherry tomatoes.

When you’re gardening, he says, you’re living in the moment, which is what he enjoys most about the outdoor activity.

“That’s why I keep bragging about gardening,” he says. “It’s not just the food we eat; it’s the time you spend, those moments with nature. It’s really a time you’re spending with your soul. You get peaceful. You literally become a wise child at play, with the added benefits of getting the food.”

Taleb always finds time to stop and smell the flowers. Coco Zickos photos

Taleb also delves into the topic of composting during the show.

Describing himself as a “religious compost maker,” there is no doubt in his mind that it is a step humanity should be taking in reducing its waste. Some 40 percent of our garbage is biodecompostable and part of the waste stream.

“Most of us are so lazy and spoiled, we don’t want to deal with that stuff,” laments Taleb.

But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Taleb can turn decomposing soup, banana skins and rotten, discarded food into sweet-smelling, earthworm-filled black dirt.

“It’s just an art when you do it right and you’re not rushed,” he says.

Sunday’s show, The Oasis, while different in content, promotes the same underlying message of not hurrying through life. The two-hour program consists of soothing world music and words from poets of ancient times such as Rumi.

“I call it a giant flying carpet,” Taleb jokes. “The music soothes you and the words charge you.

“We’re so void of culture and meaning,” he adds as he explains what motivates him to conduct the show. “We’ve tried the material path and we’ve come to this cul-de-sac. Many rich people who are so well-to-do, they’re so empty. So spirituality is on the rise by nature, natural selection and by default.”

Born in Iran, Taleb spent the first 14 years of his life there until he attended boarding school in England in 1972.

Of his distinctive accent, he quips, “It’s just enough for people not to know where it’s from.”

Taleb moved to California in 1976, but returned to Iran in 1979 during the revolution, where he was “stuck” for two-and-a-half years.

“I saw incredible stuff,” he says.

He returned to the United States in 1981 and eventually in 1997 made his way to Kaua’i, where he had family.

The Kilauea resident started his volunteer work at KKCR almost immediately after he arrived on the island and has been hosting the same two programs ever since.

“I’ve been kind of training for it all my life,” he says. “It’s like second nature.”

As a child, Taleb would record cassettes with commentary, and he liked to take a video camera with him and walk through the desert conducting interviews.

Eliciting emotion from listeners is what he still enjoys most.

“That makes me feel like I’m earning my keep,” he says. “It’s a sweet thing.”

He also likes to perpetuate the knowledge of growing food on an island that relies heavily on imports. If people can provide even 10 to 30 percent more of their food needs, “one thing can lead to another,” he says.

Taleb would like to create a Kaua’i eco energy park where the community can gather to collect food, relax in the park or even learn about how wind turbines work. But even he sometimes has trouble finding time to actualize his goals.

“Time is passing so quickly,” he says. “Next thing I know, it’s Monday morning.”

Visit www.kkcr.org for more information.