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That's what she said

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Ed Jabari, engineer and social activist says he’s a unique combination of left and right brain thinking


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Candidate Ed Jabari has long been an environmental activist. Jabari runs The Secret Garden, a garden and community gathering space in north Boulder

Candidate Ed Jabari has long been an environmental activist. He runs The Secret Garden, a garden and community gathering space in north Boulder. (Photo courtesy Ed Jabari)

Ed Jabari’s first brush with activism happened when he was an engineering student at the University of California’s Berkeley campus.

He joined an environmental activist movement to protect northern California’s Headwaters Forest and its redwoods from clearcutting.

“I was so appalled by what was going on,” Jabari recalls. “It was my first foray into activism. It was an example of how corporate greed uses a broken system to exploit and control Earth’s resources, and I was extremely passionate about it.”

Jabari—an engineer, entrepreneur and small business owner who is running for Boulder City Council—said the experience helped shape him as an activist.

He was also involved in a movement to protect San Diego’s Rose Canyon, opposing a road through the canyon that he says would have devastated wildlife.

Jabari, 43, has lived in Boulder for 6 years, and he says he’s running for council for a myriad of reasons. He wants to create sustainable, walkable communities; improve affordable housing options, ensure reliable transportation, support non-profits and businesses, promote the arts and preserve open space.

The father of two daughters—Ava, 16 and Olivia, 12—has a background in engineering, and he has experience in planning, developing and designing public works projects.

Shortly after coming to Boulder, he became involved in the medical marijuana industry, running the Village Green Society. Medical marijuana regulations were constantly in flux, and, compounded with other issues, doomed the business. He eventually sold the shop.

Now, Jabari is running The Secret Garden in North Boulder, a garden center and fair trade gift seller that doubles as a community gathering space for events like farm-to-table dinners, concerts, art walks and more.

“One of my passions is creating this community space where people come together and share their culture and art in an authentic way,” he says.

Supporters, who have provided testimonies for his campaign website edjabari.com, say he has a good pulse on what makes Boulder special in cultural, artistic environmental and familial ways and would be a strong representative of the working class in Boulder, as well as those who are involved with small businesses.

Jabari says he’s unique in that he taps both the left and right sides of his brain, with interests in technology as well as a passion for people, culture and the arts as well as protecting the Earth’s resources.

Jabari has been working since age 15, when he got his first job at a burger joint in La Jolla, California. He started renting his first apartment at age 17. Having come from a broken home and surviving an abusive childhood, he saw a “full spectrum of life and cultures” and experienced various socioeconomic statuses. He lived abroad, lived with nannies and attended boarding schools.

“My whole life has been extremely unconventional, and it’s been an epic journey of survival and self-discovery,” he says.

The experiences of his youth helped teach him compassion, he says.

Jabari, in his free time, enjoys hiking in the foothills, taking his family to the hot springs, camping, biking, meditating and playing music with friends.

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