An Energy Conscious Business

About The First Law

The First Law is in reference to conservation of energy. The First Law will teach you where energy comes from and how it can be used.

Horticulture

The First Law will introduce you to themes, in the horticulture industry, such as gardening, landscape architecture, and permaculture practices.

Sustainability

The First Law is your resource for finding more sustainable ways to live.

Projects

Need some help with your next project? Explore some of my previous projects or inquire about how The First Law can serve you.

America The Beautiful: Part 1

For those of you who don’t know me personally, you may not know that family is a huge part of my life. I come from a family in East Africa, where my parents had over a dozen siblings, each. I have a modest 5 siblings. We are all very close, and they are all apart of some of my best travel stories. My childhood was peppered with roadtrips to various parts of the North America; from Orlando, Texas, Memphis, and Toronto to name a few. My most recent journey will take us back to October 2015 to a great celebration of love. My sister, Kulthum, has found her other half in our childhood friend, Sean. They decided to further their commitment with a Nikkah. A Nikkah is a religious wedding ceremony that serves as a sacred act and legal agreement that can be witnessed by the two joining families. IMG_5431 My father, Yusuf, graciously hosted the Mohamedali’s and Mcnamara’s so our houses could join. It was a quick, simple, ceremony and my sister looked beautiful. IMG_2294IMG_5479 Coffee and chocolates are standard at every event by my family. IMG_5481 The lovely Dee Thurner made all the arrangements for the special day (Black Eyed Susan Design). IMG_2303

IMG_2304 We had such an amazing time on this day. IMG_2318

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The next day my brother and I said our “see you later’s” to our friends and family before leaving on our cross country journey. I planned a route using an app, RoadTrippers, which would take me through as many national parks as possible. IMG_20160307_203020 We were leaving from Allentown, Pennsylvania, heading to Los Angeles, California, with hopes to visit a handful of friends and family along the way.

Destination 1 & 2: Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Cleveland Ohio
A long journey east through Pennsylvania to Ohio, along with it being a brisk day, led us to decide to take one short hike before continuing on to Cleveland. IMG_5643 We hiked around the Brandywine Falls and enjoyed the peaceful sounds of the flowing water and chirping birds. Great first hike! A goal of mine on this journey was to see how America is producing their energy at different levels. IMG_5661 The Great Lakes was a prime example of how easily wind energy can be harvested in certain locations. First Energy Stadium and the Great Lakes Science Center both have huge windmills to power their facilities. We had a quick chance to sightsee before the rain came down hard, and then started a long drive to Kentucky to set up camp.

Destination 3: Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Caves, in Kentucky, is the largest cave system in the world. There are 405 miles of explored area, with an estimated over 1,200 miles of potentially accessible caves. We went on one short journey into the caves, but the future may hold a spelunking journey for me in these caves. While picture taking was difficult, I can tell you that we witnessed cave crickets, some bats, and breathtaking natural formations.
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An early start left us with plenty of sunlight for a hike above the caves. The National Park has quite the topography of rolling hills, streams, and heavily wooded forests. IMG_5700 The butterflies were abundant and the canopies were majestic. IMG_5705
IMG_5701 We had hopes of visiting my friend Neal and getting deep dish pizza in Chicago, so, on the road again.

Destination 4: Chi-town
The journey to Chicago made this trip start to feel like something bigger. Our drive through Indiana took us into the sunset with miles and miles of countless windmills. IMG_5707 We had entered the open country and it started to dawn on us how far our destinations were from each other. It was a good reminder to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, and to take moments to stop the car and reflect. IMG_5713 We bought 3 deep dish pizzas on our way to spend the night with Neal and his brother. Our main destination was to see Millennium Park, but we also wanted to see more of Chicago. We rented bikes for the day and easily put 10 miles on them just cruising around the city. IMG_5729 IMG_5747 Chicago is beautiful, with its huge sculptures, amazing art, bustling activity, and delicious food. IMG_5727 If you live in the Northeast, make it a point to visit this culture filled city. We ate Chicago dogs, and then chased the sunset to a frozen lake. IMG_5769
On the road again.

Destination 5: Dawson, Minnesota
We decided to stay with my sister and her kids for a couple days. A mild October allowed me to take my niece on walks, and teach her about Sumacs. IMG_5787 We got to enjoy some quality time together, but I had a timeline to follow.

Destination 6: Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls drew me to a state I had never been in, South Dakota. IMG_5806 It is arguably the quietest city I have ever been in. Like I do on most hikes, I followed the water uphill. It led us into town where we found a Michelangelo replica. IMG_5826 The town had time capsules scattered about and wall art for days. IMG_5840IMG_5831 We spent time watching the falls go through the old Sioux Falls Light & Power Hydroelectric plant and thought how inspiring it was that in 1908 we had the ability to power all the lights and street carts in a town with a single small plant. IMG_5853

IMG_5860 Sioux Falls now has a place in my heart.

Destination 7: Badlands National Park
One badass place, in the middle of the prairie. IMG_5900 Our long drive from Sioux Falls got us through South Dakota in time for a sunset at the beginning of our drive into the National Park. IMG_5912 The pinks and oranges in the clouds during the sunset provided much tranquility on our search for our campground. The dirt roads and lack of lights made it one bumpy, blind ride along cliff sides. IMG_5920 We awoke to grazing buffalo in the field across us, and gave us a warm Midwest welcome. We saw many wild rodents, buffalo, rams, butterflies, and cacti on our hike from sunrise to sunset. We set up camp for the night before heading to the black hills.

Destination 8 and 9: Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse
My next two stops were on the western edge of South Dakota. We first stopped at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. IMG_5998 It was the ultimate experience to walk down to the base, and see it up close on a hike through the evergreen forest. To learn about the construction methods of this national monument was awe-inspiring. Brave men hung off cliff faces, blasting dynamite, using jackhammers, and wedges to finish off the faces. IMG_6032 The compressors for the jackhammers and the pipeline from the original construction process can still be observed at the monument.
Having visited Mount Rushmore, I felt it imperative to visit Craze Horse Monument. IMG_6045 This monument is a private endeavor, and will be the largest sculpture in the world. If you want your breath taken away, then visit this site. It dwarfs Mount Rushmore, and could even fit the Sphinx at Giza inside of it! It will still be years until it is finally finished, so another visit down the line will be in order. IMG_6046 Both of these sculptures in South Dakota can be found in Custer County. One can find beautiful hikes and huge caves there in the Black Hills, which makes it a popular destination in South Dakota. As the sun began to set, we got on the road once again, with Denver in sight.

Destination 10: Denver, Colorado
About this time, my brother and I had started to crave a bed to sleep in and some home cooked meals. We headed to Arvada to stay with Ian, my college roommate. His mom makes a mean taco lasagna that I waited 5 years to have for a second time. It was not a disappointment. We made little plans other than eating good food, hitting all the thrift shops in hopes to find some gear from Vale, and to go to a comedy show. A friend from upstate New York, Tillman, had relocated to Denver and recently had a birthday. He joined us at the comedy show where we got to see Pete Davidson from SNL and Jordan Rock (Chris Rock’s younger brother). We enjoyed many laughs together until my cheeks hurt. Our hopes were to visit and climb Pikes Peak. It is the highest summit of the southern front range of the Rocky Mountains. Terrible weather and hazardous road conditions prevented us from driving up the mountain, so we moved on to Wyoming.

Check back soon to read the second half of my journey out west!

New blog, new beginnings


The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club, but you are not Jack’s wasted life. The first law of energy states that energy can not be created, neither can it be destroyed.  What it can do is change in form, potentially giving off heat and gases as a result. This law of energy movement is the foundation of The First Law. Everything that we know is existing in some form of energy. From the food that we eat, the sun rays that warm our skin, to the gasoline that fuels our automobiles. The first law will explore the different forms by the study of horticulture, landscape architecture, permaculture practices, and may highlight a little bit of political activism because it’s important to ensure that our elected officials know that we as a human race deserve to live on a more sustainable earth.

I will take this first entry as an opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Jabir Mohamedali, and no, no relation. While pursuing my degree I became very interested in urban gardening.  I interned at Crane Arts Company, where I learned about growing vegetables in an urban setting, maintaining gardens, and the value of permeable paved parking lots in alleviating the pressures on the municipalities storm water systems.  I began to study the benefits and construction methods of green roofs and green walls and how we could use them to make Philadelphia a better city to live in.  After graduating, I worked with Urban Jungle as their Horticulturist planting residential, commercial, and non-profit gardens that can be seen around Philadelphia.  I now serve as an Ecological Landscape Professional while also being the Sole Proprietor of a small business, The First Law.  My goal is to make efficient, small space gardens in Philadelphia.  I have spent the last 6 months developing a soil blend for Bennett Compost through various experiments with their compost, which is sourced from Philadelphia residents and businesses.

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My ambitions now are aimed towards food production. I have been offered a farmer position for a CSA in a Bucks County homesteading community. I am deeply humbled and anxious to start using soil, water, and seed to feed 13 families. I write this a week before I leave on a cross country trip with my older brother Ali, who has been a big influence on my life. His passion, love, and dedication to family, community, and donating his time has been inspiring.  I look forward to spending nearly 3 weeks on our road trip to California.

While I’m happy to have the opportunity to spend the time with him, we will be saying see you later for the last time in 3 months.  Bittersweet, because I’m flying off to Hawaii to work for 4 months!  Some of you are thinking, “wait… I know math. Something doesn’t add up.” Well, for those of you who don’t know me very well, my sister is having a Maui beach wedding on my birthday week, so I’ll be seeing family and friends for my birthday week! I’ll spend one more month abroad then return in the Spring to farm and grow in Pennsylvania.

My hopes are to experience organic farming in tropical climates, but will begin with an opportunity to work on beautiful properties while I search the islands. I’m excited to start this journey, and I invite you to join me.

Feel free to email me with any suggestions questions or comments @ JabirM1989@gmail.com