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Monday, October 2, 2017

New Chapter, Old Manure

There are so many photos I could start with for posting on this new chapter... so why not start with an image that represents the decay and renewal of life? Behold- COMPOST. 4-year-old composted manure gold one story high. Patiently waiting for the field. This pile sits on the land we're renting, lovingly collected by the sweet landlady who grew up on the property, on Haudenosaunee territory in Niagara. It's the result of the love and care she lavishes on her sweet llamas, alpacas, and teensy horses. Organic and healthy and vibrant. I am in no way a farmer and would never pretend I am, but I aspire to learn and grow along with our tiny plot on this farm, my sweat and most likely my blood offered up in service to the plants, which are being grown for my community to eat, to make medicines, and to beautify life.
I have always been told and appreciate that it's best to grow your own plants/food, and make your own medicines. It's a lovely sentiment and we can do that in a multitude of ways from a pot sitting in the light on a sill, wildcrafting ethically, or joining a community garden. I have reached this point in my life- right now- where access to this land and this lifeway is a privilege I need to acknowledge. I want to, and aim to, facilitate this connection for those who don't have:
  • the time (because they work 2 jobs to keep marginally healthy food on the table,)
  • space (because they live in an area where they don't have access to clean/healthy land,)
  • energy (because they give so much of themselves and serve their community in other ways,)
  • or assets (be they financial or otherwise, because learning this knowledge and accessing the space/time/energy/knowledge to learn and grow sometimes cost a pretty penny.)
I'm doing this in a few ways- first, I'll be starting a small-scale organic farm using traditional Indigenous agricultural methods (some might call this "Permaculture" and "Biodynamics") this spring to grow medicines for my community, my own practice that serves my community, and to support a few small local/bioregional medicine makers and healers who don't have access to or time for medicine growing/making because they're so busy serving our communities. Second, I am co-developing a mobile herbal clinic to provide access to herbal medicine to underserved communities in the Niagara/Hamilton region. Third, I am dedicating a portion of the farm's production to the Niagara Farm Project, a local organic collective of urban farmers who produce food for the Niagara community (who I am also writing a manual on herbal gardening for in the coming months.) There's so much more coming on the Ethnobotany/Anthropology side, but that's for another post. For now, this will do. It's a start!

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