Interview: South Windsor Food Alliance


Today, I am going local with my blog post.

Last summer I helped man the master gardener desk at the South Windsor Farmer’s Market and folks often mentioned Andy Paterna’s  tireless energy on behalf of this Alliance.

I had the privilege the other day of interviewing Andy Paterna, a driving force for the South Windsor Food Alliance (SWFA): Healthy Food System Project.

The SWFA is a grassroots alliance between local residents that supports local farming and related farming ventures. They have a vision that any community can adopt, one that can support our farmers, provide education to our communities including schools. We, the community, benefit enormously.

Their purpose includes: “increase awareness regarding the health benefits of residents eating locally grown foods and to make the connection between where our food comes from and the local farms that have been an important link in the town’s history.”

What is their vision?

It has four parts much like the medicine wheel I write about.

  1. Economic viability for small-scale farmers and food producers.
  2. Based on sustainable farming practices.
  3. Provide healthy-locally grown food for residents.
  4. Develop a circular system: planting seeds > grows vegetables > waste > yields compost.

To this I would add that compost creates sustainable soil, better water absorption that deters water runoff, and ultimately cleans the air. This vision backed by community support, ensures our children will have land and food, health and agricultural understanding for generations to come.hey work with the town’s Park and Recreation department and the local agricultural land preservation advisory committee. Their outreach is extensive too. SWFA has established a farmer’s and artisan market, seek to develop schoolyard gardens, and a green rooftop project.

Eventually they hope to establish a food co-op and food hub for their area along with an Agricultural Arts and Nature Center.

These goals are in operation. The Farmers Market is a mecca for local and fresh produce, music and crafts, grows and shifts with community need. The Farm Museum and Coop are in the development stages. Through various agency cooperative efforts a local farm, fallow for twenty years, is being revived.

Exciting isn’t it. It is with one community’s efforts and vision at a time that we are making a difference in food production.  Their plan is to promote sustainable agricultural practices that move us away from GMO seed and mono crop farming.

Sustainability means: a development which seeks to produce sustainable growth while ensuring future generations ability to do the same by not exceeding the regenerative capacity of their nature.

My Native American elders repeated over and over that what we do affects the next seven generations. Today is the day to act. I will be speaking on Medicinal Herbs for the Alliance in May and hopefully be presenting at the Farmer’s Market as well as promoting my book: At the Garden’s Gate. All classbutterfly-floweres are and will be posted on my website.

What is your vision for your home and community? As always all comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. © all rights reserved. Including photos.





Syntropy: A Wholesome Association ( with Nature)

 Syntropy in Farming


Organic Consumer Association posted this short video on syntropy, working with the natural order of nature to reclaim waste land in productive healing ways.

Syntropy is defined as:” a formation of  a series of similar parts having the same orientation”

This film demonstrates how we can produce the food we need by following nature’s example. The farmer highlighted, is showing us in concrete and scientific ways, how these practices promote soil regeneration, water conservation and in general,  demonstrate abundant renewal from what appears to be wasted land. His forest rebuilds soil, which holds water better and actually increases rainfall to that area!

The other day I listened to Jean Houston’s you tube titled” Baffled No More” where she encourages us to put aside last century ideas, thought habits and fears in order to reveal our true potential. We are under a spell of fear, sadness over the many problems we perceive yet its the very problems that stimulate and stir up the creative fires we all possess. She encourages us to come up out of this cultural haze of fear and do something. She reminded me that many positive changes are occurring. This film is one example of how folks are making a difference for us and for this beautiful, beloved place we call home, one forest farm at a time.

Last year I offered three classes on Healing In and With Nature that focused on concepts of renewing our partnership with nature. My Native American elders taught me that nature has the answers for us if we but observe, listen and follow her lead. These classes went well and I will post 2016 schedule. I was interviewed by Stacy Zankin at WESU, 88.1 FM, here in CT in December. We discussed the concept of the holistic nature of the earth and us. We are governed by the same principles.

My Book, At the Garden’s Gate, brings up the issues of nature spirits, intelligent presences that guide us if we are open to them. It is my hope that I can be a part of creating bridges between the science with the mystical. There is an intelligence in nature that we can work with in cooperation. I am excited by these farms and their regenerative gifts. Hope is not lost for what they contribute will affect the next seven generations in positive healing ways.

As always your comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith


Upcoming Fall Classes

goldenrod resizedFall Classes

Healing In and With Nature: 

Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm

Saturday September 12th 10-1 pm: Wolcott, Ct

Gardens and meadows, forests and waterways provide a rich and vast array of nutrients, medicine and magic. How many of us feel at peace and more centered, grounded even, when in our gardens, or on a hike in the nearby forests? How many of us are saddened by the misuse of our lands, and waterways and/or troubled by the rate of species disappearing?

This presentation will focus on the intelligence in nature and how we can copartner with nature to reclaim land spaces or utilize our land spaces in such a way that consciously acknowledges this intelligence. We are holistic beings. Nature too is governed by holistic principles. Gardening and caretaking our landscapes in sustainable ways not only brings healing to air, soil and water quality but to ourselves as well.

 For more information go to:


Lawns Into Meadows: October 5

Vernon, Ct at Uconn Ag Station:

Lawns consume tremendous amounts of resources. Meadows repair soil and prevent erosion, are drought resistant, support abundant wildlife species and even provide edible and medicinal plants. Meadows provide diversity, and that diversity contains a sophisticated set of checks and balances that create and embody holistic relationships among its components. This program will focus on easy steps to turn a portion of lawn into wildflower landscape. Five plants will be highlighted for their edible uses.

For more information go to:


Spirit Matters: Manchester, CT

October 13 8:15- 7:45 pm: Dreaming with the Muse

October 27: 7:15-8:45 pm Partnering with Nature

For more information go to:

Book: At the Garden’s Gate available at all esites. Amazon, B&N, Kobe

Local: Willimantic Food Coop, Willimantic, CT   Red & White, Tolland Green Tolland, Ct

Nature’s Grocer, Vernon, Ct      Thistle Glass shop, Ellington, Ct

Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. Go to website for more class and book signing information.© all rights reserved.


Healing In and With Nature: Sept 12th


Hi Everyone, Here’s an upcoming event at Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm. I am delighted and honored to be a part of this farm’s programs. The folks who run it, Lisa Corson and Doc Warren are positive, loving people who have a vision and are creating that vision. I will also be book signing at this event.

Saturday: September 12th 10-1

Location: Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm

Woodtick Rd Wolcott, CT


Judith Dreyer, master gardener, teacher, and author of At the Garden’s Gate, will give an interactive workshop at Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm about Healing in and with Nature! In this workshop, Judith will take us outside into our own farmland to teach us about the wisdom of the 4 directions (north, south, east, west), what the land and its plants can teach us (reverence, gratitude), and how we can be in the land for our own healing and well-being.
Only $15 for this awesome morning event! Register and pay online, or pay at the door.

To register:

Sponsored in part by Winterberry Gardens!

Hope to see you there.


Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener.  Go to for more information on upcoming classes, book signings and consultation services.© all rights reserved