Blog: 25th Anniversary of Untied Plant Savers 2019

 

 

 

 

Plant saving, plant preservation for future generations are just two of the goals for United Plant Savers. Those of us in the herbal field rely on their up to date ‘at risk’ and ‘to watch’ plant list. Rosemary Gladstar and other concerned herbalists created an organization that was/is deeply concerned about the depletion of our plant populations. They began twenty -five years ago, in 1994, when herbalism experienced a resurgence. Many wild plants hit the airwaves like St John’s Wort and others creating intense demand. These grass root herbalists took their concerns, created UpS, United Plant Savers, and put those concerns into action.

In Rutland Ohio, the first UpS sponsored botanical sanctuary was born where species like American Ginseng, Goldenseal and others are propagated and replanted all over the country. Today many sanctuaries exist all over our country including personal backyards all the way to well known botanical gardens, all striving to propagate, educate their communities on the importance of respecting and using plants with mindfulness to species needs.

UpS also offers the opportunity to apply for grant money to fund your community project. It worked for me. Two years ago, with the grant money awarded to the  Garden Path Garden Club in Tolland CT, we created the Turtle Teaching Circle. With parents help and students, a 20′ diameter circle was placed near the children’s garden with 12 stumps marking the places on a typical native American Wheel. Each place on the wheel has a trail quality sign featuring an ‘at-risk’ or ‘to-watch’ plant native to New England. The project is near a community trail with easy handicap access. Students are taught about gardening and seed saving.

We still see a decrease in plant populations due to popularity. I have been to the sanctuary in Rutland Ohio. Meadows and woodlands, forest and trails highlight the diverse habitats needed to preserve ‘at-risk- plants and more. They offer classes in herbalism with experts guiding foraging experiences that are respectful of habitat, plant-specific needs, and place in complex ecosystems. Sustainable regenerative gardening practices are key to the survival of our plants.

I hope you will go to their website and explore their articles, their resources and maybe get to one of their events. They will be honored and highlighted at this year’s International Herb Symposium in MA. If you use herbal supplements and garden, add another herb to your planting list this year to conserve our plant resources. If you use herbal supplements and don’t garden, please consider a donation to UpS.

I have been a member off and on for these past 25 years. We are activists, environmentalists, herbalists, folks who simply care about this earth and her resources, each in his or her own way. Check them out. This is a fantastic time for the organization, a time of honoring the work done and where and how we need to focus today on our journey, our partnership with the earth.

Enjoy. Judith

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Mark Shepard, Founder of Restoration Agriculture Development

Description: This is exciting! Folks out there are working diligently every day to protect, build and maintain viable healthy ecosystems and produce food. Meet Mark Shepard who founded Restoration Agriculture Development, RAD, in order to save viable ecosystems while growing nutrient-rich food. His approach with his team is to imitate the structure and function of the specific ecosystem’s natural plant communities while utilizing the appropriate agroforestry and water management techniques to produce an agricultural yield. While restoring carbon sequestration, water purification, and infiltration, nutrient cycling occurs while supporting, maintaining and preserving biodiversity. Individually, taking steps to support biodiversity, adds up to big results. I am excited to learn more about how company’s like Mark’s educate and support better agriculture development and maintain various ecosystems we desperately need today.  This is hopeful, positive progress. Please share!

About My guest: Mark Shepard with RAD: Restoration Agricultural Development:
RAD is a full-service environmental consulting, research, and development firm committed to developing agricultural ecosystems that provide nutritious food for humankind while enhancing the life-supporting ecosystem services of planet Earth. Mark Shepard has over 30 years of experience in environmental consulting, production agriculture, and real estate development. Together, RAD has worked on 100+ projects in multiple climates across 4 continents. Through active ecosystem management, RAD combines ecological restoration with agricultural development to improve your landscape.

Transcript:  #46 Mark Shepard (1)

Blog: Korean Natural Farming: An Introduction

Nature heals itself. If we give crops, plants, everything they need to thrive we reap the benefit of vitally strong, healthy plants some of which are the foods we eat. My guest this week, Nigel Palmer, soil and garden consultant for The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition, mentions Korean Natural Farming or KNF. Curious I decided to do some research and found out it’s a farming model based on holistic principles. This system encourages us as gardeners and even large-scale farms to use what’s close at hand. Nearby forest compost, weeds cost nothing, making it easy to obtain and use.

This short documentary gives clear explanations of some of the fermented products used and why they are loved by plants. When we ferment with natural sugars, which mimics natural plant exudates, plants thrive. This system has recipes that create specific products such as IMO’s, which means  Indigenous Micro-organisms using rice, sugar, plant materials. I know I am going to make something, maybe only one product but hopefully more for my next growing season. I am going to look into what I can apply to my garden beds, closed down now, in preparation for the New England winter.

Easy, economical, using plant materials indigenous to our local area supports the plant kingdom’s needs and ours, truly holistic.
Have any of you looked into KNF? I would love to hear from you.

Remember to please like, share and comment. It’s appreciated.
Enjoy. Judith

Blog: Do Trees Breathe?

 

 

 

I am fascinated with trees. There’s new and maybe not so new research showing us their complexity and their extensive ecosystems that exist beyond our ordinary senses. We know they communicate through their root systems to each other. They send nutrients to a family member in need. They will also share water. Roots are connected by a mycorrhizal hypha network of fungi creating a kind of highway and inner net within the soil beneath the forest floor. Debris and leaves, insects and critters, microscopic nutrients and various species exist within the canopy of a forest and its layers. Mother trees help and support their young ones. And did you know they can cry when in need?

My guest this week, Lois Grasso, author, and transformational breath practitioner spoke about using the power of our breath as a healing modality. We can get stuck emotionally and hold our breath, maybe not dramatically but enough to block our connection to the best part of self. Since this blog and podcast series: Holistic Nature of Us is concerned with all the parts functioning optimally here within us as a human being and within all aspects of this planet, I wondered about trees. Air is an element that governs this planet. There would be no breathable air without our plant kingdoms.

She got me thinking about trees, our relationship with them and how they are suffering today. I read a report through my Master Gardener office last week that trees here in CT are suffering. In certain areas, they got hit two years in a row with gypsy moth infestations. The first year of the moths we were in our second year of a drought. Both factors weaken a tree, both factors open the door to their demise. When growing by roadways, they pose a hazard if and when they should topple over. The cost to remove them is also a factor that towns and the state have to consider for budget concerns.

But let’s get back to breath and breathing. Our first breath gives us life. Without our breath, we cease to exist. Our first responders know only too well that evaluating our breathing is critical to triage work. Life and death are only one breath away. How does a tree breathe? The leaves on trees and needles on our conifers have narrow slits on their undersides, openings that allow them to exhale and inhale. Roots can do the same thing too.

” A tree breathes through its leaves using chlorophyll, the substance that makes leaves green. Chlorophyll absorbs CO2 from the air and uses it alongside water to break down minerals absorbed through the tree’s roots. While trees do not technically breathe, respiration is comparable to inhaling air into the lungs and photosynthesis is comparable to exhaling.” (From youtube video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXTYZpZNqrA)

We inhale O2 and exhale CO2 due to complex cellular processes. Trees use CO2 to make food and release O2 in this process which is photosynthesis.

BeaTzJooDy / Pixabay

What happens at night when the sun goes down? Since photosynthesis relies on sunlight to
ignite the metabolic processes within plants, photosynthesis ceases and trees breathe in O2. too.
So they exhale O2 during the day but need O2 at night.

We take breathing for granted. Breathing can be soft or filled with emotion. There’s nothing like the soft gentle breath of a newborn babe. You could say breath is connected to touch. Trees breathe and we can feel the breath of a forest that maybe quite literally takes our breath away.

I hope you will breathe with more mindfulness today and awareness that trees breathe too. During the day we have a breathing relationship with them: we breathe in O2 and exhale CO2 while trees breathe in our CO2 and give us O2. We are connected in very profound ways.

Remember all comments are appreciated. Please like and share. Thanks.
Judith

 

 

 

 

 

Blog: Small Farmers Make a Big Difference

 

 

 

 

 

My guest this week, Gunther Hauk and I talked about the detrimental effects climate warming is having on our planet. His farm is based on biodynamic principles. I had the privilege of visiting Spikenard Farm, Honeybee Sanctuary a few years ago. Set upon a hilltop in the Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounded by an organic farm, forests, creates a safe haven for many critters and plant species including honeybees. These folks create a deep reverence for nature and all its species. Here’s a link to an upcoming biodynamic farming class.

However, we ask tough questions: Are we doing enough?  Are we doing enough in a timely enough fashion to make a difference?

I trust and hope my podcast series: Holistic Nature of Us is making a difference in some measure to remind all of us how precious nature is to us. There is a hidden genius and an intelligence in nature that we have ignored as we focused on building a strong economy, developing an industrial based society. Today we need to look at the whole, how everything we do impacts everything on this planet.  ( photo, courtesy J Dreyer, Spikenard Farm, Beehives)

Enjoy this short yet informative video about how small farmers contribute to the solutions we desperately need now.

Remember to like and share. All comments are appreciated too. Thanks. Judith

 

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Gunther Hauk, Biodynamic Farming

Description: The earth is a living being. How well do we take care of the soil, air, water? Biodynamic farming is a regenerative, sustainable set of principles and practices for farming that rebuilds, restores soils. This system encourages crop diversity, building compost for soil regeneration and more. Meet Gunther Hauk, retired Waldorf school teacher and founder of Spikenard Farm, a Honeybee Sanctuary located in Floyd VA. He teaches many classes and is a part of the Documentary: Queen of the Sun.

About My Guest: Gunther Hauk is a retired Waldorf school teacher. He is the founder of Spikenard Farm, Honeybee Sanctuary, located in Floyd, VA. He is also the founder of the Pfeiffer Center in Spring Valley, NY. Both farms operate on biodynamic principles. Gunther is featured in Queen of the Sun documentary where he joins with others highlighting the issues and the grave concerns many have over the honeybee population declines.

Transcript: Gunther Hauk

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