Thursday, May 22, 2014

Today is International Day of Biological Diversity!

To celebrate International Day of Biological Diversity Slow Food International released this video about the Slow Food Ark of Taste - "an online catalogue collecting endangered food flavors, knowledge and traditions from around the world". Learn how big agriculture is changing our nation's diets and how you can help save precious varieties. I could totally picture students utilizing the online catalogue as a service learning project in several ways. Don't let the recipes and flavors of our ancestors be lost forever! Support this great effort by researching varieties important to you, visiting your local farmers market, grow and/or support local heirloom growers and by simply sharing the message. Learn more on how you can contribute to this important mission by clicking, here

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gardening with Wild & Wise Herbs

Last year I had the great pleasure of teaching a gardening workshop entitled 'Gardening with Wild and Wise Herbs' at Southern California's inaugural Roots of Healing Festival at Cross Bull Ranch in Topanga Canyon. 

The festival had a powerful opening ceremony filled with song, meditation, and white sage smudging led by Siri Baldeep of Angelic Herbs For Vibrant Health

The opening ceremony was followed by a series of classes and workshops led by local herbalists, healers, and gardeners.

The class I led, 'Gardening with Wild and Wise Herbs' discussed the healing properties and growth habits of desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi), mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida), sticky monkey-flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and myrtle (Myrtus). 

Rebecca Altman, Herbalist, Kings Road Apothecary

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Rebecca's class, cause I was teaching at the same time, but the above photo is of her discussing desert lavender's healing qualities and mentioning that I was just up the way talking about how and why to consider growing your own desert lavender. 

I currently have some bitters she crafted with ethically wild-harvested white sage and some of my homegrown desert lavender. Not only are the bitters super tasty, they help on days when I know I might be over indulging a bit or consuming things my belly is not used, you know event and celebration eating, even better the bitters have also aided when the bellyache has already set in. Sweet digestive relief! 

Gardening with wild and wise herbs allows gardeners to aide in herb supply for themselves and others during times when wild harvesting is not an option, there are several reasons why wild harvesting or foraging may not be an option for some folks, that's a whole other blog topic though, in this particular case it was due to dry weather conditions and of course just good solid ethics. 

I was pleased to see a good amount of interest in a gardening class as I honestly thought everyone in attendance would rather learn about the healing qualities of our plant friends.

Yay, people want to grow their own medicine too!

Local bee enjoying desert lavender 
Talking about Tagetes lucida. I made a medicinal tea for everyone to try. The tea can put one in very mild euphoric state.  
Group activities are the best! Making incense together with this lovely group of folks.
Up close of our incense crafting. Using native plants. Sagebrush, black sage, white sage & desert lavender (from our garden) and piƱon resin. 

Working harmoniously with nature is becoming one with her. 

Stay up to date with the Roots of Healing community on Facebookhere, as there's lots going on. Big thanks to Julie James, Green Wisdom Herbal, for including me in this most blissful and memorable festival!