Saturday, December 4, 2010

Life Beyond White Rice

Somewhere in the wee hours before last Friday's Novato Charter School Gardening Class it dawned on me that while we are always encouraging children to eat whole grains, going on and on about the higher nutritional value of whole grains...very few actually know what whole grains are.

My lesson plan for the day included a lot of prep work for beds we would use to grow a variety of whole grains in the new year.  I needed the students to help with the mulching and amending of these beds.  How much more interesting that work might become if the kids knew what the goal was.  So, we held a Whole Grains Tasting Feast.

This is a pretty healthy crowd.  I suspect their parents regualrly sneak barley into the soup or flax atop the cereal.  But when asked students if they could identify the grains, (pre and post cooking), they were stumped.  A few recognized millet from their bean and millet days in the NCS Kindergarden, but most didn't believe they had heard of the names of these grains

We tried the following:  millet, quinoa, flax, pearl barley and bulgar.  Qunioa wins, hands down!

Here's A Favorite Recipe -  found on a blog called The Friendly Veg (

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Stuffing

* 2 acorn squash, halved
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 2 cups vegetable broth
* 1 cup dried quinoa
* 1 bay leaf
* several small saffron strands
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 yellow onion, diced
* half a package of soy sausage, like Gimme Lean brand
* 1 bunch beet greens, chopped
* 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
* 1 tsp. nutmeg
* 1 tsp. black pepper.
* pinch of salt
* pecorino romano cheese for sprinkling, if desired

The Hows:

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop out seeds and stringy bits from acorn squash halves. If desired, rub the inside of the squash with just a little bit of olive oil and cinnamon. Cover a baking sheet with foil or  parchment paper, and roast squash cut-side down for 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

2) To make the quinoa: bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil; add quinoa, bay leaf, and saffron to the broth and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until broth is absorbed and quinoa is soft, between 10 and 15 minutes.

3) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add veggie sausage to the pan, using a fork to crumble sausage as needed; cook for 5 minutes, or until sausage starts to brown. Add nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and chopped beet greens to the pan, and cook until greens begin to wilt. Bring heat to low, and stir in quinoa. Remove from heat.

4) Fill each half of roasted acorn squash with quinoa stuffing; sprinkle with grated cheese if desired. Bake stuffed squash for 15 minutes and allow squash ten five minutes to cool before serving.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fresh Baked Eggs: More Than A Fair Trade

Thirteen years ago we moved into our home in semi-rural Novato, and one of the first things we did was build a chicken coop. At the time  I could not say exactly why this felt more important than the so many essential improvements on our To Do list, but it was one of the things I most wanted for our family.

Last week our country vet came by to check in on our animals.  As he checked the goats' eyes and palpated their bellies, he told me he believes that people who learn to take good care of animals tend to be good at taking care of each other.  I thought of James Harriot, the  English country vet who wrote All Creatures Great And Small as well as dozens of other perfectly told animal stories.  My siblings and I grew up on these tales of  mischievous kittens and lost lambs, loyal sheepdogs and brilliant draft horses. I believe that the secret ingredient that drew our attention then, and what enraptures my own children still, is the essential element in each of these stories:  Harriot himself...a human who cares.

Caring is a distinguishing characteristic, one we humans should be proud of.  It is also a large part of why we have survived.  Caring for animals is part of a pretty basic agreement, a straightforward "fair trade."  We make a comfortable shelter, provide healthy food and a happy life, and they provide us with labor and/or something delicious to eat.  Oh, and animals often throw in a good dose of entertainment, as is the case with our playful goats.

After 13 years of tending our chickens and collecting their eggs each day, I can say with certainty, we get a phenomenal deal.  The ability of a hen to produce up to an egg a day continues, year after year, to be, in my mind, nothing short of a miracle.  How does a scrawny little cluster of feathered bones do this exactly?  Apparently it has something to do with nucleation points and mammillary protrusions and aragonite piles and columns of oriented crystalline calcite that grow up and around the egg and...well, let's just leave it at It's a miracle!

Many people ask why we don't simply buy eggs in the store.  This is a great question, considering the work it takes to set up for and maintain chickens, and also the abundance of excellent egg choices in the stores these days.  Every once in a while in the winter, when the chickens have slowed down their laying regimen,  I do buy store eggs, and that is when I notice the difference.  Store bought eggs have pale yolks that fall apart more easily (I'm assuming this is the time in transportation and on the shelf), you never know if they are as healthy (no matter what the label claims) and, mostly, they don't taste rich and creamy.

Because our eggs taste so good, I have become an egg junkie.  The whole family has.  If it's not a Dutch Baby (which we have always called "Puff The Magic Dragon") it's french toast or croissant egg sandwiches or crepes or very eggy waffles.

Lately, I have been on a baked egg kick.  In this case, the fresher the egg the better because the yolks must hold together sturdily in their little nests of sauteed spinach or arugula or whatever green strikes your fancy.  Then they bake for 12 minutes or so (sometimes less, depending on the size of the egg) and leave you with the just set light whites and a yolk that has held firmly together but runs with the slightest prick of a fork tine.

My favorite breakfast cookbook is called Brunch by Marc Meyer and Peter Meehan. I have made many variations of their  "Baked Egg With Spinach and Brioche" recipe.  I love arugula, and almost always add that somewhere along the way.  Also, I saute the greens with a touch of white truffle oil, shallots and plenty of garlic.  And I've found that if I don't have creme fraiche available, its fine to just drizzle a touch of heavy whipping cream over the whole dish before placing it in the oven.  These eggs are absolutely delicious, every time, as AJ will attest.

Baked Eggs with Spinach, Brioche
Adapted from Brunch: 100 Recipes from Five Points Restaurant by Marc Meyer and Peter Meehan

1 tbls olive oil and/or White Truffle oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 shallot
1 bunch spinach (about 3/4 lb) washed and stemmed)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbls unsalted butter plus additional butter for baking dishes
4 slices brioche, 1/2 inch thick
6 large eggs
1/8 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and when it simmers, add shallot and garlic. Cook until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes and add the spinach. Reduce the heat to medium, add a pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is just wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a bowl to cool (it doesn’t have to cool completely, just enough so as not to cook the eggs before they get into the oven).

Lightly butter the brioche slices on both sides. Lay them on a sheet pan and bake in the oven, turning them in mid-toast, until lightly browned and crisped - 3 to 5 minutes (or toast in toaster and butter after).

Lightly butter two ramekins or baking dishes large enough to hold brioche in one layer. Arrange the brioche on the bottom of the dish and scatter the wilted spinach around and on top of the bread, making rough little nests to hold the eggs in place. Crack the eggs into the spinach nests and season with slat and pepper. Drizzle creme fraiche over the dishes, sprinkle with grated parmesan, and set on the lowest shelf of the oven. Cook until the whites are just set but the yolks are runny, about 12 - 15 minutes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ode to Blueberries


Some things are sweetened by longing.   I put love and freshly picked blueberries in this category.   Falling in love, and finally having that love reciprocated, is at the top of the list of life experiences, of course.    At long last making it to the East Coast to eat ripe blueberries straight from the bush as the sun rises to warm them?  Right up there.

We recently returned from a tour of the Northeast where we were fortunate to spend a week at our relatives’  farm in upstate New York.  We arrived just as the blueberries made their vigorous deep violet appearance. We were in heaven. True blue heaven.

Each morning the youngest cousins woke and ran outside to fill several pints for the farm stand. I tried my best to help, but found that a one for the basket, two for me rhythm felt most comfortable. They soon learned that their aunt is not at all reliable in the Blueberry Picking department.

Here in Northern California I have tried a few times, both in our school garden and at home, to grow blueberries.  The southern highbush variety of blueberry is most successful in the Bay Area.  People claim great success with varieties such as "Revelle" and ""Misty" and "Bluecrop." Like their cousins, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, blueberries love acidic soil. They also like plenty of sun and a sandy well-drained bed.  The key, however, is that their roots must be kept moist as they grow. And they like a nice long, cold night. At the school I have had success with some small bushes producing fruit (before the gophers did their gopher thing) but nothing has grown more and more vigorous each year so that by the third year (which it was at the Neff family farm) you literally cannot keep up with the ripening fruit, glistening pearls of that irresistible sweet and slightly tart taste, bursting with high health and waiting for your nimble fingers, day after summer day.

Flavanols and reversatrol and proanthocyanidins…all sorts of crazy-good-for-you stuff is packaged in these  spherical treats. No wonder they are called Superfood. I teach elementary school gardening students to look for foods with the deep purple color-  this indicates cancer-fighting properties.

Home now, I dream I am picking blueberries. One for the basket…two for me.  This journey to the Northeast was a sort of pilgrimage.  I am grateful for the experience of traveling to a place where these fruits have always thrived and did especially well this year with the late rains, to savor them in their natural, exuberant state of well-being and bright blue productivity. Plus, the fruit of my dreams is only sweeter for my longing.

 Teya and her Aunt Nancy made pies

Here is a favorite "Peak-of-The-Season" Blueberry Pie recipe from an important cookbook called The Berry Bible by Janie Hibler  (only one cup of the blueberries are cooked, the rest are folded in, which gives the pie a freshly picked taste)

Makes 6 Servings:
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 (3 cups) fresh blueberries (plus a handful for garnish)
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan.  Put pan over medium heat and add 1 cup berries and 2/3 cup water.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and turns clear instaed of cloudy looking, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir butter, lemon juice, and the remaining 2 cups blueberries.  Pour the filling into prepared pie shell and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Before serving, whip the cream with confectioner's sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form, and spread on top of the filling.  Sprinkle a handful of berries on top of the whipped cream. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Big Goat Party

I’m tired.  Really tired.  But who cares…My kids, of both the human and goat persuasion, are happy. 
Let me describe day one with baby goats.  Theodore (Teddy) and Delilah (Lila) arrive at our home dazed and subdued, wondering one thing:  when do they get to nurse again?  They’re old enough and sturdy enough to wean, but that doesn’t make it easy to leave Mama Ceci and go cold turkey.  They’ve been sipping from the milk bar day and night as long as they’ve been alive. 

Slowly they shake off the car-sickness, wander around their new home (our donkey stable turned enclosed chicken yard) for a few moments, realize mama and that warm elixir are not nearby, and begin to cry.  This goes on all day, non-stop.  We distract them for short periods with lengths of blackberry brambles, or oak and pine cuttings, but mostly, they want mama’s teat and the milk that comes with.  And they will cry until someone brings it to them.
Suddenly I’m thrown back to the weaning days with my own babies,  trying to get something done for the first time in years and all I can hear is my sobbing  one year old, outside with a babysitter who can’t stop the moaning and howling …the special cry, reserved for the immediate and imperative need for mother’s milk. 
What to do about these sorrowful babies?  I start by calling all the neighbors to apologize.  Their responses could have been a tape-recorded message.  “Don’t be ridiculous,” they all said, "This is Indian Valley.  We’re not the least bit concerned with animal noises and if we were, we wouldn't live here.”   So, that was a relief.  But still…the sound, it was  so sad.  It truly seemed we had locked two babies down in the chicken coop for the night.
Teya graduates from 8th Grade in a few days, so that evening Sam and I took her to an end of the year parent-child celebration.  Jens and AJ decided they would go swim at a neighbors then bike home and put themselves to bed.  I only hoped they could fall asleep with all the noise, which only grew louder and more pitiful as evening fell.
Leave it to kids to figure out kids.  By the time I got home at 9pm, AJ and Jens were just  falling asleep in my room.  “Oh, it was a great night,” they reported.  “But we’re in here because we just got the goats down and didn’t want to disturb them as they were falling asleep,” AJ said.  I must have appeared confused.  “We tucked them into bed in my room,” Jens told me, “and we didn’t want to wake them up by going back in there.”
They had arrived home to a crescendo of crying, and being the practical children they are, they got straight to work.  AJ set up the old dog kennel.  Jens put the dog’s spiky collars on Teddy and Delilah and led them up to the house.  Then they sang them lullabies and petted them to sleep until everyone was happy and cozy, sleepy and...quiet.
Okay, I thought, having one of those moments where you the parent think that maybe, in fact, you do know nothing.  Maybe it is okay to have goats sleeping in your daughters' bedroom.  “Well…okay,” I said.  “That...sounds...good.”
All was well until around 3am.  I recall hearing something, but couldn't drag myself out of sleep.  I told myself,  "it must just be the ice machine."  Yeah, yeah, that’s it, the refrigerator’s ice machine making a racket.  I managed to sleep another  hour or so until AJ and I both woke up, realizing that there was a loud party going on.  Make that an unsupervised party.  Make that a big, unsupervised goat party, raging in the girls’ bedroom.  (When I walked in, Delilah was dancing on the top bunk and Teddy was butting himself in the mirror, reminding me very much of a frat guy I knew in college)
I don’t need to go into details, but suffice it to say that the dog kennel was not secure and that I’m doing lots of research on how to remove the smells of farm animals from non-farm settings.
I’m cleaning.  I’m tired.  But now, already on day two, all the kids are happy and playing, and everything is fine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is a Farmer's Market When you take Away The Farmers?

Here's a Wall Street Journal piece on the trouble some Farmer's Markets are having because some vendors, it turns out, are not farmers.

Wall Street Journal: Do You Need Farmers For A Farmers Market?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Tipping Point at the Novato Charter School

In environmental circles the phrase “Tipping Point” is usually referred to when speaking about the catastrophic effect of climate change and our inability to reverse our own exponential negative impact on the planet.  Pretty depressing.  And overwhelming.  But I’ve seen a different, hopeful version of the Tipping Point in action over the past years at my children's school. 
In 2001, when the Novato Charter School moved onto a stretch of former US Air force base - barren, hard pan, cement runway rubble -  things looked pretty grim.  Many parents who had helped form the school just a few years earlier threw in the towel, saying the land was “dead” and that we could never have a healthy school on that abused land. 
Nine years, thousands of loans, donations, workdays, classes, and staff, faculty and parent volunteer hours later, it is my opinion that the Novato Charter School grounds have reached a Tipping Point.  The property is now home to one of the largest school gardens you’ll find – over an acre of trees, pathways, natives, succulents, arbors, chickens, greenhouse, butterfly beds, scarecrows…and wildlife.  Our school has become a preserve.  Walk through the garden some morning and you will hear the call of bluebirds and hawks, the songs of crickets, and frogs.  Lift a log and you will find lizards and millipedes.  Stand near the bugleia bushes you might just have a butterfly or ladybug land on your hand.

About three weeks ago a couple moved into the area.  After looking around, they chose our little school for their young.  They seemed to have chosen  the school for the beauty of the natural environment,  and the sense that their children would be protected and safe to grow.  This couple just happened to be birds.   Mr. and Mrs. Killdeer moved right onto the middle of the school grounds to lay their eggs.  It was the Sunflower Kindergarten class who discovered them that first  morning, and they roped off a large area so the new parents would feel especially secure on their nest. 

Safe as they are, the Kildeers still perform all kinds of antics when someone approaches.  Dad hops around threatening with his remarkable size (at least he feels big) and serious peeps…and Mom wanders off the speckled eggs to flap around very dramatically, acting as if her wing were broken, just to pull our interest away from her offspring.
The twin eggs are due to hatch any day now.  The chicks will emerge, ready to go.  We’ll watch them run away to find their own food, and we’ll hope they come back and visit soon.  The school’s eco-system has reached a Tipping Point, and now this healthy land will compound itself, on its own. Maybe these Killdeer kids will be back when they’re grown up and ready to hatch their own chicks.  We’ll be waiting.

Here's a little video.  Not much happens, but it pans to Father Killdeer, taking a break over in the sand box, about halfway though.  The Killdeer Family

And here is more information about Killdeer and their unique behaviors - ground nests, fake broken wings etc  Killdeer

UPDATE! 4/22/10 The chicks have hatched.  Below are two videos.  Amazing how ready they are for the world when they are born.  These guys are only hours old.
Mother Killdeer with baby #1.
Father Killdeer with baby #2

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Happiness: Mini LaMancha Goats

The Indian Valley Farm class is a gift that just keeps giving.  Last semester I overheard Maria Kennedy and Leslie Adkins talking about their goats and the fact that they often have kids for sale in the spring.  We have been visiting with the goats down the way for the past thirteen years, just loving these wise, sweet, feisty, hungry and affectionate it seemed that being within earshot of this conversation between my classmates was a sign.  It was time for goats.

Last weekend Leslie called.  Her mama goat, Ceci, had twins, a boy and a girl, both sturdy and healthy. 

The little palomino girl is Delila.  The boy is Theodore.  They will stay with mama for a few months at Inverness Valley Inn, then come to their new home where they will share the donkey stable and back pasture with the chickens.  I have been reading up about their care on an excellent site recommended by Leslie and Alden - Fiasco Farms.  This is the place to start if you are thinking about raising goats. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dirt Diva's "TALKING DIRT" is GOOD Dirt

Annie Spiegelman, Novato-based "Dirt Diva" gardening columnist and environmental activist extraordinaire, has really improved the crop of organic gardening books this spring.  I'm telling you, this is not only an excellent growing advice is also great read.  Annie is simultaneously so funny and so practical.  You feel like you're talking over the neighbor's fence, and that neighbor just happens to be the person who knows what is really going on in the hood.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels overwhelmed by Organic Gardening Information.  And if you're already a seasoned gardener, this book will remind you about what is most  important.  I've read a lot of gardening books, and this one stands out.

I picked up my copies at Book Passage.  Here is the link to Annie's site, which will give you all purchasing options and upcoming book signings.

The Dirt Diva's Talking Dirt

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fields a poem by Faith Shearin

            For Henry and Irene Spruill

My great grandfather had some fields in North Carolina
and he willed those fields to his sons and his sons
willed them to their sons so there is a two-hundred-year-old
farm house on that land where several generations
of my family fried chicken and laughed and hung

their laundry beneath the trees. There are things you
know when your family has lived close to the earth:
things that make magic seem likely. Dig a hole on the new
of the moon and you will have dirt to throw away
but dig one on the old of the moon and you won't have

enough to fill it back up again: I learned this trick
in the backyard of childhood with my hands. If you know
the way the moon pulls at everything then you can feel
it on the streets of a city where you cannot see the sky.
My mother says the moon is like a man: it changes

its mind every eight days and you plant nothing
until its risen full and high. If you plant corn when
the signs are in the heart you will get black spots
in your grain and if you meet a lover when the
signs are in the feet he will never take you dancing.

When the signs are in the bowels you must not plant
or your seed will rot and if you want to make a baby
you must undress under earth or water. I am the one
in the post office who buys stamps when the signs
are in the air so my mail will learn to fly. I stand in my

front yard, in the suburbs, and wish for luck and
money on the new of the moon when there
are many black nights. I may walk the streets
of this century and make my living in an office
but my blood is old farming blood and my true

self is underground like a potato. At the opera
I will think of rainfall and vines. In my dreams
all my corn may grow short but the ears will be
full. If you kiss my forehead on a dark moon
in March I may disappear—but do not be afraid—
I have taken root in my grandfather's
fields: I am hanging my laundry beneath his trees.

by Faith Shearin, from The Owl Question. © Utah State University Press, 2002.

(I first read this poem online at The Writer's Almanac )

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kids In the Garden Workshop - Monday, April 5

On Monday April 5th from 3-5pm I will teach a workshop entitled "Kids In The Garden" in the Novato Charter School garden.  This workshop is sponsored by the Novato Live Well Network and will cover the basics of working with starting and maintaining a school garden, integrating academic curriculum, and working with K-8 students on various garden projects.  For more information, follow this link below:

Kid In The Garden Workshop

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Haitian Quake an Opportunity to Restore Rural Ecology

The World ran an excellent piece about ecological restoration in Haiti...Environmental aid is perhaps the most important long-term contribution we can make.

Haitian Quake an Opportunity to Restore Rural Ecology

A New York Times Tribute to the Evolution of Grass

Biologist Olivia Judson writes of the interconnectedness of human evolution an grasses.

Evolution By The Grassroots

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Proud of Novato Schools

Here is some great news.  Novato schools and the Novato Sanitary District have teamed up to compost food waste and save the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars in the coming years.  Congratulations Novato!

Novato Schools Cut Costs By Composting

Frogs Changing Sex....Are We In Wonderland?


Anyone else feel like Alice, bumping around in Wonderland?  We are trying to go about our business, trusting that we are safe on this planet amongst our own kind, when, all of a sudden, things are not as they appear.  They are distorted and mad.  Oh yes, the EPA did "re-approve" Atrazine in 2006, assuring us there was no problem and allowing us to continue use on everything from lawns to corn fields, to the point where it is the primary chemical found in our waterways.  The Swiss Agri-giant Sygentra promised us its safe and fine.  Why would we not believe them, just because they manufacture the stuff?  But now it is 2010 and well, unfortunately, it looks like the stuff makes male frogs lay eggs.

Turns out the Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland may have been based on the London hatters who were exposed to mercury in the pelt curing process used at that time.  It seems things are the same as ever:  a little insanity (and/or rearranging of  reproductive organs) is apparently worth the buck. 

Here is a link to the Washington Post  Weedkiller In Waterways Leads to Change in Frogs Sex Traits

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grafting Magic


The end of February, no matter the storm system, not matter the thermometer reading, is when our Northern California fruit trees decide it is time to put on a show.  I recently helped worked on a biographical play about Johnny Appleseed, and, as extraordinary as he was, I believe his fundamental desire to celebrate and spread the wealth of fruit trees is alive and strong in many of us.  I stopped by the Indian Valley Organic Farm last week just in time to see Steve and Wendy model the mysterious and magical process of grafting.  Nature helps us to help ourselves in so many ways, and here is an exceptionally useful and glorious one.  The class had the beginnings of 50 new trees by the end of the day.







Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wendy Johnson - Dharma Talk at the Zen Center, Sunday 2/28

Here is the link if you'd like to hear Wendy, this Sunday 10:15,78,92&mode=c

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Community Garden Forum : Feb 25, 7-9 PM

Steve Quirt will moderate a forum on building a community garden from the ground up, this Thursday eve. (February 25) from 7-9pm at the Novato Unified School District offices, 1015 Seventh Street, Novato.  The event is sponsored by the Novato Live Well Network. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reading, Writing and ... Gardening? An Anti-School Garden Writer Rants

Many educators and activists are abuzz about writer Caitlin Flannigan's Atlantic Magazine piece lambasting school gardens. My impression is that Flannigan has done a service to the School Garden movement, inspiring debate and asking us to articulate better why we believe in teaching Gardening, Nutrition and Environmental Science outdoors.

Flannigan is one of those writers who likes to get a rise, which is why she is popular. She might as well have said "Music has no place in the schools!"

Here is her article:

Cultivating Failure

and here is the Center For Eco-literacy response:

The School Garden Debate: To Weep or Reap

I will simply say it is very satisfying to see a student who has declared "I would never ever eat spinach!" chow down on the leaves he has sewn and harvested himself (being physically active all the while), then ask his mother to contact me to get the recipe for the spinach salad he helped prepare...So many reasons this matters, but especially satisfying at a time when obesity is a national crisis.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Laura Brainard info on California Farmlink event

Hi Classmates,

I thought some of you might be interested in this "Meet and Greet" event sponsored by California Farmlink.  It is this Thurs. in Nicasio.  I'm not sure if you need to be a member of California Farmlink to go.


Laura Brainard

here is the link for info: 

California Farmlink

Friday, January 22, 2010

Two Dates Coming Up: Green Gulch and Maria Kennedy's for Agridharma

Sunday, February 7th from 2-5 pm
All are invited to gather at Green Gulch on Arbor Day; come earlier for the meditation and lunch (look on the site for info) or come at 2 pm for the outdoor gathering. Children are more than welcome!

Sunday, March 14th from 1-4 pm
The second AgriDharma Institute is planning to be held at Maria & Robert Kennedy's wonderful home in the San Anselmo hills. An invitation with directions will be sent closer to the time; please save the date!

A note from Ladd

Dear Kirsten:

Can you post this to our Agridharma blog group and the IVC class folks that attended the meeting out at the Inverness Valley Inn two weeks ago when I distributed the amrita and vhibutti? They can watch the video taken of how and where the nectar and ash materialize at this particular holy place in India.

Here are the links which tell the story of the man, Haligappa who runs the orphanage in India where the vhibutti (sacred ash) and amrita (nectar of the Gods) has been materializing for the past 44 years since 1964. I've been visiting this place for over 20 years.

Here's the story with photos:

Sathya Sai Baba Miracles - Miracles at Sri Ranga Patna orphanage in Mysore, India

Here's the You Tube video done by a Spanish speaking visitor:

YouTube - Sathya Sai Baba Amritha Materialization Mysore

All love and blessings,


Friday, January 15, 2010

Numen: The Nature of Plants (from Steve and Herb Exhange)

Mid-January, 2010

Hello folks:

Even though the Herb Exchange is dormant during the winter, and we are not
in the office daily, you can still order roots (weather dependent, of
course). Feel free to inquire.

Also, please post the attached flyer and treat yourself to an outstanding
event at one of the two upcoming screenings of the groundbreaking film,

The first screening, described below, is in the town of Sonoma on Saturday,
January 23, and the second will be in Sebastopol on February 11.

Meanwhile, may you enjoy the stillness of winter.

West Coast Premiere of the film NUMEN, THE NATURE OF PLANTS
Sonoma Environental Film Festival
Saturday, January 23 10:40 AM Free Admission
Sonoma Women's Club, 574 First St. East, Sonoma 95467

This extraordinary film focuses on the healing power of plants and the
natural world. Filmmakers Terrence Youk and Ann Armbrecht travelled the U.S.
to speak with doctors and herbalists, ethnobotanists and others about human
and environmental health, and to discover how healing is made possible by
embracing our place in the wider web of life. Stunning footage of
medicinals plants accompanys discussion of the re-awakening of traditional
knowledge of plants and a vision of safe, effective and sustainable

Interviewees include herbalists Rosemary Gladstar, David Hoffmann, Dr.
Tierona Lowdog, Lynda LeMole, Kenny Ausubel, Phyllis Light, and others.

Following the film will be a discussion with Leslie Gardner, Director of the
Sonoma County Herb Exchange and faculty member California School of Herbal
Studies, Lynda LeMole, Executive Director of United Plant Savers, and David
Hoffmann, Research and Development at Traditional Medicinals Tea Company and
faculty member California School of Herbal Studies. There will also be a
demonstration of the making of a plant tincture with locally grown roots.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Healthy Soils, Healthy Food Conference (Feb 6-7 in Chico)

Hi all,

This year's CCOF Education Conference is On 'Healthy Soils, Healthy Food,' has some great speakers on inspiring topics, and is only $15 for students for the 2 days (or $20 at the door).  It's at CSU Chico on Feb. 6-7.  Check it out at:

Hope you and your gardens enjoy the rain we're supposed to get tomorrow!  Hope to see you soon, Bonnie