Several days ago, I visited MOHAI (Museum of History & Industry) in Seattle, where they have been showcasing an exhibition called "Edible City" since November last year. The Beacon Food Forest is amongst many featured in the beautiful exhibition telling stories of restaurants, chefs, farmers, and edible gardens in and around the region since the city was just a small port. The project has a special place in my heart (as mentioned in the previous post, too!) and I am very happy to have a couple of my photographs taken during my involvement with the purely community-driven, permaculture-inspired project. I can definitely recommend a visit if you live or are visiting Seattle in the near future. The "Edible City" is just one of several exhibitions at MOHAI, and it'll be on display until September 10 this year. Check out MOHAI at their site @ www.mohai.org
Between late 2014 and early 2016, I was actively involved with the Beacon Food Forest, an open-to-all food forest just miles from downtown Seattle. The concept behind the food forest is simple - to cultivate and maintain a food-producing urban oasis that provides nutrients for both humans and wildlife while at the same time rejuvenates local ecology and sense of community and connection to the land. After years of conception, planning, collecting public input and support, dealing with city officials to secure the available land and permits, and then of course, the conversion of grass lawn into the thriving garden of eden that it has been since 2012. Dozens upon dozens (and often 100+) of volunteers come through the Beacon Food Forest every month to help weed, trim, chop, compost, move, roll, drop, plant, and harvest and keep the abundance rolling in for anyone and everyone. Native species such as black currants are complemented by a diversity of other medicinal and sustanance-creating annual and perennial plants and trees. The food forest is currently in the process of expanding its current size (approximatley 2 acres) to double that. "Phase 2" will be the result from the input from hundreds of dedicated volunteers and invested neighborhoods over the past 2 years. Thanks in part to a grant by The Bullitt Foundation in Seattle, Phase 2 will not only have tremendous public support but financial backing as well (for the time being).
The Beacon Food Forest is arguably my favorite place in the city of Seattle (Golden Gardens and Discovery Park are runners-up). The profound benefits of a public, open-for-all-at-anytime gathering place where folks of all ages are free to come as they are and learn about plants, food, nutrient cycles, meet neighbors, and exchange knowledge are deep and enriching, to say the least. I was fortunate to have been introduced by this incredible project by a good friend and mentor from British Columbia, and captured many magical moments in this special space with many friends and neighbors.
I started working with the author, Tomas Remiarz, on the publication of the chapter on the Beacon Food Forest about 2 years ago, and received a copy of the final product just a few months back. I am proud and joyed to have my work featured in such a beautiful book showcasing a number of amazing examples of what folks from around the globe are doing to revitalize urban and rural places to make healthier communities for all living beings. Grateful especially for friends and connections established through the food forest and now our roots are amazingly intertwined forever.
Learn more about the Beacon Food Forest through their website, www.beaconfoodforest.org and connect with their social media networks on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beaconfoodforest) and Instagram (@BeaconFoodForest or hashtag #BeaconFoodForest).
Check out the Tomas' book and read what others are saying about it:
- Permanent Publications: http://permanentpublications.co.uk/port/forest-gardening-in-practice-an-illustrated-practical-guide-for-homes-communities-enterprises-by-tomas-remiarz/
- Permaculture magazine: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/book-reviews/forest-gardening-practice-0
- Treehugger: https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/forest-gardening-finally-gets-book-it-deserves.html
Several weeks back when I was in Barcelona and feeling the weight of the issues of our world crush down on my mind, I wrote a post with some of those thoughts. A number of you read it and responded, and I was thrilled to have received a number of heartfelt replies and words of encouragement. When I was in Los Angeles briefly in June I visited a good friend Ryan Serrano and caught up with life. One of the many things mentioned was keeping up the good work admist seemingly a sea of apathy and massive consumerism.
Ryan calls it "well-informed futility syndrome, a condition of anxiety that comes from knowing about the world's problems and wanting to fix them but feeling helpless and overwhelmed against the cultural and economic patterns that create them in the first place."
I am blessed to have walked this journey in the past several years with countless individuals who continue to lift their heads and carry the light with them as they show others the light and the joy that we all have within.
This TEDx talk is one of the brightest beacons of light I have come across in recent times. Take the time to re-energize yourself with my brother Ryan's words and perspective.
PLUG: if you are in southern California and in search of ecological landscaping advice, give Ryan a holla through his business via Earth Steward Ecology.
I am late to the #MoreThanATree campaign, but folks ought to know about this, so here's my post.
As the videography and editor of this piece, I can tell you this campaign really, truly is much more than just a (coffee) tree (or 10,000!). This represents Conscious Impact's original commitment and intent in the village of Takure - a long-term vision and solution that is in-line with the community members' point of view. Narayan Bhattarai, a Takure local and a walking encyclopedia of local plants and all-things agriculture (and more), is our amazing community liaison and a dear friend since the inception of the project. Together with the agriculture team, we have taken part in many conversations and plannings in working to this point - the joining of an existing coffee growing cooperative that guarantees buyers at a fixed rate. What does this mean? It signifies that farmers who are part of this co-op can sell their harvest coffee beans at a rate that would bring in considerable income for his/herself and their families. What other benefits are there, you may ask? Good question! Since coffee trees enjoy being in the shade, part of coffee planting means also planting canopy trees which will tower over the coffee. For this we will put in the ground native and other fruit/food-bearing trees that will not only provide shade, but also food for humans, birds, and other fauna will be attracted to his multi-layer habitat, just as a natural and healthy-functioning ecosystem would. Another added bonus: more trees and a restored natural habitat = less erosion, and that's definitely a good thing in these deforested hillsides battered with heavy monsoon rains every summer.
With that said, and having watched these coffee saplings grow from sprouts 13 months ago to their height now, the evolution of the agriculture program and its potential to really make a positive impact on regional community members ecologically and financially, I am beyond pleased to have cut this together to fund a project that I believe in personally. Big, big thanks to Sunita Pandey and Alyson Noele Sagala in translating our interviews throughout the Spring season, while the ag team consisting of Bryce Geralynn Tanner, Greg Robinson, Narayan Bhattarai, Jose Whelan, and Renée Dyke certainly deserve a round of applause for their dedication and (ongoing) work in making this a reality. We are at 44% or so now and I don't see why we cannot hit 100% before the summer's end. Big thanks to all who have supported us so far!
Ready to pitch in?
Campaign fundraiser link: https://www.classy.org/campaign/more-than-a-tree/c118678
Want to know more?
- "The Formation of a Coffee Cooperative ": https://www.consciousimpact.org/…/the-formation-of-a-coffee…
- "Meet Buddha: A Farmer Using Permaculture in Nepal": https://www.consciousimpact.org/…/meet-buddha-a-tree-farmer…
- "Meet Durga: A Woman Farmer in Takure": https://www.consciousimpact.org/…/meet-durga-a-woman-farmer…
- "Meet Shyam: A Coffee Farmer from Nepal": https://www.consciousimpact.org/new-blog/meet-shyam
Vimeo video link (to share with those not only on Facebook): https://vimeo.com/consciousimpact/morethanatree
See more on Conscious Impact's Facebook page, Instagram @ConsciousImpact #MoreThanATree, and of course our website www.consciousimpact.org