The potluck before hand was delicious. The presentation given by Chuck Nafziger and myself, Sarai Stevens, received rave reviews. Chuck conveyed a sense of wonder and mystery that was deeply personal and inspiring. The photos and information he had compiled were both beautiful and richly educational. I spoke on permaculture gardening, community, Transition and of course bugs. Afterward, Chuck and I each burnt a sculpture in celebration of community and the returning light of spring.
Here are my closing words from the presentation that I would like to share with you:
But most of the time I don’t do anything. I plant 10% extra to share. If I have extra for pests fine. If I have extra for humans even better! I am not the best gardener in the world. I have three kids and other interests. Despite this I have a fairly productive garden that supplements my grocery bill year round. I will someday become a much better winter gardener, but fortunately for now I am pretty good at preserving and putting food by, and because of my neighborly networks through my market and community I have many gardening friends that share their surplus with me and my family.
So this is not only about how I garden and deal with black and yellow bugs, but also how I interact with my whole community. Which leads us to the final permaculture concept I will bring up this evening called “Nesting Functions,” which is the title of one of the sculptures we will be burning tonight. Nesting Functions is the idea that everything we do should have multiple purpose and benefit. This presentation is not just about bug identification and gardening, it is about learning to see again and connecting to our place. It is about recognizing our solitary efforts are a part of a large and miraculous whole. And it is about manifesting abundance, hope and joy.
My sculpture "Nesting Functions" is mostly made from the invasive morning glory vine. Foraging goats and chickens got rid of most of the morning glory on my property, but unfortunately it stubbornly clings to a few areas in my yard and I have to regularly pull it up through out the summer. I can’t compost the vines so historically the morning glory goes into the garbage can. This stopped when I learned the vines were good weaving material and got the idea to begin building nests with it. Suddenly, pulling morning glory wasn’t a dreaded garden task that I resented and avoided but instead an indulgence of my inner artist. An action focused on the destruction and death of my sworn enemy evolved into an act of creation and vision…and now by sharing and burning it with you this evening an act of community and celebration as well. And in this way, it is my hope and blessing that all our concerns and fears transform into seeds of flourishing community and positive action.
In search of spring,
Feb. 12, 2015