Sunday, August 20, 2006

United Plant Savers Conference

We just got back from the United Plant Savers Conference at Sage Mountain in Barre Vermont a conference on the Cultivation, Preservation & Uses of Native Medicinal Plants. It was totally inspiring! I have been walking the path of an herbalist for many years now, and attending conferences whenever I can.........I always learn so much, and the enthusiasm of the teachers is very inspiring.

United Plant Savers is a wonderful organization I think all eductors should know about. UPS' mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. They offer so mant resources, networking and even grants for replanting projects (includes school and homeschool projects), plus they have an AMAZING slide show that they rent to members.

I still consider myself an outdoorsy person, although these I spend more and more time infront of a computer writing and staring out the window....... I do make a point of doing something in the garden every day....photographing a plant, harvesting a plant, take the compost out and have a quick look around, hang the laundry and check out what's new, but more often these days it is a quick in and out with a singe minded goal......and more and more I have been feeling disconnected.

I was reminded yesterday at the conference by my dear friends and teachers that to feel connected you need to spend time outdoors........not in 5-10 mins intervals bu treal else will you know what time of the the hummingbirds arrive and to which plants they go first, to see the caterpillars spin their crysalis, and then burst forth into butterflies, to see how long it takes a caterpillar to much a leaf, to see who pollinates what, to really understand the land, to see the difference between bumble bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets and honey bees.

We all needs reminders and yesterday was mine.

Somethig clicked yesterday. Life so many of us after becoming a mother some of my politics softened.....I drink coffee at Starbucks, I buy books on Amazon. I am more of a writer than a doer!! I am armchair activist (something that makes me cringe). I used to struggle to connect my work as a food activist and as an herbalist...I knew the work was connected but could never put it eloquently until yesteday. Thanks to herbalist and author Deb Soule who led a totally inspiring class on "Pollinating our Native Plants" .

Life is so interconnected, interwoven........No pollinators No seeds No Plants No Food No Medicine.......and let's face it it is a know fact that GE crops pose a risk to the future of the monarch is not just the monarch butterflies, the honey bees, the hummingbirds, the song birds.......

Percentage of milkweed plants carrying Monarch butterfly larvae:

2001 - nearly 25%
2002 - about 7%
2003 - about 8%
2004 - under 5%

(Research by the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project at the University of Minnesota)

In celebration of life, and spirit! Resist the Corporate Takeover of our food, our farms and our future! I am jazzed again! the last time I felt so inspired I was in my first trimester of preganacy in India studying with Vandana Shiva!!

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