We Grow From Here's Blog

A Community Garden Project


Please Help Fund Our “CSD” Scholarship Fund!

What’s a “CSD”?  Community Supported Design – at We Grow From Here, we don’t just start gardens–we also educate people on how to

  • Create their own edible landscapes;
    • Learn how to grow small green businesses;
      • Practice natural building skills; and
        • Earn their PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate).

In order to make our classes accessible to as many as possible and still cover costs, we are building a scholarship fund–one which will be available for partial scholarships to any of our classes.

While we encourage anyone wishing to attend one of our workshops to create their own “CSD” campaign, there are those who have limited computer access and/or skills, therefore we wish to be able to offer the option of doing a partial scholarship/worktrade, which is what this fund will be used for.

The amount is based on the number of students inquiring about scholarships and worktrade openings for our two current offerings:  The Cob Building Series, and  ‘Design Your Own Foodscape‘ PDC course.  We hope to build this fund into an ongoing pool of funds to make our courses available to anyone in the community!

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A New Home for Creative Educational Ecosystems–Sol Terra!

I am so grateful for the perfect timing of the grand opening of Sol Terra–conveniently located right downtown Old Palm Harbor, a bicycle ride away, I could not have asked for a more perfect place!

Dem Bones

King James

We begin this weekend with our ‘on demand’ Permaculture Workshop series: “Design Your Home Foodscape”, which is a PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) qualified course, with a twist! Normally, this course is 72 hours–often onsite for a 12 day intensive, which is simply out of reach for many who work or have family obligations. So, we designed this course with you in mind–it happens two weekends per month, 8 hours per weekend, and if you can’t make it one of the weekend days, we are also adding one weekday evening to cover the material missed in that session. Accessibility is the key, so you can pay for this course by the day, the weekend, or save a bunch of dough by pre-paying the entire course upfront.

Bee Happytat

So, what are you waiting for? This is the lowest cost and most flexible certifiable course out there! Oh, and did I mention–no long boring lectures, either–we cater to all learning types, and each weekend will have onsite analyses, hands-on activities, and fun, creative learning games!  Pre-Register on Meetup, or come a little early on Saturday (Class starts at 10AM each Saturday) to register before class.  I look forward to sharing your journey through sustainability into resilience and regeneration!

Let’s Get Durty!


Use Small and Slow Solutions

Category            Permaculture Principles

‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall’ …‘Slow and steady wins the race’

David and Goliath, the Tortoise and the Hare…our fables, myths, and legends are loaded with this one, simple lesson, which is really all about focus.  If ‘the problem is the solution’, often the perspective needs to be shifted from the external to the internal, or at the very least—to ourselves.

This one is purely simple—to make a difference, take responsibility.  Start with yourself.  Start small.

    • You want to start a garden, don’t know where to begin, and have no space?  Sprout some seeds.  Learn about the process of growing through sprouting some buckwheat, alfalfa, or mung beans—it’s quite easy, and there are dozens of websites, blogs, Youtube videos, books, and other sources to get you started.  Sprouting requires very little room, few resources, and very little capital.  You will see immediate health benefits in addition to learning something about plants.  Start sprouting.
      • Once you’ve mastered sprouting, maybe you still want to get into some dirt.  Start composting—a worm bin does not require a lot of space, although outdoor storage is advisable, in my humble opinion.  With one design element, you have suddenly integrated several important concepts—you are removing food scraps from the wastestream, and creating some terrific soil amendments for your garden—whether that garden is in containers or in the ground.  Once you’ve managed to keep some worms alive for a while, you will have also learned quite a bit about how some natural cycles work, and how important balance is to all cycles—remember the ‘wheel of life’.  Life is like a bicycle wheel…when it’s on the bike, you can actually get somewhere.
    • Don’t have the time to garden?  First of all, think twice on that one, as Mollison says:  “…everything gardens”.  Wherever it is we are choosing to focus our energy is where we are gardening, however not all gardens come with dirt or green things.  Take a moment to examine your life—where is your garden?  Is it your family?  Your job?  Your social life?  What is the output of this system—what are you harvesting?  Is it beneficial to you…to others…to the planet?  We reap what we sow…be aware of what you plant.
      • Not everyone has the desire or inclination to grow their own food, and it is not necessary to do so, although it is a good idea to know exactly where your food comes from, what’s really in it, and what it took to get it to your fork.  If you don’t know, find out—ask questions, read labels—seek local sources for the bulk of what you buy—that is far more important than growing your own food.  The impact of where we spend our dollars has far more resounding effect on our environment than any other single thing—this is how we vote.  All you have to do is take a good look at what is in your garbage—your ‘wastestream’, to know who and what you are voting for.
    • Perhaps you would like to garden, but don’t have any space, in which case there are several options available—first being the fact that it doesn’t have to take a lot of space.  Take a look at what these guys have done:  Urban Permaculture.  You can grow enough vegetables and herbs for a small family on a balcony, in containers.  Of course, the space must have adequate sunlight, so not everyone has the right living space to grow food at home.
      • So, join a local community garden—they are springing up all over, as are lists to help you find them.  Ask your local extension service—they are great sources of information on local events and spaces.  Still can’t find one?  Start one—(that’s what I did), or create an exchange service, where those who have space but don’t have the inclination to garden will exchange the space for a portion of the produce.  LocallyGrown.net is a great resource for finding some of these places as well.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, the point is to start—something.  One thing at a time—just one, with commitment.
forkIn my past I was always known as the child whose ‘eyes are bigger than her stomach,’ (although, I must say I went to took great pains to dis-prove that, literally), the one who ‘bites off more than she can chew’.  What I discovered, however, is that it really is possible, if you are patient and especially if you do not listen to the voices who judge and criticize—it is very attainable to accomplish huge things, when you take it one step at a time.  Elephant in the room?  Take small bites, chew carefully, remain focused on the outcome, rather than the task(s) at hand—if you don’t know how to get there, keep taking small steps until you do——the road will become clearer the further you travel.

Perhaps the biggest change will come

When we don’t have to change much at all.

When maniacs holler “grow, grow, grow”

We can choose to be small.

The key word may be “little,”

We only have to change a little bit.

Eat a little food, drink a little drink,

And only have to shit a little shit.

Oh-wee, oh-wye, and only have to shit a little shit.

Oh-wee, oh-wye, and only have to shit a little shit.

Early in the morning I first see the sun

I say a little prayer for the world.

I hope all the children live a long, long time,

Yes, every little boy and little girl.

I hope they learn to laugh at the way

Some wicked old words do seem to change,

‘Cause that’s what life’s all about:

To arrange an

d rearrange and rearrange.

Oh-wee, oh-wye, to rearrange and rearrange and rearrange.

Oh-wee, oh-wye, to rearrange and rearrange and rearrange.

Words and Music by Pete Seeger (1997)

Read the Series:

Introduction:  ”Unplugging”

© Loretta Buckner, 2014, We Grow From Here

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Loretta Buckner and WeGrowFromHere.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“Our painful experiences become compost in which the seeds of wisdom grow.” Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo

– See more at: http://jenniferhadley.com/2013/06/freedom-activation/#sthash.Lw3LnRsI.dpuf

So, (sow?) it’s been weeks since I’ve written a blog post, and much has happened—large flurries of activity seem to blow through my life like the tornadoes they resemble. I have sat down, several times, and started to write about this or that, but simply could not get past the idea to put it to words. Perhaps not enough sun, too little fertilizer (seem to generally have plenty of that, many might say), but these seeds of inspiration just did not bring forth anything of substance.

Until today, that is—today, with the sunny rain outside, the functional AC indoors, when I read the quote above: there it was. That’s right, folks—all that time we’ve spent in the dark, dank mush-room feeding on the rot tossed to us—it’s all going to pay off, in spades. Like “Daisyhead Maisy” we shall sprout lovely blooms of pain to delight and inspire others…if I read this correctly.

(Oh no, you might rightly be thinking—this is not a happy fluffy post after all—she’s going toThe Dark Side.

But not for long, the sun keeps peaking in and out of the clouds and I cannot keep my head in the muck for long when there is Vitamin D to absorb, dirt to dig, water to flow or follow. All of these well-intentioned self-help gurus constantly force me to look at some of the cold, hard facts of intentional creation—namely: “Be careful what you ask for,” and “Be VERY specific”. Which is my somewhat awkward segway into the “tons of fun” title…my task this morning, yesterday afternoon, and two days before: loading and unloading (literally) tons of bricks. This comes on the heels of the ton (again, 2000 lbs—I counted) of potatoes I spent another three days labor on. And what kind of baby, might you ask, will several tons of labor produce?

Good question—we’ll get back to that one later.

I expect this may sprout some potato plants when all is said and done, but most certainly some nasty, stinky compost until I manage to get enough ‘brown’ added to the mix (once I’ve removed all of the bags, that is…). I did also score some nice pallets with this particular delivery, which I needed for rain barrel stands—one of the next projects to be tackled at Mi Casa. Which leads me again to The Dark Side, because at this point it does not appear that I can hold this particular project together any longer, not without much more significant help, like someone living there fulltime. Problem is, no one seems to be willing to share the space, (people are funny that way—wanting ‘privacy’…oh, don’t get me started—I may go there), which is basically what needs to happen, so I am forced to look for ‘traditional’ tenants again, at least for the short term.

There are, however, so many other worthy projects and plans in the works! The spirit of ‘Mi Casa’ may be carried forward with a larger-scale, more farm-oriented property in Bushnell fondly referred to as “The BSF”. This scope of this project is hundreds of acres of land which are slated for small farm business incubation, much of which may be livestock based—apparently that’s what our government feels is most worthy of financial aid and attention. To ‘Big Ag’—if it don’t have hooves or teeth, it better be grown in the large-scale mono-crop methods we now know have led to disastrous results for our environment. See, to conventional minds, “Farmer” means rows and tractors and chemicals…or pigs and cattle and chickens. Which is why those of us who have the “Permaculture” mindset might benefit greatly by partnering with those who grow livestock—if that is where the monetary value is given, that is what would be called “the edge” of the current system. We play in the edge—this is where the greatest growth lies (so sayeth my mentor Geoff Lawton). This place is a lovely place to begin, as we found when we herded our happy long-haired selves up there last week:

Imagine living in a place like this…where time and space blend in the symphony of nature…

~ * ~

Before we get too heavy into philosophy or politics, let’s divert back to the initial tonnage…the bricks.

That’s a lot of bricks…and yes, I counted them—I’m anal that way (and it really helps when you’re planning out designs)—it’s 2,402, to be exact. Pink Floyd would be proud of my walls! Not being so much a wall person in the garden however, these shall become pathways and edges…you’ll see. A big “thank you” to Pepe Slamdunk for the donation—along with some pots and a couple of rain barrels… the garden is beginning to look quite spiffy!

This one looks right at home, don’t you think?

We’re going to be hosting some official tours very soon, once some of the newest acquisitions have been planted and situated, so come visit, why don’t you?


April Being Cruel – The ABC’s of Spring (What the Thunder Said)

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

~T.S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

The rain is pattering on the eaves, which inspired me to write out of my normal context (granted, this happens most often between the hours of two and three AM), because the sound of Spring rain, the sight of birds flying with nesting material, the smell of rich, loamy soil is nearly enough for me to overlook the persistent ache in my head and the accompanying dullness of mind and spirit which seems to fill the brain with the very same mucous clogging my sinuses.

Seasonal allergies—yay. Three years ago I inadvertently triggered a series of physical traumas in my attempt to stamp out the inevitable march of immune sensitivity which was then my only complaint, physically speaking, outside of the occasional lower lumbar flare up. Little did I know what ‘imbalance’ really was, until I tipped the scale just a wee bit too far. So this, then, is a cautionary tale—for health-conscious, for those who choose to grow their own food, for those who believe that wellness begins with good choices and sound practices. See, I do believe that our bodies have everything we need to heal ourselves, that it is finding the right combination of food and mental/physical/spiritual practice which can both stave off dis-ease, but also cure whatever ails us. I have my own personal experience as proof, in fact—I’ve been experimenting on myself for years!

“I’ve grown up in a world that seems to have a pill for almost everything. College kids pop caffeine pills to stay up all night writing papers, while our parents are at home popping sleeping pills to prevent unwelcome all-nighters. We can take pills for headaches, stomachaches, sinus pressure and cold symptoms, so we can still go to work sick. If there’s no time to eat right, we have nutrition pills, too. Just pop some vitamins and you’re good to go, right?” ~Camille Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)

Let me say, first and foremost, that I believe that it is our personal responsibility, part of the ownership of a human body, to take active participation in the upkeep and maintenance of that body. Which means: “know thyself”, in short. We may not be our bodies, but it makes good sense to take care of our vehicles. I have read every book, (well, nearly so, anyway—I am a bit obsessive that way, you know), on every dietary practice known to mankind, and here’s the rub: they disagree. Not just a little, not just over time, from one fad to another, but across the entire spectrum of time, culture, and trend. They change their minds, a lot—that is about the only consistency I discovered.

What this tells me is two things: 1. they’re all right; and 2. none of them are completely right. The factor is oversimplification—that, granted, one can make sweeping generalizations based on case-study groups, whether cultural, logistic, or symptomatically, but the one factor missing out of all of them is simple: human diversity. We all have our own individual gene map as well as personal history, so only us as individuals can hope to understand the keys to our own bodies, and therefore our own health. As House always said: “Everybody lies”. We do it not out of malice, but because we don’t all come from the same reference point, so it can be unintentional—it is closer to mis-communication. We also all have stories, excuses we make up for why things are as they are, which is how we create those reference points.

So, here is my story of enlightenment, concerning allergies, digestion, and auto-immune reaction:

  • 2009: “Taking the Blue Pill”: Phase II game, challenging reality and re-creating the wheel. Physically, pretty fit, hadn’t had a cold, flu, any viral or bacterial dis-ease in years. Just the seasonal allergy thing: hay fever, sinus pressure, headaches. If not caught in time: the sinus infection, which I then only knew to treat by going to the M.D. and getting antibiotics. I had been practicing yoga daily for a few years, which helped immensely with the back pain (caused by degenerating disk L5), and treated the sinus stuff mainly through preventive measures such as neti pot and sinus-draining foods. Some medications worked sometimes, but nothing consistently and nothing completely or preventative. I felt the need to ‘up the ante’, and tried my first cleanse, having read extensively about the benefits of colonics, yet feeling that if one were to really clean things out it should be done from top to bottom, so to speak. It was in the Spring, and I had just begun to have a hay fever type of reaction, with immense sinus pressure and terrible headache. The first two days were hell—the headache increased, with the added caffeine withdrawal, accompanied by flu-like indescribable body aches and pains. ‘This is not uncommon’, said the literature and forums on cleansing, citing the body’s release of toxins from the organs. Sure enough, Day Three brought not only complete pain relief, but also clear breathing and no sinus pressure at all! I was hooked. I had decided on quarterly ten-day cleanses, to be sure all of the toxins, heavy metals, whatnot were out of my system. Come Fall, I also enrolled in a seven month yoga teacher-training program, feeling ready at that point to embark on a more spiritual arm of this quest for purity and enlightenment. Within a few weeks, I had contracted the swine flu, which downed me for a solid week—the first viral infection I had gotten in maybe ten years. In the yoga weekends, I found myself enduring more pain—not from the yoga practice, but from all of the ‘stuff’ which comes up, much like what happens with massage and acupuncture—releasing energies can sometimes be a little uncomfortable. I also had started inexplicably gaining weight, although I had changed nothing about my diet.
  • 2010: With the teacher-training finished, I conclude that I am in no way ready to try and teach anyone else, still immersed in my own journey of physical and psychological discovery. I enroll in the Landmark Forum, and negotiate through the entire “Curriculum for Living” in 6-9 months. Still bloated, not adjusting to the “new” body. Fall comes (I’m noticing a pattern here I hadn’t before…): I sprain my ankle, which takes a full year to heal. With the birth of grandson #1 late in the year, I begin a period of much more travel than before, which sets off different allergic reactions.
  • 2011: The year of sailing—which may have been my saving grace—few complaints to recall. Allergies begin to show different patterns—instead of rain providing relief, the pressure gets worse, etc. Is it the toxins from the BP oil spill, I wonder? I also begin to notice over-reactions to mixing alcohol with any number of things—certain foods, activities, etc., more food-related allergies as well. The dreaded Five-O comes and goes with a whimper. The ‘bloated’ feeling becomes common, as does the frequent fog in the brain, which I describe as ‘moldy brains’.
  • 2012: In honor of the end of the Mayan calendar, I embark on the year of living each day as if it were my last—quite the challenge, which came to manifest in some curious ways. Early in the year I take on a more-physical job than I’m accustomed to—a 1200 square foot tile job–and in the process sustain a stress injury to my shoulder, which ends up as a recurring dislocation, causing nerve damage to the right arm. In April, hay fever lights a fire in my head so bad my front teeth are pushed out of alignment, and convinced I have an abscessed tooth, visit the dentist. It was a sinus infection, no abscess. The back flares up, the left knee…then other joints—my hands begin to swell and lose function—it’s official: I am falling apart, and it is a rapid decline. (Here’s where I’d like to insert that it is not particularly helpful to remind one of one’s age in relation to the degree and acceleration of physical deterioration. Not to mention unkind, too…) I try massage, up the ante on spiritual practice (return to “A Course in Miracles” daily), start another cleanse, and visit an acupuncturist, who informs me that my “gut is mush”, and the level of decline and damage is just a step or two from something serious and permanent (such as M.S., R.A., Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Celiac, whatever designer dis-ease popular at the moment, and ultimately, the “Big C”). Hundreds of dollars in treatments, tonics, and homeopathic remedies, and I begin to feel a little better, intermittently. The first acupuncture treatment, by the way, I literally thought I was going to die, not during, but later on that night—the pain was excruciating, and I have high tolerance. When I told the Dr., she looked a little shocked, and mentioned some possible past-life karmic flush. Meantime, my bowels begin backing up and blocking, so we have to treat that as well—something uncommon to my primarily-Pitta nature. Here is where I truly begin to understand what has been happening, but it is not until now that I have put all of the pieces together.
  • 2013: Six to twelve months later, dietary changes have caused much of the weight to drop off. Barring a few bouts of “I don’t want to admit I need a special diet,” and “I have created this, therefore I can un-create it,” which led to some temporary setbacks, the first quarter of this year has been better. I feel that I am on the road to recovery, and have the tools to prevent future issues. One of the snafus I kept snagging on was my desire to attain a more vegan lifestyle. Not for me, apparently, at least not until the gut has healed.

Some of the things I learned on my road to self-discovery via the intestinal tract are:

  • (Datta) If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. What I now know must have happened, after reading oodles of books and consulting with several knowledgeable medical practitioners, is that I should have re-invested my intestinal flora post-cleanse. From birth, we spend our first couple of years building up a nice brew of bacterial soup in our digestive tract, or else we spend our lives sickly and under-nourished. While I had a history of problems which do point to a compromised system (eczema, allergies, anemia, etc. – read the G.A.P.S. book–I’m the poster child), my lifestyle choices from my twenties on helped to create stronger immunities and general health. When I did my series of cleanses, however, I cleaned out the good guys along with whatever toxins were in there, thus leaving myself open to any ol’ bug which came down the pike, ultimately leaving me in a state of constant and rapidly degrading auto-immune reaction. This is the “leaky gut syndrome” one hears about. Ayurvedically, I knew that there were issues, because they were indicated by my tongue—not only did I have a nice crack down the middle, but I also still have ridges along the outer edges (although they have diminished gradually as I’ve changed my diet), both of which indicate malabsorption, (leaky gut).
  • (Dayadhvam) The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Stubborn willpower (that Pitta thing I mentioned before) will not fix leaky pipes once they are already damaged. Deal with it, and do the repair before attempting changes based on philosophy. One of the things I did find the various experts agree on is that wheat is hard to digest, and animal protein (while it may stay in the system longer) is easy to digest, thus more bio-available. Anything green is good—eat lots. So, I avoid wheat and other gluten (avoid, not eliminate), and I am back to Ovo/avian-pescatarian, which is a fancy name for “I don’t eat red meat”. I also religiously take probiotics and enzymes, and have added much more fermented foods to my diet. Sugar is another biggie—while I have gradually eliminated virtually all process sugars some time ago, I know understand the way that all carbs are treated by our systems, and have a much higher level of consciousness regarding intake. Salt (who knew?!) is not an issue for me, since I have low blood pressure—adding a bit actually makes me feel better.

So, what about the allergies? I knew you’d ask, so had an answer prepared: I still have them—hay fever may or may not be a part of my reality for a while longer—I do hear that allergies can be ‘cleared’, and it makes sense that one can in fact de-sensitize oneself by slow re-introduction of the stuff that creates histamine reaction. My oak trees try to help with this—I find oak pollen hiding in the folds of curly-leaf kale even after I’ve washed it. When I began this post, in fact, was one of the worst reactions I’ve had to date, which led me finally to medicate—I took one Allegra and one Ephedrine. After days of suffering, the one sinus that doesn’t like to drain and causes all the nasty problems ran like a faucet and I had relief. So, that, my friends was another lesson:

  • (Damyata) Sometimes just take the bloody drug! It’s all about moderation, right?

London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down

  Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina

Quando fiam ceu chelidon—O swallow swallow
Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins

Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.*

        Shantih    shantih    shantih


~T.S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

*what the thunder said – (Give, sympathise, control)

©WeGrowFromHere, Inc. (No part of this may be reproduced without permission of the author.)