• Jennifer Jewell

IMAGINE: A CONVERSATION WITH FARMER/FLORIST/DAUGHTER, AMBER TAMM




In honor of the Solstice on December 21st and the important pivot in seasonal time that it represents, rest, dark, and dormancy in the northern hemisphere, expansive growth in the southern hemisphere, this week we’re joined by farmer/horticulturist/floral designer, activist, and daughter, Amber Tamm.


I talk a lot about the idea of gardening being one of the very human intersectional spaces in our world and when I say that I am talking about the fact that it can transcend so many differences, how it can be a part of the solution to so many of our challenges, and it can bring us together in so many ways. In my mind, it is one of the most important cultural literacies we can cultivate - like food, music, art, literature, and love.


Amber Tamm is an astoundingly energetic and heartful woman working in all of these intersections through the lens of agriculture and horticulture.


Amber joined me from her home in Brooklyn earlier this year, and I cannot think of better voice and energy to help us intentionally usher in this solstice season.




"My ancestry is very mixy - and beautiful - and all of us are different shades of brown, which I love, I love to represent that underground rainbow of the earth - all the different brown's of the earth. ”

Amber Tamm, Farmer, Horticulturist, Floral Designer, Activist & Daughter



Amber shares with us her dreams of caring for land of her own for the benefit of the many.


Recently, Amber wrote this tribute to farmers and the life of farming on her Instagram page:


"every year, I tell myself that I’m ready for winter .... & I never truly am. When I started farming, my first head farmer would lecture me for hours about the realities of farming. He’d tell me how hard it is on the body and on the finances, he’d tell me about the lack of sleep, and he’d never let me ever let me forget about tractor work & the dangers of it. But what was never talked about was falling in love with the work & not having access to it in the winter. Every year, once fall approaches I start knitting prayers into myself, prayers that winter will actually be restorative, that winter will teach me how to be still after working my ass off all season, that it’ll be good .... but Lawd, am I having a difficult time! I have yet to truly understand how to get through winter when farming is my medicine, when working with the elements for months at a time is talking to my mom, my ancestors, is my therapy, my workout, my make up, it’s literally everything to me. In conclusion, for those who want to farm in the North East and haven’t started yet, heres the heads up I never got. be ready for the waves of depression from the disconnection from the work you love. It is up to us to self soothe, til we can get back to Momma Earth when she warms up again."


You can follow Amber's illuminating work and garden life journey on line at: www.ambertamm.com/, on Instagram @ambertamm/



Join us again next week when we’re joined by gardener Sayaka Lean of the Herb Pharm in Southern Oregon, where she tends to a large medicinal and habitat garden for bees and birds and bounty. Listen in next week!



RELATED EPISODES INCLUDE:



- Soul Fire Farm, Leah Penniman



- Botany, Geography, History & Power, Jamaica Kincaid


- Robin Wall Kimmerer, on Gardening and Citizenship


THINKING OUT LOUD this week..



Just as Todd and Carter last week see the wreaths and other natural items they are crafting this time of year as both in honor and in culmination of the year that has brought us to now, so too, this conversation with Amber Tamm is such a culmination for us at Cultivating Place. I knew after speaking with her that I wanted to hold this conversation as a threshold into winter and our dreaming rooting growth and intention setting for this next circle round the sun. I wanted this conversation to be in our ears as we cross into our next season with all that Amber gives voice to, embodies, imagines, and asks us to grow up into as a a greater gardening/growing community.


When I look back at all the gardeners and growers who have companioned us since December 21st of 2019, I am so moved by the leaders they are, the mentoring and modeling they put out into this world every day, every cycle of the moon, of the seasons and the sun. I know you feel this too. I thank you for your notes of support for the encouragement you find in these conversations, for your many donations to make this work possible. WE MET OUR GOAL OF 100 new listener supporters in the second half of 2020 and I am so grateful, so humbled, so expanded by this community. Without your support this labor of love would not be even close to sustainable – and so… if you didn’t have the chance to contribute and you’d to show your support of this work you tune in for and find value in – just follow the SUPPORT button at the top right hand corner of any page at CultivatingPlace.com.


Thank you! Thank you! As we close in on our 5th birthday in early February, the next 5 years look promising and vibrant with the many many shades of rich brown soil and green green growth that is the fullness of this collective garden life story.


In reviewing this past year of Cultivating Place, a few conversations really stand out for me.


I am curious if there are some that stand out for you? Based on recent notes and comments from listeners, I get a feeling they do.


I would love you to do me another favor of support. If you have the inclination - PLEASE tell me what voices have moved you this year here? What stories or leaders from the ground up that you heard here with me grew you the most? Stayed with you? If there are specifics as to why these particular episodes moved you, I would love to hear about those specifics.


As we all look toward 2021, I would love to know this. You can send me an email: cultivatingplace@gmail.com


Thank you for your listening, thank you for your sharing the episodes you love with me, sharing them with one another by email or tag or sharing on your social platforms, thank you for sharing them with your friends and family, and most especially for sharing these meaning of these with your own garden and garden ways.


My very very warmest garden best to you in your garden from me in mine. The work we do there, the connections we make there, the joy we find there is as sacred as the season itself. Happy Solstice.


Together we can and do grow better.

All photos used courtesy of Hort & Pott.

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