Photos courtesy of Farmer Rishi and the Sarvodaya Institute, all rights reserved - see full gallery at bottom of post.
This week on Cultivating Place, we look at culture and ecology with Farmer Rishi. Rishi is a farmer/gardener, teacher, thinker and lover of life based in Southern California.
The executive director of the Sarvodaya Institute there, Rishi leads by example and by invitation. His intention for working in the fields of regeneration and urban farming is to joyfully increase understanding around the basic principles behind the healing of our bodies: both our physical bodies and our shared Earthen body.
From his experiences farming in suburban Southern California as well as at Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya Farm in India, Rishi believes that our individual footprints can and should leave the world with rich soil, running rivers, and smiling faces.
With this in mind, Farmer Rishi believes we should not decrease our footprints per se, but increase the joy, love, and care of the footprints we leave. And starting Sept 27th, Farmer Rishi is hosting an Increase Your Footprint Course:
Increase Your Footprint is about translating the care and love we feel for our Mother Earth into a care and love that is expressed through our hand and actions. Farmer Rishi will guide you to INCREASE YOUR FOOTPRINT of healing and regeneration on our Earth-body by restoring health to soil, water cycles, plants and ourselves. The link to the course registration page is: https://sarvodayainstitute.org/pages/increase-your-footprint
You can follow Farmer Rishi's work online at farmerrishi.com and at SarvodayaInstitute.com on Instagram @farmerrishi and @sarvodayafarms
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JOIN US again next week, when we consider this lovely season of seed in the northern hemisphere in conversation with Oregonian farmer-florist Stacey Denton discussing her work called Flora and the importance of bioregional seed. Listen in!
Speaking of Plants...and Place:
Speaking of plants and place and seasons we’ve just stepped over the autumnal equinox here in the northern hemisphere and the new moon of it September is this coming Sunday the 25th.
Here where I garden almost on the 40th parallel on the western edge of North America, it might have been a record-breaking 115° here last week, but this week the late light of almost 7 in the morning, and the earlier fading but still the lingering light of evening, and the chill this morning that sent me looking for my long sleeve shirt lets me know that we are officially no longer in summer. We will have many hot days in front of us no doubt, into late October even, but the light tells us a different and ancient story. It is not summer and all cues – from the sun, the moon, the oaks, the squirrels, the deciduous tree and shrub leaves – show us the way.
A good couple of things to keep in mind right now, even for those listeners in arid conditions and warmer aspects, most herbaceous or deciduous perennial plants, trees and shrubs have very different priorities right now – their urge is to be storing energy, and setting their amazing diversity of seed.
With that in mind almost all perennial plants from my native salvia to my Mediterranean lavender and oreganos and my English roses need and want proportionately less water than they were getting, and in cooler climates, everything wants less deadheading or cutting back for repeat bloom, so consider re-adjusting your automatic drip or other irrigation down or lengthening the time between your your deep watering of trees and shrubs a little longer, and very generally if you have first frost predicted for anywhere in the next 6 weeks, go ahead and stop deadheading to allow your plants to firm up for the winter ahead.
The position of the sun and moon, and the temperature this morning might remind you it’s closer than you think. But even with all that – welcome to the many particular splendors of fall garden friends – like the richness of autumn leaves to mulch your garden beds and feed your compost, and the collecting of seed from your annuals completing their full cycle.
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Thinking out loud this week:
Happy Autumnal equinox garden friends in the Northern Hemisphere. And Vernal Equinox to you all in the south. Another marker of this constant circle around the seasons.
I have been thinking about what to hold and take with me in mind and heart from the summer season behind us. In the veg garden we had tremendous early tomatoes and all season long excellent shishito peppers.
We gave corn a go in a new spot and while the plants did pretty well, underplanted with beans and squash plants off to the side – the corn cobs were very small. Pretty good kernel set, but very petite cobs. We did plant a selection called Golden Bantam, so maybe we should have expected this? What we did eat was sweet and delicious – but short. Haha.
After a late frost we had no fruit set at all on our apricot, and we had the best fruit set we’ve ever had on young 4 year old pears, which we were envisioning in all of their perfection. The small orchard is fenced for deer for the first time this year, and we carefully bagged our 20 or so pears to protect them from birds. We were all set. And then one morning last week – just short of possible harvest of course – John noticed a little dirty bag on the ground beneath one of the trees – and then he noticed all the bags….and then it registered. Nearly every single pear was gone. Bags neatly opened and dropped to the ground below.
We are not career farmers or gardeners, but you all know the crushed feeling we had at this small but sharp loss. And then, the realization that someone wild one was well fed that night. We still have some apples, and the farmers of our region to hold us.
Here’s my take home from Farmer Rishi – structure joy, and fun, and worth into your days and your garden life – no matter how many pears or rose you do or don’t grow as a result. You and your garden are worthy just for being there.
What were your highs and lows from the season? I would love to hear – you know how: send me an email: email@example.com or tag me or comment on my weekly post on Instagram where you will find me @cultivating_place.
Garden on -
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