- Jennifer Jewell
REIMAGINING THE FOODSHED: AMYROSE FOLL, VIRGINIA FREE FARM
Amyrose Foll is a mother, a farmer, a business woman, of Native American Abenaki and Penobscot descent, an Army veteran - and a big thinker. As the executive director and founder of the multifacted Virginia Free Farm at Spotted Pig Holler, Kents Store Virginia, she is looking to reimagine the foodshed of her world – and ours.
As spring takes hold and the warm growing season greens our northern Hemisphere landscapes, gardens, farms, Amyrose sees a greater foodshed model - built on cultivating food security - within reach.
"Growing up we were not rich in the conventional sense, but we were rich in food traditions. We had shelves full of preserved fruit and vegetables grown by my mother and extended family, we had a freezer full of meat hunted by my father and extended family. All of this was shared with others. In my family, the more you gave away the riche you were."
- Amyrose Foll, Virginia Free Farm
Amyrose's work integrates growing and distributing of fresh food to communities in need of it, teaching and mentoring of young farmers and growers, saving and sharing of seed, facilitating community and tribal community gardens - and changing the world. We follow Amyrose's journey from Army veteran to nurse to mother to founder of the Virginia Free Farm - which just this year has sprouted several satellite farms following the same model.
Follow along with Amyrose's journey and the work of the Virginia Free Farm on line at: virginiafreefarm.org, and on Instagram: @mamamaize and @virginiafreefarm and @womensearthalliance
Listen in again next week when it is California Native Plant Week here in the California Floristic Province and Cultivating Place visits with the California Native Plant society to talk openly about how this environmental organization is striving with heart and head to meet this cultural moment and all Californians more intentionally and inclusively.
THINKING OUT LOUD this week..
It’s so wonderfully abundantly greenly spring here in my part of the world and I am taken by Amyrose Foll’s describing how growing up in Pennsylvania among extended family and community were not quote “rich” in the conventional sense, but they were rich in family and good food and access to wild places and the skills and knowledge to live with this food and these places.
What is “rich” in the conventional sense? Is it how many dollars you have in your bank account, how many square feet in your house?
What does rich mean to you? I for one like Amyrose’s family’s creed that the more you give away the wealthier you are. And maybe I would add, the more we have eyes to see and appreciate the abundance around us in our gardens and wild spaces, and the more we share this vision, the wealthier we all are.
I know I am bleeding heart idealist – but come on – that’s rich isn’t it?
Here are two other things Amyrose says in the course of our conversation:
She indicates that she could not follow a “normal career path” and also that “one woman cannot save the world”
While I know very few creative, caring, visionary people who have followed any boxed version of a “normal career path”, I would say that Amyrose is fairly accurate in her description of not having followed any such path, and is wrong in her second statement.
She might need help and community and support and network, who doesn’t, but she is certainly one woman making remarkable strides on saving the world and growing it better.
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