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  • Jennifer Jewell


FOODSCAPING - with Brie Arthur. Photo courtesy of Brie Arthur, all rights reserved.


As a gardener and a human in this exact time on our planet, and in this specific season of the year - a season of communal gathering and thankfulness at the tail end of the growing season in the Northern Hemisphere, this week we celebrate Family, Kin, & Kinship. We are joined in this conversational celebration by Gavin Van Horn and Rowen White sharing with us about a new multi-volume collection of written voices entitled "Kinship Belonging in a World of Relations" out now from the Center for Humans and Nature, based in Chicago.

Gavin is the creative director and executive editor for the Center for Humans and Nature and served as co-editor on the Kinship series with Robin Wall Kimmerer and John Hausdoerffer. Rowen is a seed keeper, a mother, and a farmer from the Mohawk community as well as being a passionate activist for Indigenous seed and food sovereignty. She is the educational director and lead mentor of Sierra Seeds an innovative Indigenous seed bank and land-based educational organization located in Nevada city, California. Rowen is the founder of the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network and her essay "Sky Woman’s Garden" appears in Partners the third volume of the five-volume Kinship series.

Gavin writes of the genesis of this convening of voices:

Three years ago, on a frost-bitten November morning, we gathered with human and more-than-human friends in Northern Illinois. This convening of kindred spirits began the conversations that would eventually become the Kinship series.

During our time together, our group of twenty or so people often sat in a loose circle, listening to unique experiences from all varieties of places. The room was full of joy, wonder, and a laughter that seemed to bubble up spontaneously, reinforcing bonds of kinship and love for this living earth.

Other voices also came into our midst. A participant in the middle of the circle pulled out her phone and gently asked us to listen. The sound of a family of Orcas communicating with one another entered the room. Even those of us who don’t live anywhere near the Pacific Ocean felt deep recognition, made more poignant by the current threats faced by these fellow mammals. They were speaking to one another, yet it felt as though their voices were also reaching through the water to us. Kin.

Later, we ventured outside to stretch our legs and to participate in a soundwalk to attune ourselves to the nearby forest and its aural textures. We paused at a huge Oak whose sprawling crown seemed to cover most of the backyard. We paid our respects. Some of us laid a hand on the tree. All of us breathed, thinking about plant kin who outlive us in age and who gift us with oxygen.

On the basis of this meeting, the initial vision for Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations was one book. Then it grew. New threads were suggested and the web became larger. Soon it was apparent that the web could not be contained by a single volume. We decided to ask, What if we let this book become what it wants to become?

Kinship has thus become a series and we’re thrilled with the outcome. We’d like to express our deep gratitude for our human and more-than-human kin who gathered on that chilly November morning to help bring this ambitious project to such a beautiful result. And we'd also like to thank you—our readers and partners—for supporting us on this journey and for walking down this path with us toward becoming better kin.

Just like all kinds of gardens, these voices raised together in this uplifting series is all about growing together in this world.

In partnership with the wonderful folks at Point Reyes Books, you are invited to join in once a month to connect with kindred spirits and to discuss our five-volume book series, Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations. The book series editors will moderate with many of the contributors participating in the live conversation and Q&A.

Each month we will focus on one volume of the Kinship series:

Vol. 1: Planet—Wednesday, December 8

Vol. 2: Place—Wednesday, January 12

Vol. 3: Partners—Wednesday, February 9

Vol. 4: Persons—Wednesday, March 9

Vol. 5: Practice—Wednesday, April 13

The first discussion on Vol. 1: Planet will take place on: Wednesday, December 8, 8:00 p.m. CST

Participants in this conversation about planetary/cosmic kinship will include Heather Swan, Ceridwen Dovey, Bron Taylor, Marcia Bjornerud, Art Goodtimes, and others.

You can follow The Center for Humans and Nature's work online at: and on Instagram at @humansandnature

You can follow Rowen White's work online at: and on Instagram at @rowenwhite


you might also enjoy these Best of CP programs in our archive:

Native Plant Guide, Ernesto Alvarado

California Botanic Garden Seed Bank, Naomi Fraga

To Be A SeedKeeper, Rowen White

JOIN US again next week, when we visit a small integrated family market farm in Northern California and explore the day to life of living with the soil, with our food, with the people who bring it to us throughout the seasons year round. It is a reminder reminiscent of poet Ross Gay’s reverie examining the relationship between kind and kin in his deep love of carrots and other kinds of lives and loves of this autumn into winter harvest season. Listen in next week!


Cultivating Place is made possible in part by listeners like you and by generous support from the American Horticultural Society. Soon to Celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, AHS has been a trusted source of high quality gardening and horticultural information since 1922.

Today, AHS’s mission blends education, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship with the art and practice of horticulture. Members of AHS receive the award-winning flagship magazine, The American Gardener, free admission and other discounts to more than 345 public gardens with the Reciprocal Admissions Program, plus discounts on books, seeds, programs and more!

Listeners of Cultivating Place can receive a $10 discount on the annual individual membership of $35, by visiting For your annual Membership to the American Horticultural Society for the special Cultivating Place rate of just $25 a year, head over to

Cultivating Place is also proud to receive support from the California Native Plant Society, on a mission to save California’s native plants and places using both head and heart. CNPS brings together science, education, conservation, and gardening to power the native plant movement. California is a biodiversity hotspot and CNPS is working to save the plants that make it so.

For more information on their programs and membership, please visit


Thinking out loud this week:

If there is any place in the world that reminds me of my own belonging in a world of diverse and beautiful family and kindred it is in the garden.

How about you?





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