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  • Jennifer Jewell


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


This week, in this season of endings and beginnings again we welcome back writer, backyard tender, and heartfelt observer Margaret Renkl, joining us to share more about her newest likewise heartfelt book: “The Comfort of Crows, A Backyard Year.”

Many of you will remember our previous conversation with writer and gardener Margaret Renkl about one of her previous title, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss and her other titles include Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South.Her opinion pieces in The New York Times document the nature of our humanity weekly.

I am so pleased to welcome Margaret back this week to share more about her newest title – what is aptly described as “a literary and nature- based devotional” from one of our favorite backyard nature devotees.

Margaret's writing nourishes and buoys me quite regularly and I am so pleased to share time with her this week, perhaps especially this week.


You can follow Margaret's work on line at

and Instagram: @margaret.renkl/

Images courtesy of Margaret Renkl, Illustrated art by Billy Renkl, all rights reserved.

HERE IS THIS WEEK'S TRANSCRIPT by Doulos Transcription Service:

10-19-23 CP - The Comfort of Crows - Margaret Renkl - final
Download PDF • 149KB

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JOIN US again next week, when we continue our artistic autumnal theme in Conversation with Nina Veteto of Blue Ridge Botanic and the brand new Flora & Forage Podcast (and offshoot of her beloved Secrets of the Wildflowers Video series on social media.) That's right here, next week.


Speaking of Plants and Place is on summer vacation - back soon!


Cultivating Place is made possible in part by listeners like you and by generous support from

supporting initiatives that empower women and help preserve the planet through the intersection of environmental advocacy, social justice, and creativity.



Thinking out loud this week....

And my take away this week I find in Margaret’s dialectic between grief and hope. That hope is not a fool’s errand, but it is also not a noun.

It is a verb, an active verb which can take make forms but in this case it is embodied and made manifest through listening, looking, appreciating, supporting, tending, and sharing forward – which we might call sowing.

A man at a reading this past week asked me to sign his copy of What We Sow with this: "Sow kindness, harvest love."

I fully enjoyed the rich love song that Margaret Renkl both harvested from her Backyard Year and then has sown forward into ours. I think you might too.

Oh LA friends, I am headed your way. Please come out and celebrate and say hello. November 4th I am leading a panel of seriously inspiring Seed People for A Feast Day in Seeds and Words if you will at Terremoto’s Plant Material location in Silver Lake. The What We Sow Seeds and their People event will take place from 3 – 6 pm and is a sort of warm-up event for the evening’s benefit concert to benefit the No Canyon Hills work being done in LA.

As David Godshall noted it will be a double header of Bad-Ass Eco Warriors in our world. The Seed people panel will include Terremoto, Cris Sarabia the conservation director of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, El Puente, and SEED LA, seed ecologist Genevieve Arnold of the Theodore Payne Foundation, and seed artists Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel of Studio Tutto.

While Naomi Fraga and Cheryl Birker of California Botanic Garden’s Seed Conservation work are not able to join us, I will hope to bring word of their latest seeded achievements and aspirations. This event is free and open to the public – I will be signing and selling books and mostly just reveling in the end of the season, which of course marks the fertile moment of the next seasons x many.

Hoping to see LA friends there….




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neil jiohu
neil jiohu

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