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  • Jennifer Jewell


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


Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is a time of dormancy for the plant and animal kingdoms alike. While it may look very still and quiet, it is in fact a period of unseen activity worth looking at and learning from – for perspective and possibilities. In our final offering for your garden based preparations for the Winter Solstice officially occurring on December 21st at 8 am Pacific Time.

The Solstice is not just a date and time, but a turning and inflection point in our annual cycle of growth. In honor of that cycle, and its periods of rest – daily, weekly, annually, and throughout cycles of years, we’re joined this week in conversation with farmer, gardener and community advocate, Devorah Brous – with whom we explore the importance of rest, dormancy and sabbatical as a way to refuel, to rethink, and to rejuvenate in all health and creativity for our work and cycles ahead.

As Devorah writes: For me, “fromsoil2soul” means knowing the patterns of nature, and our own natural patterning, it means unlearning destructive cycles, and crafting new cycles that revere stillness and silence, degeneration to fallow the inner and outer landscapes."

Dev is the founder of FromSoil2Soul, where she studies and guides regeneration on multiple levels. As she writes: "for some this might mean overcoming burnout through ritual, for others it might mean learning to grow food in relationship with nature as we install a water-wise kitchen garden, or an institutional scale compost system.”

After many years working in the Middle East helping on land stewardship and community building projects, her growing work is now based in Southern California and focuses on regeneration, including the importance of rest and rejuvenation for us and for the soil, plants, and other lives we live with. In the our conversation, she shares more about how her work in the Middle East led her to burnout and her subsequent exploration as a gardener into the ancient idea behind rest in sabbatical – the nights of days, the Sabbath day of the week, the winter season in the annual cycle of seasons, and even Sabbatical years in a cycle of years.

After we spoke, Dev wrote in to add: "My gardening is rooted at the intersection of burnout and renewal. The compost that feeds my life's work involves regenerating the landscapes that are most degenerated and unseen. My eyes were pried wide open when I was immersed in the soils of a historically-contested Biblical landscape where people are uprooting and burning trees, bulldozing homes/gardens, mutating seed, fighting pests, controlling fire, and combating dry farming fields of barley with Roundup to war over the desert. Seeing hidden forces in the landscape (from the insidious to the mystical) is vital to regeneration. Today I guide folks in ancient ways of tending the soil of our lives: growing in tandem with nature's cycles; fallowing to unearth the medicine of the land; and giving back more than we glean." Dev Brous

Dev is offering a free online Compost Ritual on the Winter Solstice at 12.21, 9am PST. Folks can bring their greens and browns and sign up through my website:

Happy Winter Solstice~

You can follow Dev's work online at, or on Instagram @dev.brous


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

Seasons of our Joy (Breath of Life), Rabbi Arthur Waskow

JOIN US again next week, when we’re in conversation with Gary Nabhan, first generation Lebanese American gardener, ecologist, ethnobotanist, & ecumenical Franciscan brother. A pioneer in the local food and heirloom seed saving movements, Gary frequently focuses on the biodiversity and cultural diversity of the binational American Southwest, his chosen home place.


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:

One of the things that comes up for me as Devorah and I begin the exploration around Sabbatical and resting, fallow times – like winter – is the importance as she highlights of it allowing us to see the unseen. And this from the perspective of a gardener with no formal religious affliliation, but who sees the cycles of the annual growing year as the structure on which I place my deepest widest faith. Periods of rest and fallowing or wintering allow us to see the unseen– whether that be the holiness in every garden, or the sharp relief of our own fatigue. There are lessons that rest and laying fallow can teach us that we would not see otherwise – like the bird visibly lighting on the branch of the tree where – now that the leaves were down, Camille Dungy could see this bird in her final poem of last week. Slowing down and taking a rest allows us to regenerate from the inside out, it allows us to dream. And it allows us to see where the water might want to go, where the birds, and other migrants want to go and what they might need, it allows us to see where the land and the plants want to grow – and from there we grow better as gardeners.

As my final message to you in these episodes leading up to the Solstice, I want to quote something you’re going to hear from Dev at the end of our conversation. I want you to hear it twice as to the power of rest and dormancy and slowing all systems in your life: “Tapping into the regenerative currents is something that’s university accessible like love him and my hope is that we can learn to resist the culture of urgency I slowing down and having the subtleties of the often overlooked seasonal shifts they’re happening around us they’re happening underneath us in the soil and they’re happening within us and so my work is really about holding a candle or even shining a torch to help shift our awareness to see what we can’t see because often times it is in those subtle gleanings that we can harness the most seismic and ground mending shifts that are needed in these times”

Ground and energy mending – that is what dormancy, rest, wintering are all about.

A gentle and generative winter rest to you in your garden from me in mine.





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