The people of Puerto Rico have experienced several major earthquakes and aftershocks this month. Cecilia Iraida, a member of the Chicagoland Herbal Collective, wrote from Puerto Rico on Jan. 10th, before another major earthquake hit on the morning of the 11th, “As I write to you now there are still tremors being felt. I went to rest on my bed and felt my bed moving still. It's been raining on and off intensely in my region. Cleansing. The aftershocks are more intense in the south. Like 5.4 at the highest. Guayanilla, Ponce, Yauco, Guanica, are in the worst shape right now. There's talk of another earthquake. My family here's in great fear at the moment. There's several of them living in one house right now. I've invited them to stay with me more than once but they're in no position to relocate. There are families already outside, sleeping in parks, in cars, in tents, cots, where they are. What's crucial in this moment is providing adequate supplies for shelter, sustenance and communication. Solar lights, phone chargers, tents, inflatable mattresses, life straws, water filters, canned/dried food, outdoor stoves, etc., if possible, should be sent and shipped over. About 300 people displaced from their homes in Guayanilla/Yauco right now. 200 people are sleeping out in Peñuelas in dire need of aid, food, assistance.” We hope those numbers aren’t even higher now after Saturday morning’s quake. Cecilia is working with Chicago and Puerto Rico based Permaculture organization, Land + Heart Project https://www.landheartproject.org/ to provide assistance. If you would like to help, donations can be made here: http://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/landheartproject
The Resiliency Institute is excited to expand our Growing Food Security program by working together with Created for More Ministries on an inspiring "Seeds for Change" Permaculture Garden project at the Illinois Youth Detention Center in Warrenville, IL!
Wheaton College student, Isabella Wallmow, approached The Resiliency Institute about her idea for the project after seeing our Ferry Forest Garden as she passed it on her way to and from volunteering with her Juvenile Justice Ministry at the youth prison, which is right down the street from the garden on Ferry Rd. in Warrenville. Isabella, with a passion for social justice and a new student of permaculture where, "the problem is the solution," brilliantly identified how the youth at the facility are commonly viewed as unwanted products in our society which if given proper support and direction can easily become valuable resources. We happily jumped on board and the “Seeds for Change” Illinois Youth Center Permaculture Garden Project was born!
Permaculture Design is about systems thinking, integration, and closing loops, so one of the goals of the garden is to include all the systems of the youth center, from the faculty and administrators, to the counselors, to the guards, volunteers, culinary staff, maintenance, visiting families, and the incarcerated youth themselves, so they can all enjoy time in the garden and experience the mental and physical benefits that come with time spent in the outdoors. We plan to include therapeutic and sensory plants, soothing and uplifting herbs, native plants and plants for pollinators, and of course lots of edible, highly nutritious, nurturing food plants in the garden for all who enjoy use of the space. There is an existing gazebo and cookout area in the space that will stay, and we’d love to create an outdoor classroom space to be used for school classes as well as meditation and mindfulness sessions, nature therapy, yoga and more.
One of our favorite times was when clearing out a muddy area and one of the youth was happily relishing his discovery of worms buried in the debris and causing the rest of the youth to scream and recoil in horror--but only for a short while! After explaining the significance of worms to our food supply, it only took a few minutes for ALL of those in attendance to begin gleefully "rescuing" the worms from the clearing to the raised garden beds from The Growing Works Project last year which we had all just replanted.
The Permaculture garden project not only offers opportunity for learning life skills, job skills, hobbies, nature connection, community connection, and the increased health, independence and food security that comes with growing our own food, but it also offers the opportunity for all involved to learn some Permaculture principles and be inspired by discovering how we can apply them to all areas of our lives, including successful transitions upon completion of time served. Some of the guiding principles of the project that we can apply to our everyday lives in addition to using in the gardening project are:
*Use small and slow solutions
*Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
*Produce no waste (the problem is the solution)
*Use and value diversity
*Use edges and value the marginal
*Creatively use and respond to change
Learn more about the Seeds for Change Permaculture Garden Project and its many potential benefits that Isabella shares in this video. If you’re as excited as we are to support this beneficial project, please consider making a tax-deductible donation toward the project HERE, and reach out to us or subscribe to our email newsletters for project updates and to watch for future opportunities to support programming in the garden. We are grateful to be part of this work and we appreciate your support for the project, the changes it can inspire in our youth, and the changes they can make in our communities and our future!
Resilience– a term becoming more prominent in discussions of well-being and health - is the ability to adapt to and accommodate stressors and challenging situations. Also called the “bounce back factor”, resilience can be examined across different scales, such as the individual, community, and the environment.
The term resilience subverts typical ways of thinking about tragedy and stress as negative and destructive by flipping the language – instead of asking what went wrong, resilience asks what went right? How did the individual, community, or ecosystem adapt to, reintegrate, and grow? How can we utilize personal and community resilience for bigger social change, such as environmental activisim? Indeed, resiliency and its corollaries and synonyms of abundance, regeneration, replenishment, adaptation, relationship, collaboration, and community are the intent of permaculture*, the model on which The Resiliency Institute is based.
“Resilience is perhaps our most beautiful, miraculous trait” (AM Brown, Emergent Strategy)
What makes us, individuals and communities, resilient? Research has identified individual indicators of resilience, such as genetics and other biological markers that are, one their own, weak. However, one key concept when considering resiliency is relationship or community support, and not just breadth of relationships, but depth. Close, supportive, loving relationships allow for security and adaptive capacity. “When we are engaged in acts of love, we humans are at our best and most resilient” (AM Brown, Emergent Strategy) Resilient individuals make resilient communities and vice versa – bidirectionality and mirroring of parts to the whole, individuals to community.
To create resilience, we need self-care, earth-care, and community-care (see permaculture* definition). At The Resiliency Institute, we engage individuals and communities in these care concepts – resilient self-care and community care through our women’s circles and yoga classes, nature connection and earth-tending care through herbalism, edible wild plants, permaculture, and forest-bathing classes (people remembering their connection to nature and desiring to care for the earth is, itself, revolutionary), and collaborative efforts with similar organizations to bolster and support and nourish community abundance, such as Sustain Dupage, and the Theosophical Society.
We are approaching our 7 year anniversary at The Resiliency Institute. Anniversaries demarcate effort and encourage self-reflection. What has our organization done in 7 years? How have we changed and adapted? How can we regenerate and progress our vision, mission, and community offerings? How have we contributed to individual and collective resilience? - All self-reflection and organizational care at the workplace level to allow for resilience. And we are proud of our record. Classes, nature connection, community collaboration and abundance. Tiny revolutions** with a big reach. Thank you to those that have supported us – together, we can craft the resilient individuals and communities that will sustain us in the future.
*Permaculture is beyond the frequently used pseudonym of “permanent agriculture”. It is a holistic design approach for creating resilient systems for daily living practices (people care), land care, and community care. Permaculture involves working with nature rather than against, with the goal of creating abundance so that individuals and communities become producers rather than consumers. Permaculture has been described as “revolution disguised as gardening”
**‘Tiny revolutions’ was the theme of our Wild Woman Project Circles for 2019 . The idea was to create and foster tiny, individual acts of self-care, sustaining, whole ways of living that ripple out from individual to greater community. Harnessing our individual and collective resilience for well-being, health, and holistic ways of being is an abundant mode of existence that contrasts strikingly with the typical fixation on illness, dysfunction, and scarcity. In this way, resiliency is revolution – a circumventing of negative framing of disturbance, stress, and even tragedy into empowerment and the positive identification of flexibility and growth. Tiny acts that are actually big.
Brown, AM. Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds. AK Press, 2017.
Southwick SM et al. Resilience definitions, theory, and challenges: interdisciplinary perspectives. European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014, 5: 25338 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v5.25338
The Hive Podcast: Permaculture, Sustainability, and the Art of Frugal Hedonism with David Holmgren https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nathalie-nahai-2/the-hive-podcast
Find more information about our classes and registration HERE.
Photo by Jana Blue Photography
January this year seemed to be having a bit of an identity crisis. We had the usual cold, snowy January days, then some extremely cold days, and then, bam! Spring! I was SO excited for spring to be here so soon! I’ve never been a big fan of winter and I usually view it as something I just need to get through. I hunker down and wait it out. I go into my own version of hibernation that involves a lot of hot tea, homemade soup, hoodies or sweaters, fires in the fireplace, and leaving the house as little as possible. I was overjoyed that my winter wait was over! The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and temperatures were in the fifties! I was ready to go hiking or go outside to work in my garden! I was all jump-up-and-down excited inside when I first thought of my garden, but then mild anxiety struck. My garden! I was so behind!
Originally posted by Chelsea Green on April 18, 2018. Reposted with permission.
Did you know that our collective future could well pivot on people coming to understand that soil fungi matter? Or that there’s such a thing as fungal consciousness?
Fungi have intricate lives, behaviors, and uses most people are unaware of. Mychorrizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with the root systems of other plants. The crucial, symbiotic role that fungi play in everything from healthy plants to healthy soils to a healthy planet.
Beyond farmers and gardeners, Mycorrhizal Planet will resonate with anyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.
The following is an excerpt from Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility that has been adapted for the web.