Meraki: Greek origin. noun: the soul, love, creativity and passion one puts into their work.
Farmacy: noun: a place where plants are cherished friends, where food is medicine, where science and art fall all over each other and tangle and move together. Where permaculture, sustainable practices and reverence for nature steer the course, where intercropping, companion planting and watchful eyes and quick hands are pest control. Where ecology, spirituality, economics, chemistry, composition, activism, creativity, and nutrition get together and conspire.
Medicine: noun: a substance that remedies illness, injury, pain, imbalance, dis-ease. typically thought of as a chemical to be ingested. At Meraki Farmacy medicine comes from being outside, sitting amongst plants, taking in whole plants by food or drink, laughing, connecting, music, art, relationships, animals and elements, the unseen and subconscious, vulnerability, education, advocacy, creativity, boundaries, curiosity, dancing and playing..
Meraki Farmacy: The art and practice of preparing, preserving, compounding and dispensing plant medicine in ways that honor natural rhythms and interdependent relationships, that honor your sacred physical body and our friends in nature. A reminder of how powerful you are, how you and your body deserve only health and nourishment. A movement towards rewilding our selves and rehumanizing the ways we make and consume.
HI! Here is a bit about me and why I birthed the Farmacy: I'm Lu, the Chief Dream Officer of Meraki Farmacy located in southeastern Vermont. I belong to beautiful wooded land that has plenty of sunlit, well drained, beautiful space to organically grow companion food crops and medicinal flowers and herbs. The intentions with the gardens are to create interesting growing spaces that support an abundance of diverse plant life, offering habitat and food for many beneficial insects including our beloved pollinators, building of rich soil all while always using organic permaculture practices that benefit the animals, plants, insects, water, air and soil, and us! There is very little waste: abundance of food crops is shared with community and farm animals or composted and the medicinal plants are the main ingredients in teas, tinctures, soaps, healing salves, lotions, syrups and tonics. All plant materials used in what I make are grown here! The grow spaces are more than just this, however. It is protest, it is activism, it is witch doctory, art, magic, an extension of my personality and spirit. Tending to the soil and her plants has literally saved my life. Even just the idea of all this has saved my life. These plants and what I make from them are my way of contributing to a very amazing but very ill world. They are my gifts to womxn. It is the context in which I start conversations about power, trauma, healing, smashing the patriarchy, joining forces with all womxn everywhere, how to protect our children, how to serve the earth and the world. But mostly how to take really good care of our selves in the simplest ways. When not tending to the Farmacy I am writing, reading, exploring, learning a lot about astrology, plants, medicine, feminism, intersectionality, people, philosophy, tending to my own inner gardens, working with children and people, trying to be the best me possible. My dreams of homesteading started with my grandfather, my Pop, Howard Nelson, my Jupiter, in Philadelphia, PA and I carried them with me to Rhode Island where I studied biological sciences, wildlife conservation, resource economics, education and beaches. Not farming, though. Why not?! Although I had wanted this very life since I was a small little radish, I never took a direct way or calculated or strategized my choices to here. I hope to share more about that with you. I think it is rather important. Another time. I spent several years working with young children, educating mostly, but also in therapeutic settings. I taught at levels from pre-school to college. The work I did was quite rewarding and fulfilling, as anyone working in education or healthcare knows so well. I also delivered pizza, sold beer, bussed tables, tried on many a things and often took jobs for the in-between-times. No career held me tightly. There were many moments and even extended periods of time where I was happy enough doing what I was doing, and plenty of times where I often said "I don't get paid enough to do this shit" and "One day . . . ." and "Maybe this is just how it goes . . . " . It was the dream of homesteading, of working with land and plants and animals and myself that kept me going through my twenties, through the shitty work, the shitty pay, and the good enough work. But my desire of living a different kind of rewarding life got heavier and heavier. It wasn't my buoy anymore. All those good enoughs weren't cutting it anymore. "Oh, one day . . . " simply was not sustaining me anymore. After a particularly difficult period of experiencing the nasties of life that we all get to go through, I knew it was time. Time to find that bit of land that I could put my all into, that I would work and would work me. If I had known it was only 2.5 hours west I would have ventured out to find it sooner! There is not a single day or moment I am not incredibly grateful that I have made it. I found it. I created it. IT is a most beautiful way to live, this way - moving with moon, soil, weather, seasons, along side of animals and insects and plants. It amazes me how much I learn, how many mistakes I can repeat, how at times there is absolutely no denying magic, synchronicity and I should have paid more attention in some college courses! But here I am! Me and Meraki. My own little dream rooted and has grown into a conscious business, a love letter, a protest, an offering of healing through plants and human body. WOW! The Meraki Makeries you'll find in the Farmacy Market are made by me in small batches. There is a lot of self sufficiency here, born from a lot of heart and little money. I enjoy the process greatly and, of course, what I make! It is my contribution to the world, making these plant medicine and love infused things. As the creative director and lead laboress here at the Farm, my hands & bodymind and creativity are always busy. Recipes, the plants, inspirations, research, experiments- juggling making, planning, data tracking, figuring out how to use social media and not be a pain in the ass - it is all part of it. Some parts I enjoy more than others and most definitely some things showcase my talents better. So far, so very fucking good.
Meraki Farmacy was birthed because I care deeply about the impact we humans have on each other, and our natural world. Our water. Our air. Our soils. Our plant allies. Our animal guides. But this is not just about the plants and animals and nature. Everything we do to our natural resources, we are doing to our selves and each other. And we know it is unsustainable. That it causes deep hurt, even irreversible harm. You see, whatever we do to water we do to ourselves. Whatever I do to my body I am doing to someone else's. I know, I know - that sounds impossible and corny and new age-y. But that doesn't make it any less true. There are a 3 general goals of the Farmacy: educate myself continuously and share what I learn with others, advocate for healthier & happier & more conscious relationships with our self, others, communities, bodies, plants & nature, economies and societies, create relationships & dialogue & safe space & high quality plant infused healing self care essentials & community. Sharing what I am learning is currently what I am trying to find the best ways to do.
I know we are all deeply connected to all life, that it is more than possible to have healthy environments and sustaining economies simultaneously. I know we are all really powerful and capable of absolutely magical and profound things. I know there is no level playing field and there are a lot of walls, with some nonsense talk about building more, and definitely a glass ceiling.
I know the world is aching to transform, to be more connected and loving and loved. I know how hard that is, how much unresolved trauma and pain and hurt and wounds there are, how so much of what is playing out politically and socially in American makes it seem like we have not learned or changed a damn thing.
I know playing and working in the dirt, spending time with plants and nature, treating our bodies with deep love and acceptance and nourishment can and does change the world. I know these are things that too many people don't have easy access to or think they don't have time to even entertain it &, of course, somewhere inside think they do not deserve it. I know how hard that is. And how wrong. I know we all have the right to affordable, quality, nutritious, safe, chemical free food and self care products. I know that is not the reality for millions of human beings. I know how fucked up that is. I know, though, that we are changing the world.
Everytime you speak up. Every time you say NO. Every time you say YES.
There are many resources on the web about homesteading, do-it-yourself and natural living. It is my hope that sharing my particular stories and journey connects our experiences, brings me and you some inspiration, keeps that humor there 'cause laughter is good medicine, too. I hope that there is hope born from this. I strongly believe in self sufficiency and will share as much knowledge and experiences that you want. Meraki is not the only place, I am not the only one. Can this website become a haven? A place of connection with you - you and yours and the folks you know and see who are educating, advocating and creating? That is my goal, one of top three goals for Meraki Farmacy. We can be like a rad little lighthouse, doing our part to light it up. But there are the darker, scary and outrageous and horrifying - actually - sides of all this: the undeniable need for changes in our current food production systems in America. Food is political. We know it shouldn't be. And when we try and examine that we are SHLOOOOP - in the rabbit hole. We can not talk about access to whole, healthy, vegetables without talking about institutionalized racism. We can't talk about equal access to health without talking about capitalism. We can't talk about capitalism without talking about patriarchy. We can't talk about patriarchy without the heteronormative. We can't! We can't talk about institutionalized racism without talking about history, which means many, many more of us need to get really accepting of being really uncomfortable while we have some real talk. Yeah. And we know that so many make the choice to ignore, deny, avoid, repress instead of Doing The Work and Having That Real Talk. So maybe plants and soap can help? But in all seriousness, I make plant medicine infused soap because I really want to discuss the social, political and spiritual implications of how we make things, how we consume things. How we value our bodies. How we shift from telling ourselves we can't afford the good shit to knowing we can not afford not to take care of ourselves. I want to talk about how powerful you are, even amongst all the nasties. Capitalist heteropatriarchy propaganda. Institutionalized racism & sexism & discrimination. Most importantly I want to talk about what we - you, me, her, they- can do and are doing to create positive and forward movements to a healthier, more inclusive, more loving and happier world for all the life here.
I think the revolution starts within you, at home, in the small little things. Saying NO to poisons in soap and food is the fundamental starting point. These acts make it a bit easier, a bit more natural and effortless to saying NO to the other poisons plagueing and eroding our communities and society. I think when you start to make what looks like a little choice like changing what soap you use it snowballs into full on self love fest. I think when we deepen our love for our bodies we deepen our capacity to love others. I don't at all mean to imply that buying handcrafted soap is the solution to hate mongering. I am implying that there are so many different ways to choose love, to protest, to vote, to serve, to question, to help.
The bigger picture of what Meraki Farmacy is? I think a big part of it is connecting with the wounds, the trauma, the healing we need as individuals and as a collective society and as a human race. Yes, I really like making things. And YES, I am here to help. To listen. To share. To connect. To dismantle. To examine my own part in all these things. To fight (preferably without violence but the war continues).
I look forward to building things with you. To hearing you. To having my mind blown by your passion and experiences and perspectives. No Pressure. Thank you for being here. Get at me. Check the social media (see bottom of page).
Shirt from We Add Up with portions going to support the movements against the poisoning of seed, soil, food, small farm & the future by Monsanto, Big Ag, MNCs and other capitalist patriarchal destruction. Hat from B. Dolan at Strange Famous Records with portions of proceeds going to southern poverty law center.
Photo by Rich Ferri of Rangely Film
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