Suggestions for the first blog from the farmacy included the science magic of coconut oil, the badassery of foraging for wild edibles or the unexpected costs of growing plants for food and medicine. One of the most magical humans I know suggested getting right into it: Why am I growing food and making things at Meraki Farmacy? and Why a blog?
Why? Is a great question. Why do I do what I do? Why am I broadcasting it on the interwebs? I thought I could easily answer this succinctly, planned to provide a brief but moving response within a few days. I have been reflecting on this for a week (after dreaming and imagining for decades). I am grateful for the exercise in pulling together all my motivations into something that I hope answers the question with some poetry and personality.
It's possible all my reasons come from Love and Outrage. And I suppose that anything falling under Outrage really is because of Love. I am outraged by what we do to our Mother Earth and our Sacred Containers and our Pollinator Friends and our Plant Allies. I love them, and I love my self and I love you. When something I love is mistreated, I am Outraged. Abuse, violence, greed, exploitation, short sightedness - It's all wack. It's a waste. It's not at all who we really are. It's not okay!
I want to make a difference and sometimes feel helpless (less and less, actually, as Meraki Farmacy evolves out there with you in the world). How can I help? What can I do? I can honor myself, speak up, lead by example, say NO, educate, advocate and create. I can build Meraki Farmacy and evolve with it, hopefully connecting with others through what I do and the presentation of it all here.
Meraki is a word of greek origin meaning the love, creativity and passion one puts into their work.
Farmacy is where food is medicine, nature and cyclical rhythms are honored and healing happens through connection more than consumption.
Meraki Farmacy is how I protest. It is my first baby. It is a culmination of years of dreaming and never planning.
Meraki Farmacy is my love letter to Momma Nature and the human community. It is my work and service, contribution and art.
So what exactly do I do here at the Farmacy?
I help plants reach their full potential with as little interference as possible. And I have a lot of FUN. It’s fun to play with and shape and sculpt and feed soil. It's fun to plant seeds of various flowers, parsley, oregano, basil, yarrow, lemon balm, hyssop, cilantro, sages, sunflowers, nasturtium, marigold, calendula, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, kales, swiss chard, leek, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, garlic, potatoes, squash, cantaloupe, spinach, mustard greens and . . . . .
It’s fun to see what seeds look like: there are so many kinds of seeds and so often I am surprised and delighted by the size, shape, color and texture. There are so few plants that when I see their seed I think YES! Now THAT is a marigold! It’s fun watching those seeds, poked underground by human hands, sprout, grow, blossom and fruit. It’s fun to see that transformation, to feel connected to these beautiful dynamic magic makers and all the other parts of this: the weather and worms and beetles and bees and birds and parasitic wasps and aphids and ladybugs and the millions of species of things I can’t see but know are there, in a tablespoon of soil. Now when people make small talk of the weather (small talk aversive, typically) I feel like I have incentive. THIS is chit chat I can get into. Because I CARE about the weather in a way I've never cared before, because I see how I am a part of it all.
It’s fun to dream and imagine and plan the layout of the growing arenas. It's fun to chill with a stack of seed catalogs and books and bad sketches. I love playing with color, texture, height, flower shape and all the other ways of interesting composition as I plan out who is going where, like a seating arrangement for 3 succession of plant parties throughout the 110 day growing season. There are companions and adversaries. There are early season, all season and late season pals. There are holes to fill just about every month as the weather gets too hot or too cool. To maximize space and time I have to plan! It is usually about 8 different plans and by June I can't find the master one and I just go for it as the season progresses. Improvising is fun. Trusting yourself and your co-workers is fun, too.
It's fun to mess around with conventional and modern systems. I don’t do monoculture. I understand it, I do. I don't grow the same kind of plant in straight lines. Ever. In some things I do appreciate clean lines. Like in Ikea furniture. But a garden? My Farmacy? No, thanks.
I want lush, wild, billowing life and color. I want to be almost overwhelmed by everything growing. There are cosmos 5 feet high in with tomatoes, proven companions. But then I stuck some in with the brussel sprouts just because I could. It's fun to see people try and make sense of my expression of farming. Sometimes I grow flowers just because they are pretty. Because it's more food for my eyes and for the bees. I have broccoli next to squash next to kale next to marigold next to yarrow next to lemon balm. Bachelor buttons intermixed with oregano and lemon cucumbers growing up moulin rouge sunflowers. If that's not fun . . . . .
We have practically no control of anything in this world; primarily only our choices on how to respond to something. There is pretty much nothing linear about anything alive, anything that grows/heals/transforms. Shouldn't the Farmacy reflect the true Nature of Herself? Make time to witness the rhythm and ebb and flow and birth, life, death, rebirth, daily in the garden or forest or within yourself or somewhere else. It is more real to me than perfectly pruned, super orderly, heavily manicured. Letting it flow and grow (and not just the plants in the gardens) helps relax the tightened jaw and the clenched fist and that part of me that still thinks I could or even want to control anything.
It's fun to break some rules, break free of that control grip we almost don't even notice we are trying to have on something, especially a project. I choose to create something beautiful from the heart with the hands that f l o w s. The Farmacy is where I play with this the most.
I cultivate plants because plants are friends and allies. They want to help us! This is a truth we have forgotten despite our thousands of years of being super pals with plants. Plants have their own personalities and strong medicine to share with us. I mean, they make their own bodies and food from sunlight, water and air! How f@%$ing rad is that?! How do you NOT want to be pals with a superhero?!
For real, though. You are what you eat and I want to be healthy, wise, loving, natural, whole, strong and capable to withstand challenges and thrive. I don't want to be sliced with genetic information from critters that are really, really, really different than me and that would never combine with me in any natural setting.
I don't want to eat something or absorb through my skin something grown or manufactured with any chemical that has any question of disrupting my hormones, killing necessary bacteria in my gut, harms my pollinator friends or requires a full HAZMAT suit to apply. Nor that isn't well studied scientifically, objectively and fully disclosed.
I don't want to eat food harvested by people who are mistreated, in danger or otherwise exploited. I don't want to eat food that requires an alarming amount of plastic, fossil fuel and travel time to get close to where I live.
Our modern food system can easily be described by the following terms: heavily industrialized, dangerous, unethical, immoral, fatal, destructive, unfair, secretive, corporate, dehumanizing and, wack. It's wack. It doesn't need to be. And since revolution starts with the self and in the home, I grow food. I grow food without any chemicals or doing destructive things to any part of the ecosystem.
If I can't pronounce it or readily identify it, I don't want it in or on my body. So I protest by making my own. I start a webpage to join the millions who educate, advocate and create against bioengineered food, destruction of natural resources and exploitation of human bodies.
There are so many amazeballs people all over this country that are educating, advocating and creating access to healthy, quality food and safe self care products. But there are some serious and awful things happening. If you are poor, in an urban area or a person of color the chances of you having access to healthy and affordable food is low. Really low. And that is beyond unacceptable. I want to talk about food desserts, the politics of food and how we change this. My hope is that I can help by talking about it. By putting my story out there can I inspire you to grow even one tomato plant? Can a blog post help connect the people to the resources that need it most? I don't know, but I think so, and I am going to see. Access to affordable, wholesome, healthy, nutritious food should be a guarantee for every human being. I talk about it because we are powerful and we are changing the world.
Ever think about how women are disproportionately exposed to harmful chemicals because we are treated as imperfect and flawed creatures who need beauty products and this and that to achieve the right kind of beauty, as dictated by big business and patriarchal capitalism . . . getthefuckouttaheh . . . Echem.
Let me try this again: Mass Mainstream Media and Capitalist Patriarchial Marketing tries to make girls and women feel ugly, inadequate and unworthy while offering the obvious solution to such woes if we buy and use their 'beauty' products. THIS IS INSANE!! IMMORAL! ABUSIVE! TOXIC! Even possibly FATAL! Besides the damage it does to self esteem, these products are rarely made with organic, natural, sustainably harvested ingredients. In FACT, they are made with chemicals that wreak havoc on bodies, with ingredients that are found in breast tumor biopsies! (Please go here to learn more about ingredients I use, and why)
Products that ARE free from hormone disrupting chemicals and yuck cost more to make (why is this, and how do we change this?) and therefore cost more to purchase. Most of us have to make choices about how much toxicity we expose ourselves and family to via food OR self care products. This is unfuckingacceptable.
I refuse to be defined by being a CONSUMER, and you probably don't like it much either. I do know that I am far more than a consumer. I resent being treated as such. Meraki Farmacy was born partly because I strongly believe in self-sufficiency. This is partly because one of the things I am is a poor homesteader. It's also because I don't love being a consumer or participating in our lovely capitalist society all the time. My hope is in early 2017 to offer you the information you need to make many of these things your self as well, so know that I see this and am creating ways to shift even the consumer aspect of the Farmacy!
It's also unfuckingacceptable that we cause such destruction to our natural world, our only HOME, our beautiful and nurturing Mother, in the names of Food production? Beauty? Self care? Health??
No! Those are not the names for what we are doing! The names are: materialism, capitalism, greed, nationalism and other warped patriotic propaganda, imperialism, physical system efficiency and technological convenience, poison, disease, death, dishonor, dehumanizing, de-evolution, destruction . . . .
I say NO to participating in these things! And you can say NO to that stuff, and anything you don't want or doesn't sit right in your smart guts, or makes you make that face that looks like wtf?
I say YES, I am beautiful and exquisite and so are you and so is she and so is he! If you like make-up and the latest cosmetics or fancy hair gel, that is perfectly fine! That is totally fine. My opinion is that we deserve to have clear choices and equal access to products that do not damage our bodies or our environment. My opinion is that we are obligated to protect, respect and honor our natural world! We can not and should not even have to make choices between eating poison, buying poison, being a part of poison. It's so weird! and not in the cool ways of being weird! It is NONSENSE and violent to your hearts, bodies and world. And that request, that expectation that we remove those ways, those choices from our status quo is far from unacceptable.
I will limit my participation in such structures and systems as humanly possible. I will ask questions and educate and advocate and create. I create alternatives. These are the things we use daily, for our whole lives, generally. Affordable and safe options for basic self care should be guaranteed.
The other reasons for doing this are essentially I love the physicality, the outside, the creativity, the being my own boss, the opportunities to connect with people and places and life in general. I am a homesteader, so this works for me. It is very challenging and incredibly rewarding. I would not change any of this for anything. I will fight for this. My office is nature, and I NEED that. I am outside, in all kinds of weather, surrounded by trees and mountains and fields and hawks. I rarely see people. I like this, a lot. Not because I hate people or find you all insane. It's just I really like being alone and I really like being outside. I have a hard time hearing the Earth with the buzz and noise of humans around me
Being my own boss allows me some absolutely divine perks like freedom! I answer to me and only me. This is hard when I have no idea what I am doing, feel insecure, get scared, am really tired or need to be in two places at once. Or when I fuck up majorly and can only kick my own ass. These challenges teach me so much about myself. It is alchemistic. It is messy, challenging, healing and interesting. It takes me into all sorts of places and questions on worth, personal value, sense of community and contribution and my spirituality.
I don't do this because it's a hobby. I don't do this because it is a brilliant business plan. I do this because at this point of my journey it is precisely what I need to do, to be a bridge. To catalyze. To spark a conversation. To learn more. To deepen it all. To let you know how much I love you, believe in you, honor you. To help remind you that we need you, this Earth needs you, that you are a son or daughter of nature even if you have never been to to the wild. (it lives deep inside of you, ya know?) To help you remember that you deserve safety, health, access, a clear voice, connections, relationships and to move beyond surviving the THRIVING. And yeah, poison free deodorant is a way to start that conversation.
I do this to thank our Mother, and Father (that's earth and sky). To show my respect to the Life that still abounds despite the destruction, pollution, disrespect and disregard that so much of human activity and commerce has unfortunately created, but will soon no longer.
I am here for the realest of deals, and that I think it's actually far more common than the world may have you think. I care. A lot. And many, many others, including you, care a lot as well. I believe in the power of knowledge, community, connection and choice. I think we have a lot of important work to do. And being an activist requires a belly full of real food. It requires health and starts with just one experience making a choice for truth, for love, for health, for self and for earth over exponential-profit-all-the-time-at-any-cost, convenience, status quo, mindless consuming.
What do I hope this brings for you? Besides the obvious of safe, non-toxic cleansers and a way to PROTEST and ADVOCATE?
The Makeries reflect the loving relationships we have with plants, how we evolved with them. But now it is what we have forgotten how to do, and a big part of why we feel disconnected and are dis-eased. I know the things I make help people be healthy and feel good, learn and educate others. And that - THAT - is a BIG part of the answer to 'why are we here?' But my ultimate, Blue Skies and Green Lights goal is that by using a soap made with a plant you then start to create your own connections to the plants in your backyard, or city park, or that plant becomes an addition to your community garden, or you start eating more vegetables, or feel the love from and for nature, or any other type of relating to and honoring these amazing things that are plants, animals, rocks, clouds, wind, valleys, ocean.
The online aspect of this feels really important to do. There are quite possibly hundreds of thousands of DIY/natural living/doomsday/etc websites and blogs. But I think I can offer something different. I can offer the science, the art, the politics, the depth. I will never post a recipe for a chic cupcake frosting. I will never do advertisements or affiliate links. I will offer myself, my experiences, my best. Through the world wide web I can talk with people all over, who may be never have walked in the woods or camped or grown a flower. Or maybe with people who have been growing with plants their whole lives. Connection is possible through technology, and bet your sweet lovely little tuchus I will use it to do so!
It is my deepest hope that you will take something, anything from here and do something honest, true and healing with it.
I leave you for now with this; one of the principles of Meraki Farmacy is undoubtedly this truth: You are incredibly Powerful and Creative. If you want to do something, live a certain way, create a particular thing, change the world, DO IT. Dreams are amazing and carry you through hell, trust me. And when you take that leap, when you believe in what you are making/living/being you are doing exactly what you deserve and the world needs. We need you to be you.
Thank you for being here and making the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you, connecting and raising earth and health and radical change in The Revolution!!!