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Sowing the seeds to grow a community

Rain Parker is a new friend and new Spring Conference attendee in 2016. She was a moderator for us at the 23rd Annual event. She is the Owner of Eight Owls Farmstead found at:

This blog post appeared on her site on on by . Reprinted with permission.

Man, them folks at the Organic Growers School sure know how to put on a show! This farmer was asked to be the permaculture moderator for the spring harvest conference yesterday. I tell you what, it sure amended the soil that resides in my soul to see so manyWNC folks excited to be there learning about how they can take steps to being self-reliant and live a more organically grown life. It was awe-inspiring to see the flow of folks yesterday, just grinning from ear to ear–absorbing knowledge from instructors who know how to spray it on like soaker hoses with their impassioned attitudes and breadth of knowledge in all things farm and food.

This was the first event of theirs I’d ever been to–we always had something going on in the last couple years that I knew they existed. I simply cannot imagine ever missing another one. I think I could literally take every track of classes they offer and not run out for a decade! Homesteading, farming, food preservation, permaculture, mushrooms, cooking, poultry, sustainability, soils, livestock, gardening, herbs, community food, and more I’m sure I am missing! See, there – already I have a baker’s dozen of years ahead of me of OGS classes. 😉

I saw so many familiar faces yesterday, visitors to our farm and members of our little town down in Transylvania County. I talked to new folks that had come from all over. I spoke publicly and calmly in front of over 100 people when I introduced Patricia Allison’s Permaculture 101 workshop–and for the first time ever, instead of feeling like I was going to throw up, completely freak out, and have a heart attack… I just pulled out the regular ol’ farmer… and I’m pretty sure I made them laugh. Twice.  I know if the 300 pound lady I was five years ago couldn’t have, but the 163 pound farmer I am now did, whether I was ready or not. (Yeah, sure – I teach, but I do that with small groups for a reason!! I had no idea so many folks would be there when I agreed to this thing!)


Patricia Allison is majorly one of my sheroes, I’m so darn proud we are hosting her permaculture design certification series here at eight owls this spring–It starts in a mere SIX DAYS!!!! Whoa. Anyway, this pic is from 3.12.2016…. in HIG221. Not ZEIS 123. 😉

I feel like them folks at OGS have a real green thumb that likely comes in handy as they sow seeds to grow a community. What a fantastic way to provide actually affordable, attainable education to motivated to learn folks. I simply cannot imagine the work it takes to pull off…. but I sure would put money on betting something beautiful will grow. A community might just have gotten a little bigger, more connected and skilled this weekend. If we are looking at it with the right set of intentions in our hearts, then we won’t compete with each other in any way–we will just create change by returning to our hometowns and start sowing seeds of our own. And lets face it, the world needs to change in huge ways and fast–and if that is going to happen, a lot of us are going to have to participate in that conversation and embrace and lift up everyone else that is as well.

And now…. I hear the rain, finally falling on the farm house roof this morning–them seeds I’ve been sowing out here with my amazing forager of a wife and excited owl-pprentices are getting that well deserved soaking that no water hose can replicate. For this still feeling very new to this life five years in farmer, it may as well be silver coins. Because I now know two things… experience has taught me them plants will stand a little taller for it. And Mr. Chuck Marsh told us in Transforming communal landscapes with permaculture workshop yesterday (pic below) – motivated folks can make a living small scale organic farming…and for experiential educators like us that work with young people–we just have to teach them youngins’ how so they are slinging something of a higher caliber than a McNugget or an M-16. And I believe him. I’m so looking forward to being part of showing the ones that show up here the little bit we’ve learned over the years. Can YOU imagine what it would look like if the right seeds get sown in this community of amazing folks we have here and they are organically grown?


-the farmer

This farmer lady has to take today off if she is to have one in the next two, so I won’t be there for round two–but there is still a whole other day of exciting stuff ahead, so head over to UNCA if you can and fill your head with knowledge! 😉


When the girls and I went on immersion to Earthaven Eco-Village in the fall, we coined the term “We got Zeved” while we where there–as depth and speed of that man’s brain sure is something for any student to behold. Anyway, I got Zeved again yesterday in his Forest Garden and Farming workshop–how have I not heard of SOCHAN??!! Omg I’m going to be SO into sochan, I can feel it–and I’m like 90% sure we already have it on our land.


This was AWESOME! To hear Laura Ruby, Zev Friedman and Justin Holt talk about being permaculture educators and how to get hands on with students!


Two very well behaved and permie minded pups were in the front row of Patricia’s permaculture workshop, adorable they were!


Author: OGS

Organic Growers School is a non-profit organization providing organic education since 1993. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and support people in our region to farm, garden, and live organically.

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