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Big Thanks to All of You!

Top Row: Plants from a stop on the Edible Gardens Tour, Deb and Ricky hoop-bending at the Rhinebeck Community Garden, K Greene Middle Row: Hannah Schiller, Rose Caspary, Petra Page-Mann Bottom Row: Hawthorne Valley Farm, Dina Falconi, Hawthorne Valley Farm 

Tis the turning inward season for plants and the rest of us here in the Hudson Valley, prompting us to think back over the past year and all we’re grateful for. Among the many highlights: the debut of Library of Local (LOL), an initiative that partnered with four mid-Hudson libraries to get the word out about growing food regeneratively (we coproduced events and served as advisors); the launch of our website (thanks for visiting!); and the sheer joy of digging, planting and harvesting with like-minded souls, old friends and new, united in the stewardship of Mother Nature, aka Dirty Gaia.

Huge thanks to the teachers who led our workshops: Hannah Schiller of Foliage Botanics whose New Year recipes for herbal care included a delicious fire cider; Fruition Seeds‘ Petra Page-Mann and her boundless enthusiasm for sowing and growing; K Greene, founder of Hudson Valley Seed Company, and his reminder of the powerful dynamic between humans and plants; and permaculture expert Connor Stedman whose insights into our dangerous tango with climate change offer hope for mitigation.

We’re also indebted to and always delighted by @foragingandfeasting’s Dina Falconi and her herbal medicine genius, which she trained on the edible sharestead of @FutureFruits founder Jared Williams; all the generous folks who opened their home gardens for our inaugural Edible Gardens tour; and the Hawthorne Valley Farm team who showed us how to milk their beautiful cows and then gifted us with their yogurt. Seeds of Solidarity founders Deb Habib and Ricky Baruch made the trek from northern MA twice this year, sharing decades of growing knowledge with get-into-the-dirt workshops at the Rhinebeck Community Garden. We hoop-bended, cold-framed, dug, planted and staved off the rain—we did what gardeners do and in the best of company. 

One of the popular stops on the inaugural Edible Gardens tour in Rhinecliff. Thank you, Rudy and Andre!

Workshops aren’t workshops without students to attend them, and we wouldn’t have much to do without all of you. Some we’ve met recently, some have been following and joining us for a while, but none have been part of our growing community as long and consistently as Rose Caspary. Rose gets our Gold Medal of Gratefulness award—she’s been to pretty much every event we’ve held, virtually and in-person, going back to the early Backyard to Table days. (As most of you know, Sue Sie created Backyard to Table, the precursor to Dirty Gaia, in 2017.) Rose, who lives in Poughkeepsie, wasn’t a gardening neophyte when she came across BYTT on Meetup. She’d moved back north after 15 years in Florida where, as a Master Gardener, she founded The Spicy Herb Group and Treasure Coast Homesteading, both geared toward growing food and herbs and promoting community. She’s got a wonderful and informative blog detailing the plants she raised in the South as well as those that have taken root in her ¾-acre property here in the North. It’s no surprise that she’s been asked to lend her expertise to a new garden planned for the Boardman Road library in Poughkeepsie. We look forward to watching its progress!

Suffice to say, Rose, also an accomplished artist, teaches us just as much as our programs hope to teach her. Learning is a two-way flow. “I like seeing how people are growing things,” Rose says, “seeing what obstacles they’re facing and how they deal with them.” 

She’s also a fan of sharing, a process that comes naturally to gardeners; sharing of seeds, stories, recipes, cuttings. Although, Rose notes, “it’s much easier to plant from cuttings in Florida.” Indeed…

We are, of course, grateful for each and every one of you who give us your time, interest and enthusiasm. We’re already planning a great slate of events for next year and hope to see you all soon, ideally in person with long-gone masks. (We can dream…) Let’s float that possibility and see where the good winds set it down.

Taking a page from the Iroquois, or Six Nations, who include thanks-giving rites in all their governmental and ceremonial gathingerings, we’ll sign off with this acknowledgment: 

Today we have gathered, and we see that the cycle of life continues. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.

Now our minds are one.

(Excerpted from Thanksgiving Address; Greetings to the Natural World. The booklet is published by the Native Self-Sufficiency Center, Six Nations Indian Museum, The Tracking Project and The Tree of Peace Society.)

Wishing a beautiful Thanksgiving to you all!

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