Getting my driver's license was a transformational step in my life, as I was for the first time able to travel places I had never before known to exist. Growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this was a huge step because up to that point, I had been never been shopping without the guidance of my mother, who always led that experience.
It was by some miracle, in the form of my friend who shared their Tea Tree Shampoo with me, that I first heard of a magical place called “ The East End Food Co-Op.” It was here that I experienced some of my first solo shopping adventures. Unhindered by the burden of the suburban life of scheduled appointments & errands, I spent hours browsing the shelves & seeing for the first time thousands of products made with higher integrity than what I formally knew existed. On my first trip to the Co-Op, I stumbled upon Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.
This was not the Tea Tree Shampoo I was seeking, but after reading the bottle from top to bottom, I decided this product was worth my time & money. I felt my life profoundly changed from that moment on. It led me down a path of recognizing the value of products made with high integrity, and a respect for the planet, people and plants that makes it so all possible. It led me toward studying Agronomy at West Virginia University.
I spent the last year of High School & my two years at Community College reading ingredient labels, asking my mom about the integrity of our dinner, & slowly transforming the way I shopped, ate, & thought about food. I eventually started my first solo garden, inspired largely by my Italian immigrant neighbor’s backyard permaculture landscape. Eventually, my passion for good quality food, growing it myself, & doing it in a good way, without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, led me to West Virginia University where I majored in Agronomy, the science of field crops. Truth be told, in high school, I stumbled across a book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” by Jack Herer in which he explained how our country had slowly & surreptitiously shifted from plant based, renewable, cellulosic resources towards not so renewable, often toxically produced petroleum based products & fuels that were controlled in a monopolistic fashion by big business & glad handed politicians willing to create legislation to favor the petroleum based economy in which we now collectively find ourselves dependent upon. There is a lot more to the story, but this story of convenience interwoven with petroleum dependency is a large part of why we, as a species, are now facing self destruction via climate change & the global “plastic pollution pandemic.”
And so now, here we are, 2021, a bright new world awaits us where we cultivate a deeper relationship with our "Lover Earth," as Charles Eisenstien refers to her.
It is up to us to paint the big picture, so lets start with those edible weeds in your back yard. Lets take a walk together.