By Steve Gabriel
In permaculture, the aim is to design gardens and farms for two things — the provision of human needs and the improvement of ecosystem health. When looking at any individual plant, animal, or structure, permaculturists consider first and foremost how it relates to the bigger picture.
Often I am asked, by those enthusiastic to the ideas of permaculture, "Where to begin?" My answer is always the same: take a class, and pick just a few things that excite you. Plant these the first season and observe, learning their habits and life cycle. Then add some more each new year.
Listed below, in preparation for the upcoming growing season, are a few of the many amazing multipurpose plants that should have a home in every garden. All of these plants are perennials — meaning you plant them once and they return year after year. They're easy to grow and propagate. Finally, they all offer benefits to human health as well as to the ecosystem they inhabit.
By Carrie Stearns, P.D. Hom.
As I write, it is a beautiful, bright spring morning. We are already in the heart of spring here in Ithaca. The daffodils are at their peak and tulips are just around the corner from blooming, with the lilacs not far behind. I have spent my morning drinking tea, reading poetry and periodically checking in (via my computer) on a pair of nesting herons at Sapsucker Woods, all while thinking of writing this article for the GreenLeaf about my work as a homeopath.
Homeopathy and spring actually have a lot in common. Spring is a time of renewal, and homeopathic medicine holds great potential for deep and lasting renewal of health. Spring is full of energy and possibility, born out of a time of darkness and stillness. Homeopathy is energetic medicine made from nature (plants, animals and minerals) that stimulates the body to transform symptoms of illness into health. The darkness and stillness of winter is a very real metaphor for illness. In my work as a homeopath I approach healing with the idea that illness offers us opportunities through which we can discover places in need of change that then can bring about greater health.
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Recently, a number of prominent food cooperatives from throughout New York state have issued statements clearly addressing the dangers posed to our communities and our co-ops by the unsafe and resource-intensive process of hydrofracturing ("hydrofracking") for natural gas. As an institution that is firmly against this practice, we are proud to stand alongside our fello...