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The Value of "weeds"

Updated: May 29

A few days ago Nolan and I paused at the base of our Irish Pastures with our last group of nineteen kindergarteners. I wanted to preemptively address the piles of cow poop we were about to traverse in order to visit our herd. I asked for their reactions to poop, and asked them to get their “ews” and “gross!” out of the way before we approached the skittish young calves. After the young ones generated quite a collective commotion, I brought up the importance of manure to a vibrant farm ecosystem. Many youth in this area are not raised close to agriculture, witnessing the nutritive effects of healthy, pasture-raised livestock on the landscape. On the farm we value this important resource, which helps fertilize our pastures and over time turns into compost for our gardens. After all, many gardeners will seek out local sources of manure to fertilize their gardens and orchards.

Much of what I enjoy sharing, with youth and adults, is that one person’s poop is another’s gold. This applies poignantly to the “weeds” in our backyards, forests and farms. What makes one plant a weed, another medicine and food, and yet another an important first aid resource?

I invite you to sign up for the June 9th foraging class with me, and we will walk and taste a plethora of plants that we may never have been taught to value. By questioning often unconsciously absorbed notions, we increase our sense of appreciation and empowerment. As the longest day of the year approaches, I hope that the increasing sunlight sheds light on your values, and areas wherein hidden treasures may lie unrecognized and unappreciated.


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