In the midst of the breakdown of many old and obsolete systems mirrored in the social unrest so prevalent these days there is a growing movement that recognizes the importance of plants not just for food and medicine but for the quality of connection to ourselves that comes with interacting and stewarding the land we live on. This is the foundational concept for the Sedona Verde Valley Spring Planting Festival now in its third year going from March 12-20th. Through the alliances formed in last year’s festival there is now a broader base of support for agricultural renaissance not just for Sedona & the Verde Valley but also Flagstaff and the northern reservations including the Navajo and Hopi.

ruth-blog-imageLike the evolution of many projects, this year marks a new development with the collaboration of partner organizations with Gardens for Humanity sponsoring the festival which includes Floracopeia. David has been part of the festival from its inception and a great advocate and support for the agricultural renaissance that has been birthed in our region in the last few years. Each year he creates a new lecture and workshop that falls within the goals of the Spring Planting Festival and Agricultural Renaissance which include: supporting local agriculture from home gardens to commercial farms, teaching about the benefits of a local economy that produces what we need, advocate education, training and policies to support a resilient community, celebrating the food traditions of Native and non-Native cultures, demonstrating the artistic and spiritual aspects of an earth-conscious life and promoting practices that create a healthy body, environment and culture.

The Festival begins with two of the world’s leading visionaries of the slow-food and agricultural renaissance movements. Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD one of the founders of Native Seed Search and Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden will set the stage for the week’s activities will give a keynote address, From Land to Mouth − Connecting People to Place, Taste and Story and will present their latest thoughts on the state of our food supply, climate change and progress in new regenerative farming strategies.

This year on Friday March 18th David begins with a talk about Spiritual Beliefs and Practices in Indigenous Agriculture, a fascinating photo journey around the world collecting all the spiritual practices that relate to the cycles of agriculture from the indigenous peoples. He has said “It includes Chinese fertility rites practiced in the cult of Shen Nung to the Vedic fire ceremonies for abundant crops – ceremony, magic and festivities have woven the cycles of life, the cycles of the seasons and the cycles of plant growth into a sacred fabric. From the development of food crops in the Incan empire to the garden systems of ancient Hawaiians, vast and deep knowledge of plants has been an integral part of human history that has left a rich legacy of art, song, myth and ethnobotanical wisdom. From the traditions of preparing the soil to methods of planting to the techniques of harvesting, spiritual beliefs and practices have been the basis of agriculture since humanity first began planting seeds.”

David’s workshop “The Feast of Nectars” will be on the spring equinox weekend March 19-20th. It was inspired by the discussion of cultivating “ojas” which was part of a day’s topic dedicated to building the immune system during the Grass Roots Medicine week in Sedona last November. It seems appropriate that with the rebirth of springtime that the foods, essential oils and herbs that support the replenishing of ojas so necessary to our vitality and sustainability of our health take center stage hence the Feast of Nectars.

So there is an offering of “a weekend of tasting, smelling and studying the essences of sweetness that rejuvenate the body, strengthen vitality and uplift the heart. Milk, honeys, and cacao; tropical fruits, ancient grains and edible flowers; oils of roses, jasmines and plumeria; elixirs and syrups of tonifying herbs: these are a few of the subjects that we will study using the concepts of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines and explore using sensory enjoyment and contemplation.”

Throughout the week the Festival will present workshops, cultural events, food and garden expos, films, and panel discussions around the common theme of connecting people to place through cultivating and learning about the various ways we interact with the natural world to improve our quality of life. From our spiritual connection to the earth to learning about native plants; from healing to cuisine; from gardening and sustainability education to farming as tourism; from foraging to bees and butterflies; from food security to bugs, and compost, there will be opportunities for people of all ages for conserving and working with plants and the earth during festival week.

Please join us for a few days or the full week – the presenters are extraordinarily talented, dynamic and passionate about contributing their knowledge towards a vision of a future that honors the earth. Many thanks to you David, for your leadership role in creating new paradigms for this community through Floracopeia and

– Ruth Hartung

To see the Spring Planting festival calendar of events go to:

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