Monthly Archives: July 2015

I am a Farmer

“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”

– Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

Anyone recognize the voice?!

When I throw my hands up in despair over the latest GMO spliced with resistance to yet another biocide… Or hear ill-informed peeps tout dubious benefits of biotech… It’s enough to weep rivers of despair. But when I go to eat, I perk up and remind myself that I am not insignificant. No, I cannot automatically change all the misguided laws and foul decisions in the world with the sweep of my hand. I cannot reverse climate change by wishing for it. I cannot magically make all toxic chemicals vanish and extinct creatures extant. I cannot make billions of bees come back from the dead. And no, I cannot reverse the loss in biodiversity by feeling bad.

However, I can do little things. You too! Little things that you and I can each do daily and repeatedly. We can sign petitions for social and environmental justice. More importantly, we can choose how to spend each dollar in this consumeristic society we live in. We can choose what kinds of systems and companies get our support. And as we make the choices about what to feed our loved ones, we – by default – choose what kind of farms to support.

Voting with every bite on our forks. Because when we choose well, good things grow.

Farmer.

Sea Wench

“Not only do we care for and raise the plants but we care for wildlife and the natural environment in all we do, using labelling and information to promote a global consciousness of good relationship between our Earth, ourselves and all our relations. Clayoquot Sound was the site of some major protests to protect the forests and wildlife over the years and many people who made that happen still care for and work towards a better world for all.  This is our purpose, to enhance people’s health and well being, to encourage the sustainability of our natural world, to appreciate all that it gives us and to give back.”

– Sea Wench Naturals

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It has been a while since I’ve posted about random encounters and eco fashion.  The reasons are numerous and I have such a back log of things to share I really didn’t know where to start fluttering and sharing awesome inspiration. What got me going for today’s post is that last week my daughter’s dentist wanted her to get ‘sealants.’ Good idea, I thought at first. They prevent cavities. But, I actually know little about them except they are a coating to protect teeth. A flitting unease snaked through me with a shiver. I remember reading something courtesy of the EWG about dental sealants containing BPA, a synthetic estrogen (ie: a hormone-disrupting chemical). I sighed. Now I have a lot of research to do about looking up whether the sealant has BPA (or an untested equivalent) and whether it’s worth it do so this ‘standard’ procedure for the oral health of my daughter. Learning about what is ‘allowed’ and ‘considered safe’ in food has me skeptical in general about chemicals that I’m told are “safe” and “approved.”

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What does this have to do with Sea Wench? Admittedly, my segue-way is a little obscure. But it highlights the difference between things you don’t have to look up to see if they’re safe to use versus a synthetic chemical that didn’t exist before the 1950s. I have read much about our world’s toxic overload and so many untested chemicals.  For example that 2,4 -D (active ingredient in Agent orange) and glyphosate are now sprayed on GMOs in combination hasn’t been tested for safety. Neither have thousands of ingredients used in cosmetics and food.  The manufacturers declare them as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) and therefore don’t have to prove their safety.

Back to Sea Wench. One day a year tourists are welcome to go to Stubbs Island off Tofino. My husband and I traipsed about this glorious island exploring the beaches and forests and lovely gardens the owner planted decades ago.  It was magical. It felt prehistoric, fantastical, like we would bump into Morgane LeFaye or the Dsonokwa herself (she is sort of like a West Coast First Nation’s boogey-lady). We almost got lost in this misty dense rainforest but got out on the beach.  There we even helped some gals who were picking up bits of plastic debris in a beach cave. Here is a magnificent neon yellow skunk cabbage amidst at least 2 different types of ferns:

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I met Sharon and Chris from Sea Wench Naturals http://seawenchnaturals.ca/about near the main dock at Stubbs Island.  I had no idea they would be there.  Wowie wow wow!  Almost as cool as meeting Morgan le Faye.  The Sea Wench in the flesh! Boy, was I thrilled to meet Sharon and Chris.  Not only was I not expecting to meet the Sea Wench folks on this remote island, it was like I got to meet my favorite rock stars. I babbled on and on about how much I love their products and what they stand for. My effusiveness wasn’t to get free product but share the love I feel when I find souls doing what is just for people and planet. To my delight, Sharon gave me this beautiful sample bag and I decided that I would have to write about this encounter on my blog.  So I took their photo below.  Sadly I didn’t get info on their clothes – Sharon if you read this and your clothes follow the Stephens Sisters Style-Diet, please provide details (clothes must be bought in the country they were made in and/or be second hand and/or be made with sustainable materials and/or made ethically).  I know Sharon’s necklace is made locally; I met the talented artist who made it, who recognized me as Godfrey’s niece (forgot her name – sorry- if you read this, please let me know and I will update the post). I gave Chris a card for “Wood Storms, Wild Canvas: The Art of Godfrey Stephens,” which he is holding in the photo below:

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A bit about Sea Wench products here.  It’s all about the ingredients. The kinds of things in Sea Wench cosmetics include Thuja Plicata (Western Red Cedar Leaf) from B.C.’s Coastal Rainforest, Cranberry Seed Oil, Comfrey, Myrrh, Organic Canadian Cold Pressed Berry Fruit Oil, and nutrient rich red, brown & yellow Seaweeds from Clayoquot Sound. Myrrh is biblical, cranberries are native, seaweeds are nutrient-rich. My grandpa Rupert used to nourish his organic berries on the farm with seaweed. I bet I could safely ingest every ingredient found in these cosmetic products.  (Don’t worry I won’t eat the stuff.)

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In the opening quote I lifted from Sea Wench’s website, they mention the historic protests to save Clayoquot Sound from clear-cut logging.  Uncle Godfrey carved the Weeping Cedar Woman for these protests (pictured above). It was a big deal – I didn’t go but my sisters and cousins went out and protested. Even Canada’s former environment minister David Anderson protested. And of course, Sharon and Chris had to have been a part of it. Everyone standing up for the trees. Full-circle, man! We are all interconnected and interlaced. Highlighting and celebrating the noble, just and true…we are woven together in this cycle of inspired and inspiring.