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The Plant Report- Every Plant Has A Story
61 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Episode 36: Have you heard of Spilanthes? In this fun and informative interview with regenerative land designer, educator, facilitator, and Spilanthes fan Javan Bernakevitch, we discuss this unique plant. An herbal ally with a long history of use for oral health and immune support, Spilanthes is known by a multitude of common names like Electric Daisy, Toothache Plant, and Party in the Mouth. Spilanthes is a a plant whose reputation precedes it. Chewing on the flowers produces a strong tingling and anesthetic sensation in the mouth- in Javan's words, "It's like feeling a 9 volt battery on your tongue." Javan tells us why he holds Spilanthes in such high esteem and why he believes it's a must have in any herbal first aid kit. Javan shares his growing and harvesting tips and tells us how he makes and uses Spilanthes tincture. Javan Bernakevitch founded and operates Permaculture BC, an education and community hub in British Columbia, Canada. The principle consultant at All Points Land Design, Javan works on small to large scale landscapes. Javan also works with individual clients providing assistance on life design- how to design your life to work with, not against, your nature. For information on Javan's work visit: AllPointsDesign.ca and PermacultureBC.com. Here are some other links for you: Cosmic Bob's Plan for Your Life Javan's Spilanthes Tincture Waiting List Life Design Envision 2021 Workshop
62 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
Wheat- An Ancient Grain for Modern Times
Episode 35: Did you know that Einkorn wheat is 27,000 years old? Wheat is one of the world's oldest grains and like it or love it, it’s been part of human life for thousands of years. Learn about this long revered and recently reviled plant with ancient grain farmer Larry Kandarian of Kandarian Organic Farms. Larry talks about growing, harvesting, and utilizing different varieties of wheat, including Einkorn, Ethiopian Blue Tinge, Emmer Farro, and Spelt. We chat about his method of regenerative organic farming and learn why emulating a forest floor is one of the best ways to grow healthy soil and plants. Larry also shares the exciting news of a new perennial wheat he is growing and explains why this crop could have major impacts on climate change. Larry Kandarian is an organic farmer and ancient grains advocate who has been farming for over 50 years. Larry is a passionate land steward who grows over 1,000 different varieties of plants on his 130 acre small, but mighty farm in Los Osos, CA. A former mechanical engineer who worked on the space shuttle, Larry is on a mission to grow the grains in the most ecological way possible. You can find out more about Larry and his grains at: Kandarian Organic Farms. Larry also mentions the following: Longevity Stew - his recipe for a delicious seasonal stew that helps him grow so many grains! The Bread Lab Salish Blue Wheat The Land Institute and Wes Jackson
31 minutes | Feb 1, 2021
Tulsi is a beautiful aromatic plant with strong medicinal qualities. In this interview with organic farmer Alena Steen of Night Heron Farm we learn how to propagate, grow, harvest, and utilize this lovely and revered plant. Tulsi is native to India where it is known as Holy Basil. Tulsi is an adaptogen- a plant medicine that helps us with stressors of all kinds. In this episode Alena shares her favorite ways to use Tulsi in tea, tinctures, herbal honey, and skin care. We learn about annual and perennial Tulsi, how to harvest and dry the leaves and flowers, and why Tulsi is an excellent ally for our times. We also talk about why Tulsi is Alena's number one herb to grow for beginning gardeners. Alena Steen grew up in the deciduous jungles of the Southeast US and has spent the last decade as an organic farmer and native plant gardener. Alena and her partner Danny grow herbs and flowers at Night Heron Farm where they run an Herbal and Flower CSA. Alena and Danny believe that growing and producing local medicine is their way to contribute to a more just and sustainable world, where healthcare is centered first within ourselves. They hope through their work to connect folks more firmly to the magic of plants. Learn more at NightHeronFarm.org. Note: Before consuming herbs, especially on a regular basis, be sure to research or talk to your doctor and make sure that the herb is safe for you. Tulsi may be contraindicated if you have low blood sugar or are on blood-thinning medications.
50 minutes | Aug 10, 2020
The Happiness Tree: Albizia julibrissin
Episode 33: Albizia julibrisson is one of my new favorite new trees. Commonly called The Tree of Happiness, Persian Silk Tree, and Mimosa, Albizia is native to Asia and a member of the Fabaceae family. I love its pink puffball flowers, gorgeous fragrance, whimsical nature, and potent medicine. To learn about Albizia, I spoke with Community Herbalist and Traditional Food Ways Educator Lindsay Kolasa. Lindsay and I start the interview by acknowledging that in some areas, Albizia julibrissin can be a weedy invasive plant. Albizia is self seeding, thrives in disturbed soil, and has very viable seeds. So please be mindful of planting it- especially if you live in a place where it can easily spread and outcompete native plants. With this in mind, Lindsay and I talk about invasive plant medicine and why it's important to learn the traditional uses of these plants. We then dive into Albizia's long history of medicinal use. Mentioned in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Materia Medica in the 700's, Albizia julibrissin was highly valued in traditional Chinese Medicine. Albizia's flowers and bark are useful in treating insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Albizia is a "calming spirit" herb and promotes feelings of well being, peace, and (you guessed it!) happiness. Lindsay tells how to sustainably harvest both bark and flowers and prepare them for teas, infusions, and tinctures. Lindsay Kolasa is originally from New Orleans and Mississippi. She has taught at large conferences, such as the Southeast Women’s Herb Conference and for small groups, such as feisty garden clubs. Lindsay also ran an apothecary in the red, clay hills of eastern Mississippi, where her family stretches back six generations. To learn more about Lindsay, visit her website at LindsayKolasa.com. You can read Lindsay's article about Albizia here.
57 minutes | Nov 11, 2019
The Mighty Oak
Episode 31: Journey into the world of Quercus, the amazing Oak. Horticulturalist Byron Joel is an avid Oak fan and shares his knowledge about Oaks from tiny acorn to robust tree. You'll learn about what Oaks need to grow well, the beauty of Oak as a perennial staple crop, the three "fruits" of Oak, and some of the many uses of this iconic tree. Byron also talks about the Dehesa, the semi-domesticated Oak savannah and its high quality yields. We also discuss specific species of Oak, including lower tannin varieties. Byron Joel is a Permaculture teacher and designer who is an avid Oak fan. Owner of Oak Tree Designs in Margaret River, Australia, Byron works internationally as both educator and consultant in Holistic Management, Natural Sequence Farming, Bio-dynamics, Natural Farming, the Regrarians Platform, and Restoration Agriculture. You can read about Byron's new project Dehesa Australis here. In this epsiode, Byron mentions research about implementing the Dehesa system in California. Here is a link: Mediterranean Oak Woodland Working Landscapes: Dehesas of Spain and Ranchlands of California. Byron mentions two books: Oak: The Frame of Civilization by William Bryant Logan and The Woodland Way by Ben Law.
35 minutes | May 3, 2019
Nettle- The Prickly Medicinal Herb
Episode 30: If you've ever wandered into a patch of Nettle, you probably remember its ferocious sting! But, did you know that Nettle is a nutritional powerhouse and herbal medicine rock star? Renowned for its tiny hairs and formic acid bite, Nettle is a plant with many medicinal benefits. Nettle contains protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, chlorophyll, and Vitamins A, C, D, and B! To learn about this medicinal herb that "bites', I speak with Western Clinical Herbalist Cheryl Fromholzer, owner and founder of of Gathering Thyme, a community herb shop, clinic, and education center in San Rafael, CA. I saw Cheryl speak at the Santa Barbara Plant Food Medicine Conference last year and was impressed by her knowledge of Nettle. Cheryl fills us in on the many benefits of this tonic herb. Nettle has an alkalizing effect on tissue, can reduce allergy symptoms, alleviate fatigue, and help with skin problems like eczema. Cheryl tells us how and when to harvest Nettle and what parts of the plant to use. We also discuss Cheryl's favorite recipes, including Nettle Infusion, Vinegar, and Pesto. Nettle can also be used as a potent soil amendment and as farm yard fodder. You can catch up with Cheryl at GatheringThyme.com. In this interview, I mentioned that I would share a recipe for Nettle Beer, if our beer turned out. I'm happy to report that it did! We let it ferment longer than the recipe suggested, which resulted in a tastier beverage- that is, if you like the flavor of a woodsy, earthy Nettle Beer! The recipe that we based our Nettle Beer on is found at Homestead Honey. We did change a few things. We ran out of fresh Nettle (it doesn't weigh a lot!!) and ended up using about half dried Nettle. We also kept ours in our fermentation bucket for over a week before bottling it up. Once bottled, we let it sit out for another week or so.
51 minutes | Aug 31, 2018
Meet the Geranium Family!
Episode 29: Robin Parer loves Geraniums. An avid horticulturalist, Robin started a nursery in 1983 with 32 Geranium plants. Thirty five years later, Robin's nursery contains over 650 members of the Geraniaceae Family. Robin has traveled through leech infested Australian swamps, explored Hawaiian craters, and climbed 14,000 feet to reach Andean lama pastures- all for her love of Geraniums! In this episode, I speak with Robin Parer about the entire Geraniaceae Family: Hardy Geraniums, Pelargoniums, Erodiums,and Monsonias. Robin talks in depth about how to grow and propagate them, where they are found in nature, the mistaken identity of Pelargoniums, and why she has been entranced with this plant family for so long. Robin Parer is the owner and operator of the Geraniaceae Nurseryin Kentfield, CA and the author of the book, The Plant Lovers' Guide to Hardy Geraniums. She is also one of the founders of the Bay Area Horticultural Society and has been featured in the New York Times, Sunset, and House and Garden Magazine.
26 minutes | Apr 13, 2018
The Lovely Loquat
Episode 28: Have you ever heard of Loquats? In this episode, farmer, educator, and author Ken Love talks about this sweet and prolific fruit tree. Found throughout the world, Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) are easy to grow and maintain. Also known as Biwa and Pipa, Loquats have a long and intriguing history and offer the home gardener an abundant source of delicious fruit with high levels of Vitamin A and Potassium. Loquats are also powerful medicine. The leaves are used medicinally in teas and syrups to clear the lungs. Ken tells us what Loquats need to thrive, how to prune them for high quality fruit production, and how to harvest them for longer shelf life and maximal nutrition. Ken Love specializes in tropical fruit horticulture and grows more than 200 types of exotic fruits on his farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. You can learn more about Ken at his website HawaiiFruit.net or at HawaiiTropicalFruitGrowers.org.
51 minutes | Feb 23, 2018
Episode 27: Learn about Lavender with farmer Lori Parr. Lori, aka Lavender Lori, farms Lavender in Western Montana on Rosalie Ranch where she distills her own brand of essential oils and hydrosols. Lori is also the author of the soon to be published book, Lavender Farming in High Elevations and Harsh Climates: Secrets from a Hard Row Hoed. In this interview Lori tells us how to propagate, grow, and harvest Lavender and shares with us some of the many ways to use this aromatic and delightful plant. Did you know that Lavender oil is excellent for burns, blisters, headaches, and insomnia? Or that Lavender hydrosol can be used for skin care, cleaning, and as a body wash? To learn more about Lavender and Lori, visit her website at LavenderLori.com.
51 minutes | Oct 13, 2017
Native Plants of the Appalachian Woodlands
Episode 26: Learn about native Appalachian herbs in this interview with educator, designer, and farmer Trevor Piersol. Co- founder of the Shenandoah Permaculture Institute, Trevor grows perennial fruits and medicinal herbs, with a focus on easy-care native plants, in his home state of Virginia. Appalachia, a vast mountain region of the United States, is rich in botanical diversity and herbal lore. In this episode, Trevor talks about American Ginseng, Goldenseal, Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, and two of the many fungi that grow in this region, Reishi and Chaga. Trevor shares with us the type of medicine these plants provide, how to use them, how to ensure that the plants you buy are ethically harvested, and how you can grow them at home or in a nearby woodland. Threatened by habitat loss, climate breakdown, poaching, and over-harvesting, these living treasures need to be protected. For more information about Trevor and his work, visit the Shenandoah Permaculture Institute.com.
36 minutes | Jun 23, 2017
Hawthorn for the Heart
Episode 25: Have you heard of Hawthorn? Herbalist Bonnie Rose Weaver is a big fan and in this episode fills you in on why she loves this plant! Hawthorn, Latin name Crataegus, is a heart tonic extraordinaire. A member of the Rose family, (like Bonnie), Hawthorn is also known as May Apple, Mayblossom, and the May Tree. Edible parts of the plant include the young leaves and flowers and the fruits or berries. Medicinally, Hawthorn has been used to prevent and treat heart problems, to regulate blood pressure, and to increase vein health. Hawthorn berries are rich in antioxidants and can be made into jams and incorporated into a medicinal honey. The flowers and leaves can be made into tinctures. Hawthorn has a rich folklore and history. Fairies are said to hang out with Hawthorn and in Welsh lore, the Goddess Olwen walked an empty universe and left a trail of Mayblossoms which became the Milky Way. Hawthorn also provides shelter and food for a biodiverse group of small mammals, insects, and birds. According to Bonnie, Hawthorn is also a valuable plant ally for those times when you are dealing with heartbreak or heartache. Bonnie Rose Weaver is an urban farmer, community herbalist, artist and educator in San Francisco, CA. In 2014, Bonnie launched the seed to bottle apothecary - 1849 Medicine Garden, a project that teaches urbanites about the benefits of locally grown plant medicine. Bonnie is the author of the book, Deeply Rooted: Medicinal Plant Cultivation in Techtropolis.
17 minutes | Mar 7, 2017
The Medicinal, Edible Thistle
Episode 24: Thistles! To many of us, they are those annoying, prickly plants that "bite." Classified as a noxious weed in many areas, thistles are the topic of this podcast with Thistle admirer Katrina Blair, author of the book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. What does Katrina do for Thistle weed control? She eats them! In this episode Katrina Blair talks about the many uses of this weedy plant. Thistles regenerate liver cells, are full of minerals, and their leaves make an alkaline drink. You can make flour out of thistle seeds, chew the flowers and white fluff as a gum, and use large amounts of fermented thistles as a substrate for growing oyster mushrooms. Other edible parts of Thistles include the root which Katrina makes into a Chai Tea or eats like a potato and the stalk which is sweeter than celery. Katrina's favorite Thistle variety is the Musk Thistle: Carduus nutans. To learn more about Katrina's work, visit her website: Turtle Lake Refuge.org. To hear a longer interview with forager, chef, writer, and plant lover Katrina Blair on Sustainable World Radio, click here.
9 minutes | Mar 3, 2017
Episode 23: Katrina Blair, author of the Wild Wisdom of Weeds, shares the many medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic uses of Mallow. We focus on Malva neglecta, a common weed found around the world. In many places, Malva is known as an invasive species, so why not utilize this ubiquitous plant? In this episode, Katrina gives her recipes for a sweet Mallow Milk and a "living" body lotion. She also talks about the medicinal uses of Malva (it's great for sore throats and laryngitis) and how to prepare it like a vegetable. This was recorded at the Heirloom Expo. Sorry folks for any background noise! Katrina Blair is a forager, chef, writer, and plant lover who runs the nonprofit Turtle Lake Refuge whose mission is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands. If you'd like to learn more about Katrina's work and get her recipe for Wild Marshmallows, check out her book on our Links Page. To hear a longer interview with Katrina Blair on Sustainable World Radio, click here.
50 minutes | Dec 11, 2016
Durian: The Aromatic King of Fruits
Episode 22: Imagine leaving your regular life behind and traveling for a year in search of a ripening fruit. This is what Lindsay Gasik did and it changed her life. The fruit she was searching for is Durian. One of the largest tropical fruits, Durian are renowned for their unusual taste and aroma and have the reputation of "smelling like hell and tasting like heaven." In fact, their strong odor is so pungent, Durians have been banned from the Singapore Rapid Mass Transit System. Durians are high in fat and sugar, covered in thorns, can weigh up to 22 pounds, and fall off the tree when ripe. Be sure to look out for this falling fruit! In 2012, Lindsay set off on a twelve month sojourn around Southeast Asia to follow the Durian season. In this podcast interview we learn about her travels on the Durian Trail, how to eat and prepare Durian, the parallels between wine and Durian, and what happens when you follow a fruit to explore other cultures. Lindsay also tells us how she became a Durian Travel Agent and why she still loves this thorny, aromatic King of Fruit! To learn more about Lindsay and Durian, visit her website: Year of the Durian.com
26 minutes | Oct 14, 2016
Relax and Calm With Lemon Balm
Episode 21: Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, is an easy to grow herb with many uses. To learn about Lemon Balm, I spoke with Kami McBride. Kami is an herbalist, herbal medicine instructor, and creator of the Living Awareness Institute. Kami has 27 years of experience in inspiring people to use herbs in their daily lives and in this episode, she shares her knowledge about this wonderful plant. Lemon balm makes a pleasant tasting tea, lemonade, and infusion. Palatable to children, Lemon Balm fights colds and flus, is antispasmodic, and carminative. Kami talks about how and when to harvest and use lemon balm and why she calls it a "confetti herb." Kami describes Lemon Balm as the "crowd-pleasing herb" because it elevates mood and is soothing and calming. A favorite of bees, Lemon Balm is a great addition to your garden. Kami advises people to "let yourself fall in love" with a plant and Lemon Balm is an easy herb to fall for. To hear a 2009 interview with Kami McBride on Sustainable World Radio, click here.
35 minutes | Jun 30, 2016
The Power of Pulses with Dan Jason
Episode 20: Have you heard about Pulses? The edible seeds of legumes, Pulses are, in the words of my guest Dan Jason, a "simple, beautiful, nutritious, and versatile crop". Easily grown without herbicides or pesticides, pulses are resilient, need little water, and increase soil fertility. They contain protein, are highly nutritious, and easy to grow and prepare. Dan Jason is an organic farmer, seed saver, and author based on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Dan is the author of the new book The Power of Pulses: Saving the World with Peas, Beans, Chickpeas, Favas, and Lentils. Farming organically for over thirty years, Dan is the owner and founder of the heritage and heirloom seed company, Salt Spring Seeds. An advocate for untreated, open-pollinated, and non-GMO seeds, Dan believes that pulses can help renew the health of our planet. 2016 is the International Year of Pulses. Make this the year that you incorporate the incredible family of pulses into your diet and, if you have the space, into your garden.
39 minutes | Dec 30, 2015
Paw Paw: The Forgotten Fruit
Episode 19: Have you ever eaten a paw paw? If you haven't, you'll probably want to, after hearing this interview with Andrew Moore, author of the book, Paw Paw In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit. Paw Paws are North America's largest, edible, native fruit. Growing wild in 26 states, paw paws have been immortalized in folk songs, like Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch. In modern times, paw paws have largely been forgotten. To learn why, I speak with Andrew Moore about this delicious and highly medicinal plant. Andrew takes us on a journey through the Paw Paw Belt and shares why he is excited about the future of this tropical tasting plant. To read more about Andrew, click here.
34 minutes | Oct 24, 2015
The Beautiful Rose
Episode 18: Our plant for this episode is the Rose. Roses are edible, medicinal, and therapeutic. To learn about this beautiful plant, I spoke with Linda Buzzell Saltzman, an Eco-Therapist and Rosarian who grows roses in and around her backyard food forest. Linda talks about the history of roses, the benefits of growing heritage roses, and why the concept of "right rose, right place" is important. Linda also shares recipes and gardening tips. After hearing about Roses, you may be tempted to become a rose rustler. To learn more about heritage roses, visit Linda's blog by clicking here.
18 minutes | Aug 14, 2015
Amazing Yeast- Tiny, Ubiquitous, and Invaluable
Episode 17: Our plant for this episode is not a plant. It's yeast. Tiny in size, huge in utility, yeast is all around us. Found in the Ecuadorian Rainforests, the Arctic, and on our skin, this single-celled member of the Fungi Kingdom is part of Nature's Recycling Team and has been on the planet for millions of years. Used for brewing and baking, humans have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with yeast. In this episode, Dr. Ian Roberts of the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) talks about yeast: its history, what it needs to survive, its role in the ecosystem, and the process of fermentation. Dr. Roberts is the curator of more than 4,000 strains of yeast collected over 65 years at the NCYC. To learn more about the NCYC and its heritage collection of UK brewing yeast visit their website.
22 minutes | Jul 11, 2015
Kalo- An Important Hawaiian Plant
Episode 16: In this episode we talk about Kalo or Taro, Colocasia esculenta. To learn about this staple of the Hawaiian diet, we visit the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens located in Kahului on the island of Maui. At Maui Nui, we speak with Tamara Sherrill and John Aquino. Former Plant Collections Manager, Tamara is now Maui Nui's Executive Director. Tamara describes several old Hawaiian varieties of Kalo, Kalo propagation, and Native and Canoe Plants. We also talk with farmer and Hawaiian Plant Expert John Aquino about what parts of the Kalo are edible, how it's grown, his farm on Maui, and traditional Hawaiian farming methods. To learn more about the Maui Nui Botanic Gardens, visit their website at MNBG.org.
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