What is LLOOFing (Learning Local on Organic Farms)?
Written by Kerry Alspaugh, 2012 LLOOF program: “Urban gardening in the summer of 2012 made me appreciate “Home grown” at a whole new level. I have never tasted tomatoes that were so delicious. I can see why farmers feel proud at the end of the day.
Working outside everyday alone expanded my horizons literally. I felt a sense of purpose, showing up everyday, nurturing new gardens into being. Even though I still don’t know very much, I appreciate now how much fun it can be to work alongside of friends who are working hard right alongside you, to bring new possibilities from the earth in exchange for some sweat. I learned so much just sharing observations with my fellow gardeners.
I learned that sometimes the things you plant; just don’t make it, even though you have the best intentions for those wondrous seeds and plants. (I felt discouraged at times.) I initially thought that because I was working with someone who is experienced that that wouldn’t happen. It’s just the way it is. That doesn’t mean you give up!
Celebrating the things that do grow is the fun part but letting go of what doesn’t work, observing, researching, recording findings and trying new approaches is the process of permaculture. Problem solving is a core activity of permaculture and gardening. It’s an ongoing process where problems highlight opportunity.
Permaculture helps me realize that as we look to solve problems (in the garden or in our lives) we seek ways for things to work together in synchronicity. When using this as a guide, simple, new ideas and processes evolve.
Successful gardening takes a lot of attention. I always knew that but until I actually jumped in with both feet (and the rest of my body), and actually experienced the day-to-day duties, I didn’t understand.”
This year in our O’k CSA and Market Gardens–herbal medicine plants for teas and tinctures will be offered each week, with simple instruction to begin and/or relearn the HOW-to’s of gathering and using what healing plants grow in our tame and wild gardens. We’ll be hosting a Community Pharmacy…with special workshops in the O’k garden-farm neighborhoods to help you build and fill your own medicine chest.
We’re learning about the plants that grow all around our O’k CSA home-place in North West Michigan, and love to gather and dry medicinal herbs—–and there are SO many of them. In the spring and summer we head out on familiar walks, where plants I’m getting to know grow, with the intention of bringing good green plant energy into our bellies when it’s winter white outdoors.
We’ve named this tea “Hibernation Tea”, and it is a combination of: Horsetail–St. Johns Wort blossom–Lavender–Sarsparilla. It is a tea that tastes good and feels good, with lovely, light and lavender-ish flavor that is not overpowering.
Before sharing our teas, we learn the medicinal properties of these plants and how they interact with each other. This tea was concocted to address over-stimulation and frazzled nerves. It has properties of relieving anxiety and depression (St. Johns Wort), is blood purifying and cleansing (Horsetail), a hormone balancer–aiding sexual vitality and testosterone activity (Sarsparilla) AND, alleviates tension and insomnia (Lavender).
Kootie Buster Tea was created in 2009 and came to the aid and did great service to all of the 28 students in our first-time offering of a Permaculture Design Course in the Tc/NW MI area, during the winter months this course was offered. It’s a beautiful tea and is well-loved by many in our Northern Michigan area!
Kootie Buster Teas’ healing properties address and alleviate symptoms of virus caused diseases like flu, respiratory illnesses: colds, asthma and bronchitis, acts as very, low-level sedative, diminishes fatigue and stress and is a liver cleanser and over-all toner.
It’s O’k CSA and the Market Garden’s 7th year as Traverse City’s first Urban CSA involving area youth and adults as market garden-farmers. We have exciting changes in this year’s Market Garden and CSA program, which is part of the Urban Farm Collective and includes 3 additional, neighborhood and community gardens in Traverse City. AND, also celebrating the second year of the LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms) program that provides a work-exchange and permaculture training for green-collar jobs planning, planting, tending and harvesting the CSA gardens! LLOOFers will also get out into some of our “wild” gardens in the area, and help to harvest elderberries (pictured below) and other medicinal plants for our teas and tinctures we’ll be offering in the CSA and through “Community Pharmacy” workshops.
Join our work-exchange program LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms): REGISTRATION FOR THE LLOOF PROGRAM IS OPEN, from February 1st, until March 1st, 2013 to apply for the 12 LLOOFing positions that will be offered during this growing season.This project is based on both a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, and inspired by WWOOF, the world-wide version of what we are bringing you locally through LLOOFing.
Find out more about the O’k CSA and LLOOF program here: