Living in a place

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I pulled my last roots this week and cut them up this morning. The smell of the dirt was sweet and pungent. It was beautiful. I should save a cup of dirt to smell over the winter! But it reminded me of how good it is to eat the food out of the ground around us and to preserve the food using the bacteria in the air around us. I also had the privilege of joining some friends in a planting ceremony this week. All part of the story of learning how to live in a place and be part of it.

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Permaculturists are fond of saying that we are all indigenous, or that we all come from indigenous roots, but the reality is that being native to a place does not happen overnight. To quote Luther Standing Bear, “[m]en must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefathers’ bones.” We recognize that there are significant differences between being native by having been raised in a culture and community that is part of this place since time immemorial, and striving to become native by learning how to live in a place as part of it. We also recognize that permaculture and its call for “protracted and thoughtful observation” offers an excellent set of tools and practices that we can use in our journey to become truly native to our places. –Woodbine Centre

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