Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

FAIRE TRADE: HOMEGROWN met brand new member Jess last weekend at Maker Faire Bay Area, where she had us at hello. Stylish, friendly, inquisitive, and a windowsill homesteader? What’s not to like?! We pounced on Jess like a bee on pollen, and she agreed to kick off Memorial Day weekend with the getting-to-know-you chat that follows below. Thanks so much, Jess. It’s awfully good to have you here on HOMEGROWN, and we hope you’ll keep us posted as all of your impending changes continue to unfold. In the meantime, happy long weekend, everyone!

What is Meet Your Neighbors? Most of us spend a fair amount of time tending our online gardens, but it’s easy to forget there’s a real person behind every quiche recipe, chicken inquiry, and hoophouse design here on HOMEGROWN. Well, nuts to that! MYN gives us a chance to meet over the back fence and shake hands. (Or maybe hug? We’re huggers. But no pressure.)

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Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 24, 2013 at 11:01am

Good morning, Jess! For the folks out there who haven’t met you yet, could you tell the HOMEGROWN flock where you’re chatting with us from? And we should mention that HOMEGROWN met you (and vice versa!) at Maker Faire Bay Area last weekend. What was the coolest thing you saw there?

Comment by Jess Gee on May 24, 2013 at 1:02pm

Hello HOMEGROWN! And good morning. I am currently chatting with you guys from my kitchen in sunny San Mateo, CA (SF Bay Area) -- the hometown of the Maker Faire Bay Area! For those of you who have never been to a Maker Faire, my only advice is: GO! It is by far the best way to spend a weekend. Whether you are a technophile, homesteader, DIY crafter, this place has EVERYTHING! Not your average fair, which is apparent from the kind of food booths they offer (can you say Paella?!). I think the coolest thing that I got to participate in were all the activities at the Swap-O-Rama-Rama tent; but the coolest thing I saw were probably the gigantic, flame-throwing, metal works of art.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 24, 2013 at 1:06pm

Well said! We love that, at Maker Faire, you have as good a chance of seeing a goat walk by as a robot. So ridiculously cool. But before we get carried away, we should clarify who’s pictured in that photo up there. You’re a practicing doula, so that’s a baby you helped bring into the world, right? It sounds like big changes are afoot for you soon, though. Can you tell us a little bit about what's in store?

Comment by Jess Gee on May 24, 2013 at 1:13pm

Yes I am! I have been a doula in the Bay Area for a few years now, and that little treasure above is one of my most recent treasures. Her mama and her mama had quite a journey, and this pic is of me and babe snuggled up for some R&R in the hospital room -- a rare treat for me to have a picture of my work!

This might be one of the last babies that I work with for the next few years, because there are some really HUGE changes afoot -- I was recently (as in two weeks ago!) accepted to the naturopathic medicine program at Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. I will be making the move in less than three weeks, to start classes in July! This means a major transition for me -- from practicing doula to medical student in just a few short months -- all of which I am very excited for! With this step, I guess that now makes me a student naturopath. I will also be pursuing my education as a student herbalist and student midwife. Lots of great stuff to come!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 24, 2013 at 1:18pm

Not to repeat ourselves, but that's SO. RIDICULOUSLY. COOL. Congratulations! Those are HUGE—and awesome—changes. So, we have to plead some ignorance here: Can you school us a bit in how naturopathy, herbs, and midwifery all work together?

Comment by Jess Gee on May 24, 2013 at 1:28pm

Thank you! I am very excited ... if "excited" could only encompass my true feelings of "s!@sdfsbj#@*3sdf42&$3!"

I have a not-so-unique vision for my future work as a naturopath/herbalist/midwife. The common threads between all these modalities/foci of health care include: holistic, integrative, gentle, personalized care founded in the power of self. No naturopathic medicine provider/herbalist/midwife does the work of healing alone -- we join forces with our patients/clients (or more appropriately, "co-healers") to provide them with education/tools that are the missing pieces of their health puzzle -- helping them find balance, wholeness, wellness. It's all very "groovy." 

As someone who comes from a very allopathic- (contemporary Western medicine philosophy) heavy and science-heavy background, I have a great appreciation for the technological advances in Western healthcare, and for the great work that is done in catastrophic, emergency situations. But in the fields that I have gravitated toward, sexual and reproductive health, I believe that the modus operandi should approach care from a holistic point of view (using the tools of nature, energy, and common sense) -- reserving the big guns for situations that call for their use.

How did I not also mention PREVENTATIVE! There is so much that we can do for ourselves, our communities, our environment to live vitally and fully -- prevention is key!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 24, 2013 at 1:35pm

We're sold. Can we all move to Washington so that you can be our health care provider? What an amazing outlook—and what important work, especially in sexual and reproductive health. So patient-focused and so smart. Wow. And judging from your HOMEGROWN profile, good food comes into the holistic mix, too, at least for you personally, since you’re a CSA member, an herb-box tender, and a farmers market shopper. How does food figure into the equation for you?

Comment by Jess Gee on May 24, 2013 at 1:46pm

Absolutely! Everyone should move to Seattle -- I mean, rain forest, snow peaked mountains, lakes, oceans, trees EVERYWHERE! C'mon. I am also looking for a roommate, if there are any takers.

Food. I want to say this as concisely as possible: FOOD IS MEDICINE. Food is the foundation that we build our health upon. Lots of people played with Legos/Lincoln logs/Kinnects when they were kids -- think of it this way -- imagine one of your pals gave you a multicolored masterpiece made from Legos -- let's say, an apple -- made of reds, blues, greens, yellows. There is no expectation that this Lego apple sits on the floor in front of you, to remain as it is. No, man! You tear that bad boy up, make your pal a multicolored masterpiece of your own -- let's say, a little person -- and you share your masterpiece with the world.

This is the basics of food as medicine. We are literally what we eat (what we spread on our bodies, breathe in our lungs, think in our minds, etc.). 

The basics of any healthy bodymindspirit is good nutrition. And I am also of the opinion that good-for-you-food can also be REALLY DELICIOUS! Living where I do now, I don't have the space for a garden -- so I grow my little herbal medicine box, support my local CSA, and meet up with my fave farmers at the market. I love fresh. I love seasonal. I love real, what my Grandma calls, "down cookin'" -- food you can't wait to lick out of the pan!

I also get a lot of my food inspiration for nutrition greats like Sally Fallon Morell and the Weston A. Price Foundation. Good stuff! If you Sally's Nourishing Traditions is not a staple in your cookbook library, IT SHOULD BE!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 24, 2013 at 1:50pm

HOMEGROWN has played matchmaker before, so there's no reason why we can't help with roommates—especially roommates who love good food! (Warning: Jess is one of our flock now, so you know what that means. We're protective. Like mother-hen protective.) But back to the matter at hand: FOOD IS MEDICINE! You heard it here from the doctor-to-be, folks. Consider that prescriptive! OK, OK. Last question and then we'll let you get back to what's probably a very busy Friday: Any HOMEGROWN—or down cookin'—plans for the Memorial Day weekend? And thanks so much for the chat, Jess. It's the beginning of a beautiful HOMEGROWN friendship!

Comment by Jess Gee on May 24, 2013 at 1:59pm

<blush!> I am feeling the love -- the place I am moving into has GARDEN SPACE (the only requirement for my new pad). Oh, and did I mention that it is a block away from a state park -- swwooon!

My partner and I had plans for a really quiet weekend at home before the crazy storm (aka me packing up my life) that is to come...

But we decided last minute last night to make a trip to see our SoCal (southern CA) families. Tonight we will be in my hometown sharing a meal with my peeps (my Grandma is cooking, so I am sure it will be very down!), and tomorrow we will be in LA with his peeps (where there will definitely be some DIY smoker action, and there is a pastry chef in the family, so probably something tasty in that department). Other than that, I am feverishly trying to finish a lot of handmade gifts for all the folks we will be seeing on our quick trip -- lots of crocheting and sewing goin' on!

Thanks for the opportunity to chat! Like I had mentioned to you before, it is marvelous to be a part of this community and share in all the wonderful, juicy goodness that goes on in these parts. What a lovely welcome!

Have a marvelous loooong weekend e'rebody <3


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