Fear of fire is a colonial legacy, and in the contiguous US the practice was largely halted with the arrival of the Spanish. Blinded by an unquestioned commitment to European worldviews and the belief in natural hierarchy, settlers saw fire as a purely destructive force. However, controlled burns and naturally occurring wildfires were, and continue to be, a means of renewal and a catalyst for seeds embedded in cycles of burning for their subsequent rejuvenation. Indigenous peoples have long understood the use of fire as an important tool in maintaining critical resources.
As a gardener, aspiring ecologist, and plant lover I can't get enough information on native ecology to satisfy my curiosity. I'm grateful to have a number of local educational resources that work to provide and abundance of information to all age groups. If you're in the area, I hope you'll take advantage of the resources available at Bowman's Tower Wildflower Preserve in Buckscounty Pennsylvania.
Black ancestors and contemporaries have always been leaders―and continue to lead―in the sustainable agriculture and food justice movements, but unfortunately these contributions have been erased and invisibilized. Highlighting them is vital, particularly in an era where the relationship black people have to food and the land is one traumatized by farmland loss, farm worker exploitation, food apartheid, and an epidemic of diet-related illnesses that plague black communities and other communities of color.
It was not always this way, but over the years I have trained my palate to meet the needs of the rest of my body. May favorite taste this time of year offers an antidote to a winter of sweet, fat and salt: Bitter. The bitter flavor stimulates a chain reaction of metabolism in which the digestive system is mobilized to secrete enzymes, mucus, acids and bile to most effectively digest food and eliminate waste.
I didn’t understand it then. In hindsight, I know that this writer’s block arose when I began to feel the pressures to transition from living a young life full of presence and fearlessness and adventure and being here now to a “life” of debt and big girl jobs and fears and bills and big decisions that need serious forethought.