Summer Cornucopia and Family Re-Convergence

Earthen Heart, Bangor, Michigan, USA.   Summer is full throttle.  My beloved and I have found our way back to each other and three of her children have moved into the renovated upstairs of the farmhouse.  Along with our two children that makes seven of us in the main farmhouse!  The little house, a new pop-up trailer and camping are available to visitors, interns, WWOOFers which will start coming in next week!  We are excited to host and share with others!  Here is Palma helping clean garlic a few days ago.


We do what we can to harvest and process from the bounties before us; both on-site and with neighboring Organic farms.  Having recently secured a commercial kitchen, we will be selling blueberry and other fruit leathers on a commercial scale very soon while we continue to sell a diverse product line of cottage foods!  Most importantly we are eating more from what is here on site and minimizing the need for food that travels long distances and is heavily processed.  Building the community that supports this lifestyle is the primary challenge.  How do we create the village we wish to live in?  Mostly there are questions and experiments not direct answers but certainly quality is a focus over quantity.  How to support this lifestyle in a capitalist world with so many bills to pay?  Perhaps we can minimize our “needs” and maximize local community infrastructure.  The questions exist whether you are in a city, in the burbs or in the country.  How do we maximize our communities to become thriving resilient places in the face of global social and environmental unrest?

At Earthen Heart we are focused on food and community building.  Certainly there are plenty of other ways to navigate the waters of being human but these things are truly human and I believe at the core of a global healing that is underway.  Energy, transportation, education, healthcare, etc. are also huge issues but perhaps not as fundamental.  We see countries experiencing economic distress and the people resorting to backyard gardens to survive.  Observing nature, re-learning the uses of plants that grown through the cracks.

Here at Earthen Heart we plant only non-GMO and mostly open pollinated seeds.  They often re-seed, sometimes with a little help from the wind, rain, or a human such as I who moves the seeds deeper down the food trail.  We always let a few garlic go to seed and dig in the many seeds, then transplant the little garlic bulbs which appear to become full size in a two year cycle.  This could allow for exponential growth of the garlic crop.  Still experimenting on that but growing traditionally from saved seed to assure a good crop for the homestead.


Rye is an easy grain to grow and supposedly one of the easier to process.  We shall see.  So far its not necessarily easy but seems worthwhile.  We also harvest amaranth which is generally considered a weed but has amazingly nutritious seed and leaves.  The rye berries are quite dry already and will be ready to process soon.


Drying area for grains keeps it off the ground.


taking seed off the stalk leaves straw for other uses and allows a final drying away from chickens and other birds


getting the rye berries separated is the next challenge


awning under a Norway spruce tree is our drying and cleaning area for herbs, grains, crops


grape cuttings from Maynard Kaufman’s property nearby. Allwood, Buffalo and Concord. ABC. they will be transplanted to their final home this fall


berries just started coming in and will be plentiful soon!  get in touch if you wish to join us in the harvest. we get our family berries during the morning walks – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries (red and black) and the dogs have fun too

In upcoming posts I shall work on sharing information about the plants that are often ignored or seen merely as weeds.  Enjoy the heat and put a little love in the world.

Spring 2016: Re-New, Re-Imagine, Re-Consider, Re-Create…

This gallery contains 10 photos.

What I hear at this time is that Mother Earth is asking us to take Spring Time as an opportunity to renew ourselves and reconsider our path. Like it or not we humans are, collectively, on a journey on this … Continue reading

Food Innovations


imageFull Moon, post-Christmas, sipping Dandelion Wine.  Finally an urge to post a blog.  As of late it has been less of an imperative to document than to do.  But, as the weather cools, a new sense of creativity emerges.  Winter is a time to reflect, to dig into the archives, review the channels of the mind.  I am drawn to explore less  of the Netflix and more the Mind itself.  New projects begin and the plan for spring develops.  Time to dream again.

KVCC - Healthy Living Campus

KVCC – Healthy Living Campus

I (Julian) have been meeting occassionally with key players of the Food Innovation Center at the Bronson Healthy Living Campus in Kalamazoo, Michigan (my hometown).

From their website at
“In 2013, a partnership was announced between Kalamazoo Valley Community College (Kalamazoo Valley), Bronson Healthcare (Bronson), and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS). The campus is a catalyst for urban revitalization, community health, and workforce development through sustainable food education, training, production, distribution and preparation.”

The Food Innovation Center (FIC) will be a food hub in Kalamazoo with many functions, including providing regional food to nearby institutions (schools, hospitals, etc).  As a partnership between Kalamazoo Valley Counity College, Bronson Hospital and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health, the FIC is positioned to do some truly important work.  I have been peripherally involved in the Farm to School and Food Hub circles for many years and hope to be involved in this center in the coming years as it is right up my alley and I believe it could be a model for rapid change away from the over-dependency on our current global food system.  I feel I could offer alot of knowledge, energy and skill as I have been processing food at Earthen Heart for the past four years and have almost ten years experience as a professional chef.  One way or another this is the type of work in which I wish to more fully immerse.

On a related note, while enrolled at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro Vermont in 2005-2006, I conducted graduate research for my Capstone by interviewing individuals working within the Farm to School Network and I developed a tool to improve cross sector communication.  As there are so many stakeholders involved in this project from public, nonprofit, business and civil society, I recall this work and hope to rekindle the learnings somehow.

Earthen Heart is in a rural area nearby Kalamazoo and there are many ways I hope to potentially connect with the Healthy Living Campus as an aggregator, processor, chef or video producer.  Either way, I am thankful they have begun the center, and I am supportive of the intention. Next meeting in a few weeks!