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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: The gift of learning


In my teens in California and 20s in western Massachusetts, my first work was as a camp counselor and outdoor leader. Thanks to GCC Art professor Joan Rising, I found GCC’s Outdoor Leadership Program in 1981. I remembered my time learning at GCC and leading women’s canoeing and sea kayaking trips when I heard about Kathy Dean and Jeannie Bergstrom’s new program. Her Wild Roots combines outdoor living skills and natural history like I used to teach with homesteading skills such as canning, fermenting, cheese and bread making. Sounds great! See below for a tasty recipe Kathy shared and information about Her Wild Roots. Along with the outdoors, GCC is a great place to learn about farming and food. Check out:


In this season of gifts, I hope you’ll consider giving the gift of learning

Other great learning opportunities:

Her Wild Roots , a nature-based program for women who wish to cultivate a deeper connection to the natural world. Experiential program includes both wilderness and homesteading skills such as: sensory and nature awareness; wild edibles and medicinals; food preservation including canning and fermenting; tracking and animal sign; cheese and bread making; outdoor camping and outdoor travel skills; birch bark and pine needle baskets and more. Seven-month program begins in February 2014, meeting for one full weekend per month, culminating with a 4-day canoe trip in the Adirondacks. Group size limited, register early to reserve a space. For information, contact Jeannie Bergstrom or Kathy Dean at:

herwildroots@gmail.com or visit www.herwildroots.com.

Permaculture Design Certification & Training Course, three weekends: Jan. 18-20, March 21-23, April 11-13, Sirius EcoVillage, Shutesbury. Become a certified permaculture designer and learn hands-on sustainable living skills. Gather ecological design experience to positively impact your home landscape and your community. Be guided through a step-by-step ecological design process for the creation of an abundant, ecological, productive landscape, and then apply this training at your home. Experience daily life at Sirius EcoVillage. Network and study with leading northeastern permaculture designers and educators. Optional 3 college credits through UMASS Amherst. Presented by Sowing Solutions, Permaculture Design & Education. For information, visit:


New England Wildflower Society Online Auction, through Dec. 12. Includes many local food-related offerings, including Real Pickles products, an afternoon in the Warm Colors Apiary beeyard with Dan Conlon, a tour and lunch with Sue Bridge at Wildside Gardens, breakfast at Elmer’s followed by a private Bear Swamp wildflower walk with Nasami Farm Nursery Production Manager Cayte McDonough, and a tour and cordial-tasting with Kate Kerivan at Bug Hill Farm’s organic berry farm. All auction proceeds benefit NEWFS, including Nasami Farm in Whately. For information, visit:


This week we’re eating ...


By Kathy Dean, Shelburne Falls

2 tsp. olive oil

1 sm. onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. salt, divided

1 lg. bunch collards and/or kale, stems removed

1 C. grits (polenta)

¾ C. grated cheddar cheese

¼ C. salsa

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 8-inch baking dish with oil. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add chopped greens, ¼ tsp. salt and 1 C. water. Cover and simmer until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 3 C. water and ¼ tsp. salt to boil. Pour in grits, stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring often until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Combine ½ C. cheese, salsa and egg in a bowl. Remove grits from heat and stir cheese mixture in quickly. Spread ½ grits in dish, top with greens, then spread remaining grits evenly over greens. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

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