Proud Food Producers for Apache & Navajo Counties
Learning from each other every day
We are happy to say: We’re back!
A thumbnail sketch of Lodestar Gardens today
What follows is our best attempt to summarize with pictures and words how we have grown with it in scale, scope, and spirit.
Lodestar Gardens is a family-owned business offering naturally-grown produce to the White Mountains since 2002. Located 16 miles East of Show Low, in the Vernon area, LODESTAR GARDENS is an off-grid operation (powered by solar and wind generation) based on permaculture principles and biodynamic growing cycles.
Our mission is to:
1. enhance our regional foodshed by increasing our capacity to provide fresh, local produce year-round to our region of NE Central Arizona.
2. work with other growers to create a regional food hub.
3. offer sustainable agricultural education through farm apprenticeship programs such as WWOOF, hosting and conducting community workshops, and providing residential learning through the Lodestar Learning Center
Owners, Clark and Barbara, are committed to sharing their knowledge about growing food, re-skilling, and local resilience. We are eager to learn from others.
Where have we been? Why haven’t we updated our webpage since 2010? What could possibly distract us for over two years?
Like many, we got sucked deep into the transformational spin. We were infused to the gills with the relentless momentum of projects that burst our learning curves day in and day out, experiences that transformed our perspectives and inspired our change. The infamous December 21, 2012, was merely another blip on our bio rhythmic, Universal radar. Today we look around and celebrate the changes we see as demonstrable steps toward a new relationship with our planet. Lodestar Gardens reflects this evolution as we move toward opening the Lodestar Learning Center in March 2014. We all have much to teach each other.
In the Season of the Bear in the West, the darkest, coldest season, the season of reflection, on the threshold of 2013, we took long, deep breaths, stepped back, and said to ourselves, “This is a good time to update the website!” Together since 1994, our deepening relationship has been the aspect of our lives for which we are most grateful. Through our relationship, we feed our gardens as much as they feed us. It is a dynamic, symbiotic process called LOVE.
In May 2010, Barbara retired from 33-year teaching career. For decades she enjoyed working with students ranging from 7th grade to community college adults. In May 2012, Barbara graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Masters Degree in Sustainable Communities. She is a permaculture designer, Master Gardener of Coconino County, one of the first recipients of the Arizona Association of Environmental Education (AAEE) certificate, and holds current Arizona secondary education and community college teaching certifications. Clark is the researcher, engineer, and mechanic of the team who makes the Lodestar clockworks move forward through one project after another—wind generation, irrigation and rain water catchment systems, soil building, developing feed crops, goat-raising, barn-raising, pottery and welding. Holding the goal to live a self-reliant lifestyle since he read Thoreau’s Walden in high school, Clark, is now manifesting his dream. Mother, Betty Ann, holds down the fort and oversees seed collection and processing. Her work is essential to our ability to save seeds, one of the most critical functions on the farm. All three members of our farm family are writers and artists of various genres. We believe that chop wood and carry water activities must be balanced with art and retrospection (what Clark refers to as “doing porch”). In the photo above you see us bookending our WWOOFers, Clarissa, Tom, and James–WWOOFers are an essential part of the the Lodestar Gardens clockworks too!
Offer Food at Local Markets.
Lodestar Gardens supports local farmers markets. LSG sells every Saturday at the Main Street Show Low Farmers’ Market and most Wednesdays at the Huning Street Farmers’ Market. LSG is preparing to provide fresh food year-round to our communities through its greenhouse production. We anticipate working with other local growers in establishing a cooperative that will strengthen year-round food production capacity of individual growers through greenhouse growing.
This year LSG will be a contributing grower to a community supported agriculture effort conducted by Cindy and Rory Laney at Cool Creek Ranch in Vernon, AZ. Lodestar Gardens supports collaborative efforts that encourage our regional food shed one village at a time. For more information: www.coolcreekranch.com or call (928) 368-7641.
Lodestar Learning Center. We will begin taking applications for our first 8-month, residential art and agricultural immersion program. The art focus for the first year will be writing and ceramics. This program brings together a community of practicing and aspiring artists who find their greatest inspiration is their relationship with the Earth processes. It is an opportunity to experience an aesthetic appreciation for concrete agricultural practices—Pen and Plow.
NAVAPACHE Post – a growers’ cooperative. Clark and Barbara have been exploring the best way to network and organize local growers in central Navajo and Apache Counties. With the generous facility support from Northland Pioneer College, growers, gardeners and that group of consumers to which our webmaster, Val, affectionately refers to as grubbers, have been meeting monthly since November 2010. But stay tuned; it’s only getting better . . . NAVAPACHE Post will make its website debut early spring 2013. It will rock your grocery world! navapachepost.org.
Grassroots Mini-Co-Op. Eight families who live within 40 miles of Lodestar, are working together toward growing nutritionally dense local food year-round, season-extending growing tunnel 35’x72’x15’ and food production system that they helped build. The high tunnel will be irrigated with solar pumped water from a nearby pond/aquaponic system. All work and harvests are shared equally among participants and therein is the cooperative aspect of this experiment. This collaboration is distinguished from a typical work share program in that it is based on an exchange of labor and time, rather than a monetary equivalent for work-food exchange.
Lodestar Community Library. Veteran sustainable practitioners and innovators, Kali Hall and Breyeh Fresol approached us and asked if we would like to house their library, a extensive collection of practical and philosophical resources to help our community become even more self-reliant. This spring, the library will be available to co-op and local residents. Kali and Breyeh join those visionaries and pioneers who model for us self-reliant lifestyles; as a research team equipped with keen social eyes Kalbrey Enterprises provides insightful information upon which we can make informed choices in many arenas. Contact them: firstname.lastname@example.org. LSG is active in networking small direct farmers, ranchers, backyard growers, community garden participants in our region. Navapache Post monthly meetings are held @ Northland Pioneer College, Snowflake Campus. For more information: 928.587.1660.
On-going events at Lodestar
Quarterly Bees and Seeds Gatherings. For the past ten years, a couple of dozen folks and new friends get together every three months and celebrate bees and garden bounty, the passing seasons, and each other.
THANKMAS. In the spirit of creating one’s own rituals and celebrations, about a decade ago, we invented a holiday set aside to celebrate friendship. The tradition took hold in our circle of friends and that circle grew, over time the circle morphed and reshaped itself as groups of people do, but the tradition lives on. Thankmas occurs on a Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, food is our centerpiece of activity.
Labyrinth Walks. Susan Trumphfleller, for decades a dowser and creator of labyrinths, orchestrated a dozen people in the creation of a Cretan labyrinth on Lodestar property in November of 2011. This team of Labyrinth Builders succeeded in creating a powerful vortex on the property. It will be included on the international labyrinth registry. The public is welcome to share in the energies and the labyrinth becomes more powerful and nurturing with each footstep upon it.
We have a classroom and a shop area to accommodate hands-on learning activities. We are prepared to conduct or host workshops on the following topics:
Solar Cooking & Food Drying = Five Methods
Permaculture Design Principles including aquaponics applications and rainwater harvesting
Extending the growing season – methods (row covers, cold frame construction, hoop houses, green houses, high tunnels)
Techniques for gardening & living off-grid
Alternative fuels/Small-scale ethanol production
Living with Bees – Bee stewardship
Writing Workshops for children & adults (Nature as Muse, Poetry of Silence, Walking Meditations, and Greenhouse Art)
Acupressure Training for Self-Reliant Health (Monte Cunningham)
Plant Spirit Medicine (Minda Simmons)
Wildcrafting Mushrooms (Kathleen Vorhol)
Drumvello Open Heart workshops (Dr. Donna Daniel)
Alternative Growing Philosophies and Techniques (union of scientific & spiritual practices)
Anastasia Gardening Techniques – Ringing Cedar Series (Kent Brewer & Dr. Cherylee Brewer)
Biodynamics (Rudolph Steiner school)
Perlandra Approach (gardening with nature intelligence)
Workshops Scheduled for Summer 2013
Summer 2013 Lodestar Learning Center WORKSHOP SERIES for Children, Young Adults, & Families
Lodestar Farm Days – recommended for children ages 5-11
June 18, 2013 – 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
June 25, 2013 – 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $25/student – limited to 10 students (parents must accompany children 4-5 years of age and contribute $5 for lunch) – breakfast and lunch provided. Parents, bring your cameras!
Labyrinth walk and sing along
Create green house art (plant rubbing – solar leaf art)
Plant seeds to take home
Cook your lunch in a solar oven you make
Feed chickens, goats, and compost worms
Write a Farm Day Poem
Summer 2013 Workshops
Lodestar Farm Camp Out – recommended for young adults ages 12-16
9:00 a.m. July 14 – 4:00 p.m. July 15
Cost: $75/student – limited to 10 students (campground accommodations) – breakfast, lunch and dinner provided first day; breakfast and lunch provided second day – work exchange scholarship applications are available.
Labyrinth walk and chant
The art of broadfork and rake
Soil science & Soil making
Introduction to aquaponics
Green house art (water colors)
Cook your lunch on a rocket stove you make
Caring for goats and chickens
Hiking the Lodestar Trail
Barnyard Volleyball Tournament
Create a UTube Weekend on the Farm video
Summer 2013 Workshops
Lodestar Family Farm Days
August 9 – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
August 24 – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $7/person – limited to 15 people
Labyrinth walk and drumming
High tunnel harvest
Name that garden pest
Barnyard Baseball Game
Cook your lunch in a solar oven and on a rocket stove
Use a solar dryer; make a solar dryer
Goat, chicken and compost feed
Family Farm Photos
Summer 2013 Workshops ~ Retreat Options for Adults
Reconnecting with Nature as Muse, Poetry of Silence, Walking & Still Meditations, Pure Diet
Experience elegance through simplicity
For those times when you want to experience deep silence and complete solitude in a peaceful and beautiful place, we can provide a safe space and guard your privacy. Accommodations include a tent campsite near a medicine wheel and pond or if you prefer a less rustic setting, there is a self-sufficient loft apartment with a long view of the foothills of White Mountains. Nature walks, labyrinth walks, pond walks, meditation sites, private time in the library can be arranged, and you may work with plants in the garden, green house, or high tunnel. Naturally grown, nutritionally dense food can be provided, or you can bring you own nourishment. Juicing fasts by arrangement. Well water is further purified for your complete satisfaction.
Reservations by special arrangement, ten-day advance notice, 2-4 day stays, non-refundable 20% reservation fee. Cost varies according to selection of accommodations, length of stay, and food preparation. Lodestar Gardens is a drug-free and weapon-free vortex.
Also ask us about:
Northeast AZ for Resource Independence (www.NEARI.us/888-853-0646)
Learn with others who seek to live a more self-reliant lifestyle through advancing local food production, exploring alternative fuel production, and mastering affordable good health practices. This LLC is lead by a locally driven team who seeks the cutting edge and lowest common denominator in attaining maximum local resilience. Lodestar Gardens supports and promotes their principles and approaches to attaining a high standard of quality living.
Welcome! food producers of every scale, gardeners who want to connect, and consumers who want to be part of the local food movement meet monthly at NPC- Snowflake Campus – last Thursday 4 -6 p.m. Meetings include workshops on popular agricultural topics. Go to www.navapachepost.org for the 2013 NP MEETING SCHEDULE or check our LSG calendar. NP creates advertising and networking for food producer members & marketers—large & small growers, ranchers, & local food supporters. Growers are working together to form a growers’ cooperative, and eventually an online store and a cold-storage, food-processing distribution center in our area. YOU can join the local food movement in the high country and reap the benefits.
Kerr Cole Sustainable Living Center – We have been on the KCSLC Board for nearly a decade and wholeheartedly support this non-profit in its mission to educate individuals and families to integrate sustainable living methods into their lives. We demonstrate KCSLC solar cooking and water purification methods at local markets, preparedness fairs, and at the request of sustainable oriented groups. Barbara Kerr, founder of the KCSLC and who passed spring of last year, was our first and most authentic model for self-reliant lifestyle in our area. She was for us a visionary, mentor, and most important, friend. Her legacy remains. www.Kerr-Cole.org.
White Mountain Community Gardens – We are active members and avid supporters of the WMCG and their efforts to create and sustain the first community garden in our area and offer
gardening education to our community. WMCG offers our community members an essential component to increasing our local food production and food consciousness. Call Mary or Dan Vertz for more information: 602.810.8175.
Find our produce & signature greens @ FARMERS’ MARKETS:
In 2013 find us May – October @ these farmers’ markets weekly:
- Wednesday: Sunshine Herbs – Show Low (9:00 am – 1:00 pm)
- Friday: Cafe Bocado (11:00 am – 2:00 pm)
- Saturday: Main Street Show Low Farmers’ Market (9:00 am – 1:00 pm)
This year we will feature three of the top 8 most nutrient dense foods on earth: kale, broccoli and spinach. We also love growing root vegetables and experimenting with recipes all winter long. Stay tuned for our favorite recipes. For more information about the Super 8 Foods: http://www.superfoodsforlife.com/site/531699/page/103407
Sign up now to be a preferred Lodestar Gardens customer or call (928) 587-1405. Let us know if you wish to be included on our email list of workshops and upcoming events at Lodestar Gardens.
Principles that drive the Lodestar Learning Center curriculum
It is our goal to have an apprenticeship program for aspiring artist/farmers in full swing March 2014: PEN and PLOW – an 8-month residential farm and art community experience. A more thorough description of our curriculum and calendar will be posted March 30. Applications will be posted on our website May 30, 2013.
***We believe in collaboration. We are currently working to coordinate with local community colleges and universities to develop an agricultural certification. However, we will not hold up our plans to share our knowledge with people deeply interested in exploring more sustainable life practices waiting on academic institutions impacted by shrinking budgets and typically slow to change and adopt new programs.
***Literature, poetry, music and art inspired by nature are also part of our holistic curriculum. We seek to host and instruct a community of artists who find their greatest inspiration in their relationship with the Earth processes.
***We believe in the powerful instruction that the diverse landscapes and geographical features of this area can teach us, so traveling to local monuments, parks, and reserves is also slated as part of our curriculum (in the general 200-mile radius of Interstate 40 east, Hwy 77 south, Hwy 260 east–Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, Woodruff Butte, Fools Hollow & Lyman Lake State Parks, Walnut Canyon, Homolvi Ruins, Petrified Forest & El Morrow National Monuments, Mt. Baldy wilderness area USFS/Apache Reservation).
***We believe in working together. We are working with other growers, gardeners and ranchers to coordinate a well-rounded curriculum for students who wish to understand the realities of high desert, nutrient-rich food production through hands-on as well as intellectual experience.
***We believe in the power of community and collective wisdom (we are also equally aware of the trap of collective folly), so our students will also attend local garden club (Vernon & Gardeners with Altitude) and local growers meetings (SDF), as well as participate in community garden activities (White Mountain Community Garden) as a part of their community service and experience. We also continually look for opportunities to work with and learn from residents on the four nearby reservations. Following an Age of Alienation, we believe in the power of hands-on, education and community engagement. As the Hopi elders have said: “The time of the lone wolf is over.”
***We believe it is time for an agricultural Renaissance, inspired by visionaries such as Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Helen and Scott Nearing, and the elders within our own communities. We agree with Ken Meter: “Local foods may be the best path towards economic recovery,” and we take it one step further into the realm of personal growth and self-fulfillment: learning how to nurture a garden, is to learn how to nurture yourself. A thread of Zen must run through every tapestry of change, no matter how concrete the goal.
Right now, in early March, we eat from our greenhouse: a variety of lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes. We have over 1,000 vegetable starts at various stages of growth preparing for transplanting to the hoop house and high tunnel, and later this month some will be ready to transplant into walls of waters outside. We invite you to join in the learning.