Seven Principles that Drive the Lodestar Learning Center Curriculum
PRINCIPLE #1 – Law of Attraction
We believe in collaboration and working with like-spirited individuals and groups. We are currently working with local community colleges and universities to develop an agricultural certification. However, we will not wait on institutions negatively impacted by shrinking budgets and reticent to adapt new programs. We share our knowledge with people deeply interested in exploring more sustainable life practices. We are moving forward and invite like-spirited groups to join us in discovering new pathways that lead to personal fulfillment and contributions to the human and more than human world.
PRINCIPLE #2 -Heart-Mind-Spirit-Body-Earth Connect
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.
PRINCIPLE #3 – Relationship with PLACE
We believe in the powerful instruction that the diverse landscapes and geographical features of this region can teach us, so traveling to local monuments, parks, and reserves is also slated as part of our curriculum. Instead of referring to them as field trips, we call these experiences in place excursion immersions. Excursions take place within a 200-mile radius of Interstate 40 east, Hwy 77 south, Hwy 260 east. Excursions include trips to the Grand Canyon, Walnut Canyon, Salt River Canyon, Homolovi Ruins, Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, Woodruff Butte, Fools Hollow & Lyman Lake State Parks, El Morrow National Monument, and the Mt. Baldy Wilderness Area USFS/Apache Reservation. As permaculturalists we appreciate the uniqueness of each place; as artists we appreciate the power of place to inspire the creative process.
PRINCIPLE #4 – Relationship with the COMMUNITIES in our midst
We believe in working together. We are working with other growers, gardeners, ranchers and artists of all persuasions 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 and artistic experience.
PRINCIPLE #5 – The Necessity of Solitude
We believe in time to work alone. Observing, reflecting, creating, experimenting are verbs that require time and solitude. The creative process is intensely personal. Students will have time to pause between inhaling information and experience, and then exhaling individual expression. Encouraging dynamic solitude is part of the curriculum.
PRINCIPLE #6 – The Power of Community & Collective Wisdom
We believe in the power of community and collective wisdom. (We are also equally aware of the trap of collective folly) Pen & Plow participants will have the opportunity to attend local garden clubs (Vernon, Pinedale, & Gardeners with Altitude) and local growers meetings (NAZ Food Groups), as well as participate in community garden activities (White Mountain Community Garden & Master Gardeners) as a part of their community experience. We also continually look for opportunities to work with and learn from residents on the four reservations in our region. 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.”
PRINCIPLE #7 – Wisdom Put to Practice
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, the elders within our own communities, and local artists. 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, learn about yourself. A thread of Zen must run through every tapestry of change, no matter how concrete the goal.