My heart is sending out messages, alive and buzzing. I feel anxious, excited, and overwhelmed. I feel opened up and awakened. So many things have shifted and changed. This also brings fear; I’m choosing to move towards it and it is exhilarating and fulfilling to finally be doing so. I feel extraordinarily calm and present in the new environments and social situations I have brought myself into.
I have so much to share as to where my head is at and all that I’ve encountered (new knowledge, beautiful people, self discoveries) but I will keep things somewhat simple for now to establish how this all started before my cascade of sharing begins.
I’ve chosen to pursue an alternative nutrition program for the year (a certification in sustainable health and nutrition) from The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition held at Holcomb Farm in West Granby, CT. I’m going to describe my experience thus far but you can learn more here: http://tiosn.com/
A series of serendipitous opportunities & connections brought me to the institute. I attended an open house on a whim & with no intention or interest. I left feeling inspired and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Prior to enrolling at this institute, I narrowed my options down to a certification program and an MS (which will perhaps be discussed again in detail & up for further review at the end of my experience). None of the options I had researched inside and out set a spark in me. I was stuck in no man’s land, paralyzed with indecision. Upon graduating UConn, I was fervent about pursuing opportunities that furthered my self exploration and supported my interests in this food/holistic health field, hoping that would lead me to taking a step that would put me in a challenging and future-building place. I realize now perhaps I’ve been dancing around that. Choosing the TIOSN program is my first jump forward into that place, and it’s an unfamiliar one. I think I was enjoying the feeling safety of my indecision. With this I’m taking that away and granting myself expansion.
This program meets one weekend a month and is designed for a small group (this year it’s all women) to compliment the experiential, hands on components. The nutrition science (instructor Alison Birks), plant medicine (Joan Palmer), culinary/food education (Terry Walters) and plant/soil education (taught by Nigel whom I refer to in the title-he truly know “what’s happening” at every level i.e. planets, stars, local birds…)is integrated throughout each weekend. We will be in the classroom, cooking, making different herbal tinctures and extractions, and working in the garden. A example as to how this works would be how we will learn about the significance of probiotics for digestive health in a lecture, then go out to the kitchen to learn how to make different ferments. I will be studying a vegetable and herb to study in depth, will grow it and write a paper on my experiences with it. At the end I’ll present a capstone project as how I plan to utilize my education.
I have learned more in one weekend than I know I would have ever been able to acquire through self study. Topics included an indepth look at the plant model (analyzing air/sun/energy flows/ biology of soil), to truly organic gardening (mineralization methods), to plant medicine and wild edible identification. The energy and passion of my teachers is what I’m also grateful for and it is even more reinforcing to see that the way these individuals teach is how they live their lives.
The community feel that I was desiring and lacking in all my other schooling options is alive and well here. I know I will learn so much from my classmates just as I will the instructors (who are all lovely & extremely valuable resources). There is so much variety in life experiences here yet we are all tied by common interests which is so revitalizing to be around. It was gratifying to be present for everyone’s story at the opening dinner. I loved hearing what brought the other women to the school; gut feeling & intuition was brought up at almost every turn. I knew I was in the right place when those two words came up time and time again.
I am infatuated with the synergy of everything at the school. I look forward to what I will learn for and about myself, therefore expanding the capacity of the service that I can bring to others. The big idea I’ve taken away thus far is that for change and nutrition shifts to be sustainable, we must also not be in a place of depletion. This is also reflected in the health of our soil, plants & food. Plant health = our health.
It also doesn’t hurt that Holcomb Farm is beautiful. It is surrounded by so much goodness. I’ll be learning to forage and hopefully identify lots of local botany. So much newness. Feeling full.