With the recent destruction of the Santa Barbara Cave fire with over 4200 acres burning and 0% containment in the wake of trauma from wildfire destruction throughout the state of California, Californians are left to look to our past to move forward. For thousands of years tribes throughout the state used intentional burns to renew cultural resources, create habitats, and reduce the risk of larger wildfires. Under desperate circumstances, California lawmakers look to indiginous practices of light burning to prevent future fires.
For decades laws have suppressed using fire as a preventative solution for larger forest fires, now California is looking to local tribes to assist in the effort to prevent larger fires. Native people believe that the land is a renewing resource and believe that frequent small fires maintain oak tree health, clear prairie habitats, and prepares for drought tolerance. According to ‘Fire As Medicine’ from the Guardian “In 2015, Robbins, Lake, Tripp and other indigenous fire practitioners began collaborating on a strategy to bring back native practices. Together they authored a “healthy country plan”, laying out the ramifications of fire exclusion and a path to returning indigenous burning to Karuk, Hupa and Yurok land in order to renew and maintain cultural resources, create sustainable economic opportunity, and make the land more resilient in the face of the climate crisis. That work has grown into the Indigenous Peoples Burn Network.” The idea of this healthy country plan is to bring back the health of the land, which the Yurok believe cannot be had without the use of fire as medicine. Margo Robbins, Yurok tribe member and co-lead and advisor of the Indigenous People’s Burn Network stated, “When our land is healthy, and our spiritual and cultural connection to our land is healthy, then we, as a people, will be healthy again.” Thoughtful, intentional light fires could be a solution to the larger destructive fires.
Although it remains illegal to intentionally set fires without Fire Department oversight, lawmakers are learning to embrace tribal practices. Tribes do not believe that light-burning is a solution for the climate crisis, but they do believe that it is one part of the process. They believe that fire is medicine for the land and greater habitats, and lawmakers are beginning to see the benefits to the thousands of years of experience that they bring to protecting our land.
This October prepare for spring by planting bulbs and winter crops. Now is the time to dig up bulbs and perennial flowers to prepare for superior growth. Place bulbs in a paper or mesh bag in the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks, storing them away from apples to prevent early sprouting. Bulbs should be planted once temperatures have cooled down, late October or early November here in the Bay Area. Be sure to plant them in full sun in an area with good drainage. Plant them three times deeper than your bulb is tall with the pointy side up. Organic compost placed inside planting holes ensures good blooming. Now is also a great time to plant winter crops! The Bay Area, California has the perfect autumn climate to plant winter crops such as onions, garlic, broccoli, carrots, spinach, beets, chard, and lettuce. You need less space for your winter garden and can plant seedlings closer together to prevent erosion from rainfall.
This fall Living Classroom's first grade students will plant winter vegetables while learning about photosynthesis in a lesson called "Powerful Plants". Students will plant their own seedling and will measure the growth during planting and throughout the seedling's growth to harvest. The children will harvest these vegetables during their winter "Growing Vegetable Soup" lesson. During this lesson they will make a delicious soup with the vegetables that they harvested from their own vegetable garden!
Want to see what we do where we do it? Please join our Garden Tour on Wednesday, Oct 30, at 1pm at Landels School to see our "Powerful Plants" lesson in action.
Space is limited, so please sign up at email@example.com