Sustainable Land Management, Herb Farmer, Teacher, Food Forestry, Goodness Tea, Northwest Permaculture Convergence
Pro Planet People: Who are you and what do you do, where do you do it, how do you do it?
Shaelee: I am Shaelee, an herb-farmer, mother, teacher and adventur-er from The Olympic Peninsula, in NW Washington State. I have made a business of crafting herbal teas from plants that thrive in this region, and help us thrive too! I am working on amassing the equipment and organizational capacity to source at least 77% of my raw materials from the Olympic Peninsula. Goodness Tea is creating flexible jobs that teach stewardship, resilience, and plant-medicine as by-products of how we do work.
Since about 2004 I have been landscaping, maintaining gardens and orchards around the peninsula, studying natural resource management at the local college. I still do this too, weaving it around my farm, teaching my children and managing my work. There is some righteous stacking-of-functions in the notion of managing estates as food forests, then harvesting and processing the abundance into teas and fruit-leathers, rather than pruning for aesthetic and watching it all compost.
PPP: What would you would like people to know about in terms of sustainability, permaculture, water management, energy or whatever topic you would like to show/teach?
Shaelee: There is so much power in our choice. We decide what to put in our bodies, and what to spend money on. We ratify the reality that brought that product into existence. Does it represent the type of job you want?
When it comes to food and drink, I like to think of everything as the components my cells are made of. What I feed my self limits or adds to my capacity to heal my body and nourish my mind and nervous system. Am I purchasing something made in a factory and wrapped in plastic? I could very well be paying to poison my body and my conscience. Some foods make feel great though, like the lettuce from River Run Farm or carrots from Nash’s Organic Produce. I can live on that and feel like a million bucks all the time. I encourage you all to pay attention to how you feel when you consume. Food and otherwise. Keep choosing only what feels great! Peace as a guiding light will lead us to a sustainable future.
PPP: What is your favorite project that you want to share that you had a hand in?
Shaelee: I have supported the Clallam County Gleaning effort since its inception. Its now organized through WSU (WA State University) and Americor, harvesting over 50,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables from our community, for families, students and the elderly. I also was a part of an experimental forestry project of Dr.Dan Underwood at Peninsula College. We were assessing the impact on the understory flora of a novel management plan for Northwests forests that would use diverse thinning prescriptions over the landscape to create conditions similar to old growth forests over a short period of time.
PPP: What is your philosophy on life with reference to the interconnectedness of nature, humans and the creatures?
Shaelee: I believe that all tangible manifestations of life, nature, and reality are visual manifestations of the Divine Voice. It is like we are all frequencies, or individual voices that have an opportunity to be harmonious or dissonant with the Eternal Song that underlies and upholds all. I hope that we grow to see the importance of a full choir, and work to support the health and joy of our companions.
PPP: The Future! Can you paint a picture of the future if we all worked together using permaculture, sustainability, regenerative practices, and…?
Shaelee: I do see a bright future. Even now research is proving collaboration and kindness are culturally sustainable, that plants heal, and that we must account for what we produce. There is a generation of children who are climbing trees, eating from gardens and riding bikes or hiking in the hills. Those who want to live in peace everywhere are turning back to gardening for good eating and leisure times based in the wildness. This cultural shift brings people together, it encourages independence and diversity while generating an abundance of good things, like food, music, fellowship.
I see a land where people garden and dance, they sing and play music, sail ships and climb mountains. Tending garden, food-forest and field, they share the abundance of the land and sea with each other. I see this all around me at the farmer’s markets and on the trail, at festivals and in a glance across the water as we bob on watercraft before sunset. I see it in children’s bouquets and wild berry bushes. I see in the the explosion of permaculture awareness. Society is looking for a better model. And we are following the bushwhackers, paving the way with wildflowers, and marking the springs.
PPP: Give some advice for people on how to get started, why you got started, reflect on how your personal experiences got you where you are today.
Shaelee: I started teaching as a volunteer presenter about subjects I loved. Only teach on what you really know and have experience with! For business, I suggest committing to pitching and refining your work through a farmers market booth for one season. Either before or right when you launch. It is low cost, can be done for profit or simply as a marketing/information booth and is an invaluable tool to connect with real people and refine the value of what you offer. It also makes it possible to trade things like tea for lettuce or cookies for chorizo! I love it!!
PPP: Can you recommend and local resources to check out?
Clallam County Gleaning Effort
Olympic Peninsula Healthy Communities Coalition
Friends of the Trees Society puts on a lot of awesome events on the peninsula.
PPP: Thank you!
Shaelee Evans Bio:
Shaelee Evans began studying permaculture in 2005 and implementing practices on her 1 acre urban farm in NW Washington. She studied Sustainable Gardening through the WA State Nursery and Landscaping Association (CPH cert in 2003), and Natural Resource Management at Peninsula College, graduating with an AS in 2006; as well as Applied Management, BS in 2018.
She has been known to teach workshops on food-forestry, wild plants, art, cooking, dance and sustainable land management, and lovingly tends a few orchard-gardens on the Olympic Peninsula, as well as her 4-acre farm. Presently, Shaelee is focusing on the farm and Goodness Tea, a company she founded in 2008, integrating her business and the homeschooling of her three children, in total permacutlure style. Tooling life to thrive in the Pacific Northwest.
Spring guest lectures at Peninsula College – www.pencol.edu
Educator at Olympic Peninsula Home Connection – www.crescentschooldistrict.org/ophc_home_school
Northwest Permaculture Convergence, since 2016, presently president. – www.northwestpermaculture.org
Fusion Inclusion Dance Project, since 2017 – www.fusioninclusion.org
Goodness Tea, founded in 2008 – www.GoodnessTEA.com
Integrated Earth Sustainable Horticulture. Loving Olympic Gardens since 2004
How many years have you been involved in sustainability?
I have been passionate about sustainability my whole life…I’m a child of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle era! In the last 10 years the main intention of my work and life has been to walk my talk, cultivating a more caring world that we can all thrive in.
Olympia, Washington, United States
Check out her Pro Planet People Profile