Our Story | SustenanceNW

Our community began to grow life back in early 2018 with a handful of local permaculture gardening classes… but before we go further you need to know a little secret.

Bill Mollison famously said that “permaculture is revolution disguised as organic gardening”, and that’s the kind of gardening we study and practice.

And revolution is also the kind of herbalism we practice! And it is the kind of innate medicine we work, and it is the way we plan for the unknowns our futures have. The way we live now is shockingly inhumane, and we can do so much better. We have to do better.

This secret revolution has two pieces:

First, we focus on learning skills with serious leverage. These are skills that transform how we see our role in the world, because they are skills that can transform how we live. Taking these journeys together is the flesh and bone of the Transformative Adventures approach we take. We have knowledge hidden in our bones earned over the countless lives of our ancestors, so there is a ton of low-hanging fruit for us to rediscover as we search for better ways to live.

The second piece of our quiet revolution is the heart of community: we are dedicated to learning how to live in supportive community. What this means is that as our personal skills grow, we can increasingly work together to meet our needs. And even deeper, as our experience grows we begin to possess sparks and flashes of cultural knowledge: things we hold and know together because of our shared stories, things that we keep alive because we have them together.

When the pandemic hit, Jason Padvorac moved all his classes online. (That’s me writing this, by the way. Hello from your friendly local community organizer and host!).

Like so many groups, this led us to a series of experiments as we tried to figure out how to Zoom such deeply embodied work as gardening and herbalism. Long story short, we found that gathering online allowed us a flexibility and savings on transportation that was a gamechanger… but not at all a substitute for gathering in person together.

As things started to open up again, we returned to having some in-person gatherings, and WOW was it nice to come together again!

We have a lot to learn, but going on 4 years now and after the last few crazy years we have more and more cylinders firing now. We’re in the middle of restructuring our programming to incorporate all the lessons we’ve learned so far, and are going with a mix of Zoom discussion sessions, along with monthly gatherings featuring potluck meals, gifting plants, sharing medicines and making things and tending the land. Together.

What’s next?

Well, for one thing you can learn about membership and consider joining us.

We are in the first steps of formally organizing some things that we’ve been doing informally. We’re going to have a distributed nursery, so we can get each other’s gardens decked out with the best performing, most valuable plants. And to make sure that we always have access to the medicines we use the most, we are starting a group medicine share apothecary.

In the big picture, what’s next is revolution. A peaceful, secret one, one that you would never realize was a revolution unless you slowed down enough to see it unfold over the years. A revolution that looks like a garden buzzing with bees and mason jars with homegrown tea in the cupboard, and the smiling faces of good friends and shared stories.

A revolution that looks like a path worn in the garden where the children go next door to play.

About your organizer

Hi, my name is Jason Padvorac! I’m the founder and host of this space, and on behalf of all of us here I want to warmly invite you to join us. You can reach me at (206) 355-1256 or [email protected].

In case you’re wondering who I am: I’m a husband and father, I dearly love humanity and the creator, and I really like learning stuff, and teaching stuff.

All kinds of stuff!

In college I studied Biomedical Engineering and did original scientific work in three different labs, researching virology, water, and diagnostic instrumentation. I’ve been trained to function as a Wilderness EMT and a Medical Person in Charge, and to perform basic dental care. I’ve done humanitarian medical aid work in crazy places, under crazy circumstances.

Science is a lifelong love of mine, but I also find myself drawn to older traditions and the paradoxically simpler yet more sophisticated work of caring for ecosystems as gardens, working with herbs, and foraging. I earned my Permaculture Design Certificate under my dear mentor Mike Hoag.

I teach karate, and just started learning jujitsu. I’m always looking for another white belt to put on, figuratively and literally.

I have been an enthusiastic home herbalist for years, and now study under a Salish healer and other mentors. I am pursuing certification with The Human Path school as an Herbal Medic, and continue to scour scientific and traditional literature to experiment and discover and learn.

Speaking of learning… I have so, so much to learn! One of my favorite things about community organizing and teaching is how much I learn every time we gather - I especially love when someone teaches me something I thought I knew, but didn’t. We have an open culture in this group, and beginners and highly experienced old hands alike generously share what we know, and we grow together.

If there’s one word I hope you take away from this, it is together. You, me, the rest of us.

Life works better when we live it together.

©2022  SustenanceNW.com. A Transformative Adventures program

Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for treating or diagnosing any medical condition, and is only shared for educational purposes.