In this episode, I speak with Steven Elliot Martyn, author of ‘Sacred Gardening: Seeds for the Reemergence of Co-Creative Agriculture’ and ‘The Story of the Madawaska Forest Garden: Co-creating Integrated Polyculture’ and co-creator of the Sacred Gardener Earth Wisdom School.
In this discussion, I ask Steven to expound on his journey of becoming a “sacred gardener,” which has included years of deep intellectual and spiritual introspection and experimentation with agricultural production, gardening, and foraging — a journey that has led to him to a recognition of the roots of our dominant culture’s profound disconnection from the sacred roots of agriculture and land use. On this path of exploration (fleshed out more fully in ’The Story of Madawaska Forest Garden’ and ‘Sacred Gardening’), Steven has cultivated an intuitive and deeply expressed capacity of being able to truly listen to the spirit(s) of the land and the living beings that reside there, having gained superb insights into how to reacquaint our culture with our sacred roots of participation and co-creative relationship with the living Earth. Steven’s development of this intuitive knowledge has manifested into something that is altogether missing in much of the dominant culture’s conception of land use and agricultural production in the modern age (a culmination of our culture’s obsession with logic, or as Steven has called it, the “cult of Reason”). In this interview, Steven refutes the idea that the development of agriculture in human societies is the result of a “wrong turn” in our development as a species (a primitivist assertion), and instead asserts that the roots of agricultural land use is rooted in our intuitive, sacred, and co-creative capacities as cultural beings with the living Earth, and that deprograming ourselves from the overly-reductionist approach to land use is essential in reclaiming our right role within the broad matrix of life, both on the local and global scale.
Steven Martyn (M.A. in traditional plant use, B.F.A. honours) is an artist, farmer, wildcrafter, builder, teacher, writer, and visionary. Steven has more than thirty years experience living co-creatively with the Earth practicing traditional living skills of growing food, building and healing. Steven created Livingstone & Greenbloom in 1986, Toronto’s first green landscaping company. In 1996, he created the Algonquin Tea Company, North America’s premiere bioregional tea company. He has given talks and workshops internationally for more than twenty years and taught plant identification and wilderness skills at Algonquin college for 11 years, and at the Orphan Wisdom School for 8 years. In 2014, Spencer and his wife Megan started the Sacred Gardener Earth Wisdom School. Steven released his first book, The Story of the Madawaska Forest Garden in 2016, and his second Sacred Gardening in June 2017.
- Learn more about Steven and the Sacred Gardener Earth Wisdom School: https://thesacredgardener.ca
- The song featured in this episode is “Miguk'asha” by Eijra Woon from the album Fae: https://eijrawoon.bandcamp.com