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Echinacea Flower

GrowFoodMakeArt.com  is a space to inspire and encourage sustainable, planet friendly, organic gardening and it’s a peek into an eclectic artist’s work. I want share what I’ve learned in the past four years since starting my own gardens, fruit tree guilds and edible food forest in ways that are fun and helpful.

I did away with a weedy backyard lawn and started an orchard in a pasture that had couple of apple trees that had long been neglected. I did this in a four season climate, which I was not used to gardening in, and I discovered I was surrounded by LOTS of hungry critters. So far, through my gardening experiments, which are an ongoing string of successes and failures, I’ve gained insights both on my own based on lots of reading, attending workshops on permaculture gardening practices and the UC Master Gardener training and from local friends, permaculturists, landscape designers, homesteaders and arborists.

Now I’m feeling overwhelmed with knowledge and in need of an outlet where I can share “garden tips I wish someone had told me”.  So as natural as propagating plants, and in today’s social landscape, I find myself whisked away and planted in front of my computer blogging about water harvesting, creative composting (including kelp, worms, and chicken poop) edible landscaping, permaculture, seed saving, methods of food preservation, starting a garden from the ground up, soil type identification, IPM (integrated pest management) and living a sustainable lifestyle.

When my hands aren’t busy gardening I feed the visual artist in me through drawing, painting, photography, and my newest explorations of stained glass and mosaic. I’m currently looking for more hours in the day to do more of all the things I love to do.

I’m hoping that you will be inspired by to create organic, sustainable gardens that produce food that is nutritious, tastes incredibly good, and is super fun to grow. Gardening and creating art grounds me and feeds me on so many levels. It is a state, a way of existing, that I wish to encourage everyone to explore.

August 19, 2013

I asked for suggestions from readers and one of them was that I add more information about GreenOwl Farm and Orchards and that I give additional background information about myself, so for those who are interested, here it is.

Mary Prentice creator of growfoodmakeart.com

Mary Prentice

More about GreenOwl Farm and Orchards and Mary Prentice –

In 2009 my husband I bought 4.5 acres and started GreenOwl. GreenOwl is a work in progress that is a permaculture farm in Julian, CA. After I started GreenOwl I realized that I needed to know a lot more about the basics of growing plants so I applied to and was lucky enough to get into the San Diego Master Gardener Certification program. In June 2012 I completed Certification as a Master Gardener through the University of California Cooperative Extension. I still don’t know all the answers to how to grow things but I do know where to find answers now! I’m currently a member of the Farm to School Advisory Board for Julian Elementary School and I’ve organized, hosted and taught classes in permaculture gardening and on planting of fruit tree guilds. My aim is to garden both as sustainably and organically as possible.

Gardening Projects at GreenOwl include:

  • Continuing on the path of creating a teaching farm, offering Permaculture classes, edible landscaping workshops, sustainable life style inspiration, basic organic gardening practices and food preservation techniques
  • Planting fruit tree guilds which I hope which will one day merge into one big food forest
  • Grow, collect and save heirloom and open pollinated seeds
  • Grow herbs for culinary and healing purposes
  • Food preservation using techniques such as dehydration, canning, freezing and fermentation
  • Raise healthy free range chickens
  • Preserve habitat for native plants and wildlife
  • Look for more ways to conserve water usage by installing and building more water harvesting features at GreenOwl
  • Experiment with building different kinds of garden beds including raised beds, sunken beds and hugelkultur beds
  • We have solar hot water heating and I would like to install solar power to power the whole property

A word about the Sustainable Art Projects ongoing at GreenOwl –

I use re-cycled, re-purposed, re-used and re-purchased art supplies. Examples of this are the stained glass butterflies I posted photos of were made with re-used glass I purchased off of Craig’s list. The photos I print are on photo paper I’ve pick up at thrift stores and the mosaics and stained glass windows are created from glass and lead that I either bought from a stained glass artist who stopped doing attained glass or a friend who bought lead years ago and now sells it to me out of her garage when I need it. My aim is to create art from what I have.

Ongoing art projects include:

  • Photography documenting the growth of GreenOwl projects
  • Taking photos of the plants and animals that live on the property
  • Painting
  • Mosaic
  • Stained Glass

My formal education was in graphic design and illustration at Art Center college of Design and California State University at Northridge.

Before life in the back country, I taught students ages 2 through 6 in a Montessori school which I co-owned in upstate New York. Our school combined Montessori with the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.  Prior to the school in New York I taught for over 20 years in private schools, including the Oak Grove School in Ojai, California. I also taught afterschool art class years to ages 3 through high school for 10 yrs both in Ojai and in San Diego, California.

At GrowFoodMakeArt.com I am attempting to pull it all together. Teaching, sharing, and learning along with people who are interested in a topic I’m passionate about and creating art, right now, for me, that’s what it’s all about!


6 Thoughts on “ABOUT

  1. Mary, I am going to LOVE reading this. So glad you’re committing to it, in the midst of all of your wonderful projects, so that we can all learn along with you. Is there a way for you to add a “like” button and a comment box to each individual post? If so, I’d do it so folks can respond to particular postings.

    Good work! Love the header!

  2. Very nice Mary!
    Gardening and Art are naturals! Having your blog about the unusual micro-climate that we are here in these parts is very helpful. We’re a bit different where we are but certainly closer then most other resources that I can find. So your information is great for me. I am in year three of a neglected orchard and garden. I am seeing great improvement this year and have high hopes for the coming years. I will be applying for the Master Gardner class this year so please cross your fingers for me there. It is exciting to see things grow and I look forward to following your journey!
    peace, Coko

    • Thanks Coco! Yes, gardening and art are a naturals to pair together, especially the way I do both… organically and very few straight lines! It’s great that your place is coming around. It seems to take a lot of attention and patience another thing gardening has in common with art. The Master Gardener program was a big commitment spending one day a week every week for 6 months in San Diego but it was well worth it.

  3. Congrats, Mary! It looks so cool. I will def be back to like and comment. Big Love, Matt

    • Thanks Matt. I would love any suggestions to make things more relevant to east coasters like yourself. Suggestions from you and Tara would be most welcome!

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