The EcoGrrl Interview: Susan


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Susan is one of the most interesting people I’ve met in a long time.  She is a software engineer who I hired last year for a former client, and through getting to know her, I’ve just loved how much she had to share, how she lives her life just how she wants, and hearing about the places she’s been, people she’s met, and more.  So I’m thrilled that she agreed to be one of my interviewees!  Read on…

What or who inspires you most? Michael Pollan & his UC campus/community- wide connection.

What do you turn to when you need strength? Mountains, oceans, wind surfing, meditation, yoga, dance.

How can women best support and/or empower other women? Listen to each other, be together.

What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? Basil, Oregano, Mint, Lemon balm. Someday, a peach orchard, squash and garlic. Sustainable/permaculture.

What are your creative outlets?  Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t? Drawing, water color, Bach on cello and piano. Coming up – mushroom farming; farmers markets, Salt Spring Island, Japanese architecture & solar living.

In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element? Mountain wilderness ~8000 feet.

Who are your top three nonprofits you support and/or volunteer with and why?

  1. Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA – for the depth of knowing and not knowing.

  2. The Edible School Yard Project, Berkeley, CA – so that children know how to grow and be well.

  3. Urban Farm School, Asheville, NC – to make permaculture the every day.

What recent “green” change have you made in your own life?  What’s next? Vote with fork – food from scratch/beyond organic, no packaging: democratize the food bill.

Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary?  Why?  Mt. Shasta: The Air is Rare. It’s wild.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Listen, be open, find a friend who farms and ask to help out. Explore. Take care of a goat, a frog or a dog.  Ride a horse on a trail in the woods. Learn to recognize the truth. Seek kindred spirits, ask questions and be cheerful for no reason. You’ll know a new secret by the end of every day, look forward to dawn and dusk.

How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? Vote with your fork to boycott industrial food, change the farm bill to subsidize local small scale permaculture grass farming, form communities around that as well as art  & healing the healing arts.

What sparked your interest in environmental issues?   What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? After reading Frances Moore Lappe’s ‘Diet for a Small Planet’ I took it to heart, realized I could be happier healthier eating only veggies in the right mix, making that my everyday, and wound up in excellent health with tons of energy.

How do you live simply? Know a watershed, husband a forest, provide trades for jobs and housing for others when possible.  Eat mostly raw foods + steamed, wear comfortable clothes that last, not many, drive little, mostly walk, read everything, meet with old friends & new, meditate at dawn to stay aware of  hopes and fears and maintain a yoga regimen dusk. If we listened forever there would still be so much more to hear.

Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours? “In the Beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”  ~Shunryu Suzuki


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