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Symbiosis

As we all prepare our gardens for spring planting, we have a great opportunity to see exactly how believing in abundance works in the natural world. Indigenous people on the lands we now call the United States have watched the miracle of abundance, reciprocity and "allowing" play out every year in the legend and the planting and harvesting of The Three Sisters: Corn, Beans and Squash.



The Legend of the Three Sisters says that there were three sisters who lived in a field, very different from each other, yet thoroughly devoted to and equally dependent on one another, each sister giving and taking equally from the other two. Because of their cooperation, they created a perfect system, where each could grow to meet her own potential, healthy, safe and strong.


As with all legends, there is a foundation of truth and wisdom at its root. The corn stalk sister creates a structure to support the bean sister as she grows; the bean sister sends valuable nitrogen into the soil, providing sustenance for two other sisters; and the squash sister sends out multiple sticky vines that protect everyone from greedy critters and blanket the soil in a moisture-saving groundcover.


The Legend is one way to see regenerative agriculture, kin to organic farming, but not synonymous. Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming where plants and animals work together for the betterment of the whole, lessening any need for chemicals and extensive tillage.


This idea of a self-supporting system that sustains both the land and a healthy human diet goes back a long ways. The Legend of the Three Sisters was around centuries before a pilgrim set foot on the Americas.


You can read about the Legend of the Three Sisters, learn about the Iroquois White Corn Project—a mission to save the heirloom white corn seed, which is a major part of their heritage and an important part of Indigenous People’s diet--and even support the Project, if you so choose.


But closer to home, you can plant your garden within the context of loving what you have and knowing that there is enough to share.

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