Woody owned a 100-acre farm in Kentucky before he was out of graduate school-–long before he even knew how to garden, a measure of his deep attraction to land work. Over the course of the next four decades he’s been in charge of 16 more farm/garden initiatives, from Minnesota to Arizona, from family gardens to a CSA feeding 100 families.
All these gardens have been learning experiences and now his major project is writing a book, Deep Gardening: Soul Lessons from 17 Gardens.
Between gardens and farms Woody worked as a psychologist/counselor in community mental health facilities and as a teacher of so-called mentally handicapped people; some of this work was in three communities: Camphill Villages in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, and the Claymont School for Continuous Education, where he gardened and studied the agricultural and spiritual works of Rudolf Steiner and George Gurdjieff. In these communities Woody came to know the joys of working with chickens, pigs and cows, and the magic available to the gardener in greenhouses.
Always for Woody the question has been how to accomplish right livelihood in Nature, how to grow food, in beauty and abundance, all with grace and in harmony with Devas and Nature Spirits.
“Progressively,” Woody says, “we have dealt in lighter and lighter produce, going from weighty bushels of tomatoes to lightweight seeds to information, which doesn’t weigh anything. Nor does inspiration which we try to put first. Inspire, motivate, then inform. We teach about compost, seed saving, soil, food, and Nature. First we have to learn to be gardeners, then we can do gardening.”