5 Questions for Garden Club Instructor Sami Graf


1.    Tell us a little bit about Feral Folk Farm and what you do there:  We are a small farm growing medicinal herbs, cut flowers and food. The aim is to tend the land we live on with love and respect. Making sure to always consider the needs of the plants and creatures that live here with each decision we make. Our goal is to cultivate a beautiful space for the plants, animals and people that live here and visit our farm. Always making sure to leave some space for the wild feral magic of the natural world.

 2.    Have you undergone any specific kinds of training, mentorship, or educational philosophies that have influenced your approach to herbalism and farming?  I like working hard and learning new things, it’s what gets me up in the morning. I have taken numerous classes over the years in a pretty wide variety of subjects. I’ve done permaculture trainings, bee tending mentorships, and natural building workshops most recently. But most of the really important things I’ve learned have come from spending time in the garden season after season.

 3.    In addition to being a gardener, you are also an herbalist, artist and a beekeeper. Can you tell us about how these practices feed each other?  I’ve been gardening since childhood and that love of plants lead me to herbalism. I find that growing the herbs teaches me so much about the plants themselves. Seeing bees enjoying the garden led me to working with them. And making art has always been a way to integrate the things I learn. Taking the invisible, messy thoughts and transmuting them into something physical with my hands is just part of my learning process. I think it’s that thread of merging the physical with the invisible that weaves all the things I love together. There’s something about the physical work done with our hands merging with the invisible that alchemizes into something that feels like real magic. Whether I’m opening up a hive full of bees, planting out seedlings in the garden, or working on an art project there is always this interplay between the act of working with my hands, heart and mind all at once. And when I slow down these tasks become small devotional rituals which is what I really love. 

 4.    Why do you think learning about gardening and farming is important, and what do you hope participants will gain from joining the Garden Club?  I think it is so important to spend time with the living plants that can help heal us. In my own life I’ve found that spending time with the plants is often more healing than any tincture I could take. Being outside over the seasons and cycles of a garden can teach you so much. Not just about growing and tending plants, but about who you are as a person. I hope that being a part of Garden club gives students an opportunity to visit gardens thought out the seasons, seeing the plants in their different lifecycles. Learning the natural rhythms of growing, tending, harvesting and incorporating them into their own lives. 

5. What plants are you particularly excited about planting this season?  I have had a love affair with poppy for the past few years. Last year I grew two huge beds of Corn poppy and Bread seed poppy. This year I have been learning more about Iceland poppy which is much tricker to start from seed. And I love a good challenge so that’s been fun.

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