This week’s show is with Arthur Haines, who describes himself as a forager, ancestral skills mentor, author, public speaker and botanical researcher… but that’s just because he’s so humble! In reality, he’s an oracle of deep knowledge and understanding of the natural world. He’s been helping people explore human ecology for over 20 years, with the mission of developing deep awareness of and connection to nature, promoting individual health, and fostering self-reliance. If understanding botany was a super-power (and it probably is), Arthur is a true super hero!
He grew up in the western mountains of Maine, a rural area that was home to swift streams known for their trout fishing. He spent most of his childhood in the Sandy River Valley hiking, tracking, and foraging.
Arthur now runs the Delta Institute of Natural History in Canton, Maine, where he teaches human ecology, focusing on the values of foraging, wildcrafting medicine, and primitive living skills. He continues to spend a great deal of his free time practicing his skills as a modern hunter-gatherer. As a research botanist for the New England Wildflower Society, he recently completed a comprehensive flora of the New England region entitled “Flora Novae Angliae” and has authored over twenty publications in peer-reviewed journals and books, including naming species of plants new to science. His series of YouTube videos has inspired thousands of people interested in foraging wild edible and medicinal plants.
In this conversation, we spoke about the importance of community – another of Arthur’s passions and areas of deep knowledge… Arthur explains what he means when he talks about ‘community’ (and it might be a little different to your definition), why being part of a community is in accordance with our evolutionary expectations, and how these days most of us lack community (as Arthur said in this show ‘Almost everything about the current structure of society stands in stark contradiction to how we lived as people prior to the agricultural revolution.’), and what the issues with that are.
We ended on a positive note with Arthur’s practical suggestions of how we can all create community in today’s modern world.
I’d love to know what YOU think about this week’s show. Let’s carry on the conversation… please leave a comment below.
What you’ll learn from this episode:
- Human’s real need for community sits alongside other aspects that we understand are critical to human health that have been formed by our evolutionary history, such as food and movement. The issues of going it alone include conditions that are considered the norm in modern culture such as anxiety, depression, shame, struggles and stresses.
- Arthur defines community as ‘place and commons’. In indigenous communities, everyone held the land in common, they all have common landscape that they get to feed themselves from, heal themselves from, and get to connect to that place that they share with all of the members of their community.
- True communities are bound by a cohesion created by a common needs and is exemplified by real equality and wealth distribution, such as indirect reciprocal gift economy. Everyone is in it together and no-one gets to step outside the stresses that the community is experiencing.
- We are typically held back from creating real community because of our attachment to convenience and comfort – we are used to privacy and doing what we want when we want. We can take baby steps in this direction by keep our communities small enough so we can know every member deeply, have a connection to our common place, and no hierarchy: everyone is equal, no matter their age or ability.
Resources and stuff that we spoke about
Thank you for listening!
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Lian & Jonathan