Hello everyone! I’m Kelly, one of the new interns here at Songaia. I’m originally from Kentucky but went to the University of Alabama for my degree in Advertising & Public Relations. After that, I moved to Los Angeles for several years before deciding to move back to Kentucky.
After a decade working in marketing, I still found myself looking for a career I truly enjoyed. I’m a big animal person and also worked as a dog trainer for several years, and I still consider that my ‘side’ career and greatest hobby. I realized my passion is in how nutrition and health work together and decided to go back to school for a degree in dietetics. So, after graduating from the University of Kentucky last fall, I applied to the Garden to Table Nutrition internship in hopes of becoming a registered dietitian. My passion lies in childhood obesity prevention and I hope to work in the community to encourage healthy eating habits and educate disease prevention among people of all ages.
I’m thrilled to be a part of the Songaia team because there’s so much here to learn! I grew up on a farm but seemed to drift away from that life as I got older and my dad retired. I want to educate the public where our food comes from and how food nourishes our bodies. I believe food is medicine and disease prevention and I’m excited to learn the process from planting to harvesting to cooking.
I’ve also never been to the PNW so I’m really looking forward to exploring this beautiful area!
Thanks for reading!
My given name at Songaia is Lucas Brightwater. I am a resident intern for the 2019 season at Songaia. Please note that my legal name is Brian Steyer in case there is some confusion.
Bio: I grew up on Bainbridge Island, WA. Growing up I traveled to China and lived Japan which were the coming of age experiences where I felt my identity and voice where shaped as a young person.
During my last semester of college at the Univiersity of Washington, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. This radically changed my life - diet, career, and life path that I could reasonably pursue. It is greatest teacher and highest mountain I've had to climb to take back control of my life. It's been a long journey, but now I live a healthy and active life where about 90% of my symptoms stay in remission during my day-to-day life here at Songaia.
For myself, I feel that the Taoist approach to health most closely mirrors the principles of regeneration and synchronicity that is also present in permaculture and mycology. Returning the earth or my own vital energy back to an original state of health before the trauma or disease was able to take hold.
Coincidentally, the best Qi gong school I could find in the Seatte location is also located in Bothell. I started practicing Qi gong here in 2014 when it became clear that I needed a better form of self care to heal from the lasting trauma that had occurred when I was really sick. The Qi Gong school I am most active with is called IQIM (https://www.iqim.org/ ). They offer training to health care practitioners at Bastyr to release any extra energy from their clients. My mentors have in this school have healed themselves from lupus and lymes disease, so I had a model of individuals that had taken this journey themselves. Currently they are doing scientific studies to show that you can permanently reverse diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) by empowering the pancreas to become more sensitive to insulin.
During this past year I have also learned some computer programming doing front-end web development as a practical way to make an income. My long-term vocational goals would be to find cool heart-centered projects where I could help build website or software applications.
Over the long-term I would also like to focus more on creating an educational curriculum for mushrooms and soil health that I could use to be an educator and advocate for the health of the planet. However, at this stage I envision that being a meaningful side income that I would grow slowly over time. Whereas, the programming provides the stability and security from the get-go to begin living an independent life which is essential for me to write the next chapter of my life.
Right now I am looking for more clients to do my first few pro bono portfolio website projects that I could use on my website -- http://briansteyer.com/ -- so if you know someone who wants to work on a free custom website with me let me know and we can discuss the details.
I first became interested in Songaia in 2015 when I first visited Songaia to attend a permaculture workshop with Jessi Bloom and Cameron Whithey. This exposure influenced me to coordinate a rite of passage for myself in the summer of 2015.
Later in 2018 my friend Elizabeth Dequine from Bainbridge moved to Songaia. Elizabeth had been influential in helping me to learn about foraging for wild mushrooms. We also created a mushroom group together at Winslow Co-housing on Bainbridge that was quite successful. We did mushroom demonstrations, projects, and presentations for the community.
Songaia exists in a special convergence between mushrooms, qi gong, and a vital space to practice permaculture -- with nature and with each other. It is so easy to caught in larger narratives of egotism and self destruction where I cannot imagine extending reality forward into completely new and exciting territory. Songaia provides this space to dream and reimagine the context of where I find myself.
Thanks for reading!
Garden bloggers are community members, volunteers and interns at Songaia.