Samahi Garden -Garden and community activists
Erika Peña came to FLorida from the Dominican Republic at the age of 1. As a child she visited DR often, but felt like an outsider. Though her family were gardeners and herbalists, she was never allowed to share in cultivation activities, as they were seen as for the “lower class”. She would find inspiration in her grandmother, who brought her under her wing and shared her magic of plant healing.
As Erika grew up, her focus turned to the spirit realm – having been exposed to Yoga and other spiritual modalities – and became an instructor in South Florida. Currently, Erika is a Anuttara Yoga Certified 600 hr RYT.
Erika’s latest focus has been on her reclamation project at Samadhi Garden, on 7 acres in Melbourne, FL. This multi-faceted project includes a regenerative garden and food forest that is planned to expand into a full-fledged community with opportunities for other like-minded people to come learn, share, volunteer and live as they contribute to this ever-evolving earthship regeneration project.
The Well Fed Apothecary
Wilnise Francois is a Haitian-American Licensed Nurse and Herbalist that has worked in the allopathic modality of healing for over a decade. Working alongside physicians and caretakers alike facilitating wellness to those across the life span. Her role as an herbalist expanded with the personal need and integration of herbal medicines from her coveted traditional Haitian practices and studies in Western herbalism. As a community herbalist, she is working to revolutionize the cultural affinity of our plant friends through our relationships with the earth and stars. Her aim is to integrate the very love our herbs show us and implement that essence into our daily lives; creating a lifestyle of health and we…
St. Pete Ferments
Sarah Arrazola, founder of St. Pete Ferments, is a St. Petersburg native and proud Floridian. A product of the Sunshine City, she is inspired greatly by her Latinx heritage, southern roots and their cultural exchanges unique to the Sunshine State.
Samahi Garden -Garden and community activists
Jonathan Wrend is a Florida native, born in Melbourne, FL. He Started his career in construction as a means to put himself through school. Realizing his natural abilities in the field, coupled with a mechanical mindset, Jonathan quickly graduated to positions of leadership within the firms he worked. With his background in structures, he started his first construction company in 2010, CIty Beautiful Group, which is currently doing business primarily in Palm Beach Island. As a full service General contractor, CBG has completed ground-up projects, Additions and renovations. They currently specialize in exterior assemblies for low and mid-rise buildings, and serve as consultants to engineering firms, end-users and community associations.
Jonathan considers conservation to be the single most important consideration in any construction project, and directs that focus into the design and scope generation for his clients while ensuring longevity of function.
In 2019 Jonathan started looking at ways to reform the current model of commercial and residential development to look more closely at conservation as a key component of the planning and implementation phase. His proof of concept has started with his own home development project, currently underway, and hopes to serve as an inspiration for change.
Tri-Partisan Canvas Presents : Community Movement Class
TPC a political platform the encourages civic engagement through social equity initiatives, public policy awareness, and, voter education/registration
Community Movement Class is a space that provides representation for BIPOC instructors in the wellness industry. This class intends to bring the community together, in the name of collective healing, and civic engagement. Typically, after the instruction from the movement facilitation, Jalessa Blackshear of Tri Partisan Canvas, then delivers a monthly synopsis of current city council agenda items, to alert residents on the issues that are facing the City of St. Petersburg. Discourse is also encouraged at the end of each agenda item. To wrap up the class, participants are then encouraged to have “courageous conversations” amongst one another in a safe space, with the intention to develop alternative place based solutions that will lead to action. The class currently has a monthly residency at Green Bench Brewery, in St. Petersburg, where class is being held evey last Wednesday.
*Jalessa will be facilitating a micro talk at the Florida Permaculture Convergence, in the name of sharing her perspective and experiences with urban agriculture as it it pertains to the city of St. Petersburg, via policy, with some historical content.
The Garden Jules
Born and raised in South Florida, I’m a self-titled baby Herbalist. My herbal journey began a few summers ago at Medicina Tropical, under the guidance of Julia Onnie-Hay, Paula Diaz, and Monique Moyer. It was there, that I fell in love with tropical plants and the medicines we can all make from them. I continued my studies with Julia Onnie-Hay through her Magic City Herbalist course and with the Holistic School of Living’s, Roots of Herbalism and Family Herbalist Course. I’m currently enrolled in the Community Herbalist Course, studying with Emily Ruff through the Florida School of Holistic Living. Throughout my studies, I’ve tended and grown herbal gardens, which have been my greatest teachers. There’s nothing better to me than communing with the plant spirits, hands deep in the earth. Through the Garden Jules, I hope to share my enthusiasm of the plants, to inspire you to start growing your own herbal oasis and to start making your own herbal medicines!
Crystal and Rob Timmons
The Veteran Garden Project – Non-profit Organization in St. Augustine
Crystal is a certified yoga, meditation, and permaculture instructor as well as a FL Horticulture professional. Currently, she is the Executive Director and President of Veteran Garden Project (VGP) to support healing and post traumatic growth for her family, local veteran community, and beyond. Crystal is passionate to serve by sharing what she has learned about permaculture and earth care with others. She believes connection to nature is the path to healing, well-being, and unity. She loves spending time in nature, traveling, and planting edible and medicinal gardens.
Crystal is a Florida native Born in Vero Beach, FL she has lived in many states all over the US and South Korea. She is the spouse and caregiver of husband, Robert, a St. Augustine native, and service-connected Combat Army Veteran, mother, and stepmother. Her family moved to St. Augustine in 2012 after her husband’s medical discharge. Crystal and Robert Timmons founded VGP in 2017 after taking her PDC as a commitment to helping Robert, an Afghanistan veteran, recover from injuries and help serve other service members and our Earth.
The Veteran Garden Project (VGP) is in St Augustine, Florida in St. John’s County. Grassroots 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which uses eco conscience gardening, sustainable living practices, and permaculture programming to support and empower veterans, military members, their families, and volunteers.
VGP mission is to support our healing veteran community while also encouraging and supporting stewardship of our precious resources. Our work facilitates holistic healing, confidence, recovery, and inspired hope for veterans and their families. Since its founding, VGP has helped design and install 12 organic gardens by scholarship while supporting 380 veterans and their families. Veterans learn new skills, reconnect with others, renew their confidence, and discover a new purpose for their lives, families, and community. This contributes to developing self-reliance, camaraderie, and healthy outlooks on diet and lifestyle.
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Reginia Instructor for Saturday
Regina has been a yoga practitioner for over 10 years and chose to complete a 200hr Yoga Certification in 2019. In love with the way yoga makes her feel, Regina decided she wants to spread the practice and its benefits to those around her. She is focused on becoming a guide to bring the practice to anyone who has an open heart and mind by meeting them where they are. Regina is a true testament of how yoga can heal mind, body, and spirit. Learning and growing through yoga every day, she is thankful for what yoga has done for her life. Regina looks forward to using her personal experiences to help individuals build healthier relationships with the self through yoga.
For most of my life I had no idea yoga or the wellness community existed. Wellness was not a topic of discussion at home and to be honest my community could not afford it or have access to these ideas. I joined the wellness community about 6 years ago and for most of this journey I only practiced the asanas, the yoga poses.
The real work started when I decided to dive deep into breathwork, sound or meditations and grounding movement. I started to see colors during the exercises and see glimpses of green, blue and purple. I tapped into my chakras and began to touch surfaces of my healing. I tuned into my inner child and started to resolve deep feelings I’ve avoided. To say the least, I was blown away. I learned to guide my life with breath and connect with neurological nerves to create the right chemistry to grow and be aligned with myself. As my connection with breath grew so did my relationship with movement. I started to move in ways that supported my PTSD with grounding somatic techniques.
I create meditation, somatic movement and breathwork sessions that are only in alignment with each individual for the needs of themselves and their communities such as connection, spiritual, trauma healing, self love, confidence, forgiveness and more. These tools and sessions are created to help individuals heal themselves.
As the owner of Grounded in Color, my goal is to share these gifts and tools that took me years to access so others don’t have to wait too long to have them. All of my programs have sliding scale or scholarship payment options. I believe everyone should have access to tools to breathe correctly and support their own nervous system.
The Well Fed Apothecary