My name is Ellie Early. I was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas and graduated from Amarillo High in 2004. After my freshman year of college my mom and step dad included me in an opportunity to join a reunion of Right Livelyhood Award laureates in Vienna, Austria in summer 2005. The conversations of laureates changed by world view to include new ideas about human rights, land use, technologies, and sciences.
I attended college in New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and London and graduated from University of Massachusetts in 2009 with a BFA in Textile Design. In Massachusetts I lived on two farms near my university: Silverbrook Farm and Kettle Pond Farm. In London I took an introductory permaculture weekend run by Naturewise.
My post college adventures of 2008 took me to The Ecovillage Training Center (ETC) at The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee, where Ina May Gaskin one of the Right Livelyhood laureates does her midwifery work.
For three years Tennessee was my summer-fall home. The first year at the ETC I joined as an intern in the Community Organizing program, then became a co-kitchen manager. The second year I joined a partnership of seven people we called the HodgePodge Cooperative who ran programs and managed the ETC. In these two years I took Permaculture Design 1 and 2, Financial Permaculture, the soil part of a Carbon Farming Course, and got to sit in on courses about photovoltaics, natural building, mushroom growing, gardening, fermentation, raw-live food, biodynamics, and the Bioregional Congress 2009. For two autumns I had the chance to work in a kitchen at the yoga retreat center Grey Bear. The winters I spent living with my dad, John, near Canyon, Texas and then my mom, Gisele, near Marquette, Michigan.
In 2010 March-September I apprenticed with Adam Turtle at Earth Advocates Research Farm also in Summertown, Tennessee. I learned vegetable gardening and land-management. In the 1/2 acre garden I practiced daily vegetable cultivation, learned many annual and perennial plant names, and most importantly began to learn how to learn. To learn is to observe. I learned to observe a few of the thousands of natural processes going on around me. I lived close to the land gathering my water from a spring and rain water catchment, eating mostly from the vegetable garden, charging my iPhone on solar panels, gathering fire wood, pooping in a bucket, taking two gallon showers poured from milk jugs, and many other charming challenging off-the grid homestead conventions.
In March 2011 I came back to Amarillo to bring to my home town what I have learned elsewhere. My boy-friend and dad along with extended family and some friends are here. Also the inspiration to stay in one place to learn (observe) the seasons, the ecology, the sky, the animals, the plants, the bugs, the people intimately will teach me to value and invest in this community.
Apring and summer 2011 I worked at a New Life Landscaping to be outside, climb trees, pull weeds, and get paid for it. 2012 I tried working for myself in a business venture called Better Kitchen Gardens. This year 2013 the High Plains Food Bank hired me to teach nutrition and garden with kids at the Mavrick Boys and Girls Club.
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