What the heck is this project all about?
With your help Sacred Plants will be a hardback book documenting the connection between plants and a small group of plant Shaman and farmers in the jungle of Belize.
Your financial support will go directly towards the development of this book and preserving a way of life - sustainably working and living with plants in the jungle and on farms.
When people offer their stories to you, I think it's important to take a moment to listen. My intention is to simply share their connection with plants and how these plants are sacred to them. This book will embody their fantastic stories and have inspiring images of people working with plants.
Hopefully after reading this book, you will have a smile on your face and be inspired to get your own hands dirty in the nature that surrounds you!
What am I doing in Belize?
Last December, I had the fortunate experience of traveling to Belize and Guatemala and met some amazing local people. Plant Shamans, orchid growers, and organic cacao farmers showed me how they worked and I was able to document their everyday life and connection to jungle plants. I was blessed to spend time with them and their families in the jungle. And they were all so enthusiastic to share with me their plant wisdom.
In late October, I will travel back to Belize and this time, I will document recipes, lore, and their backgrounds in working with the plants they find sacred. I'm hiking and camping with them in the jungles, helping at a farmers market and spending time at their homes. I also get to give back by good old fashion dirty work: helping spruce-up their farms and gardens by harvesting, weeding, building projects and helping set up an online presence directly for the farmers. Working along side people who value plants the same way I do is so inspiring - and I'm excited to share that with you in this book.
I'll come home, compile and edit the book and upload it to be available through online publishing sites, my website and in local stores.
Are you a gardener?
I am a plant geek! I love anything that has to do with getting dirty and growing little creatures. My plant geek-y-ness led me to a man I met in Belize, Eladio Pop. Eladio actually is a cacao farmer so instead of meticulously trimming his roses or planting petunias, he spends his days caring for his cacao trees. He grows them and his lovely wife Victoria (and the rest of the family), roasts the beans and makes a cacao elixir they drink daily, which they will tell you holds extraordinary health benefits. I get to help Eladio get some projects done on his farm and chat with him about his life among the cacao.
Who is this Dirty Girl writing this book?
Hello, I'm Jenn! I enjoy long (or not so long, cause let's face it - it's HOT!) hikes in the jungle, berries that are not poisonous and any project having to do with plants and just being dirty!
My background is in farming and horticulture. I've been obsessed with plants ever since I was a little girl, happily trimming my Grandma's hedges with safety scissors. The day after I graduated high school (2000), I started my landscape design company, Wildflower Farms. And about 4 years ago I started a sister company, Dirty Girl Gardening and a organic bath & beauty product line, Garden Apothecary. I've been fortunate enough to take my love of plants and translate it to creating organic skin and body care products from materials like vanilla beans, anise star pods, lotus stamens and lavender powder.
I love learning how plants inspire and excite people and have been lucky to learn one-on-one from these amazing herbalists and growers in Belize!
Where do the funds go and what are the rewards?
The funds will go to:
- Purchasing a new camera to produce publishing-quality photographs.
- Paying an editor (because my grammar is atrocious!) once the book is complete and uploading it to a DIY online publishing site (like lulu), etc.
- Shipping, printing and other costs associated with the rewards and the book (postage, envelopes, etc. can really add up!).
- Marketing: I will be self-promoting the book as much as possible, but there will be fees associated with proper marketing (like printing extras to get into the hands of other publishers and PR folk, etc.).
- Kickstarter and Amazon fees associated with this project.
We need your help! ***Pledge Rewards*** Pledge and share on your FB!
See some of the goodies you'll get for pledging!
Each picture featured in the book will be taken by Jennifer Lee Segale in the Belize jungle and on farms. The rewards from this project will be the same pictures in the book, as well as some cool "out-takes" and dedicated pictures for you!
To completely fund this project, it will take a lot more than $3,500. However, I made my goal low since this is my first kickstarter project. Up till now, this has been completely self-funded, but with your help this book could really be polished and available for retail.
Wanna chat with me more about this project and how you can help?
Or you can always email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture credit goes to Jennifer Lee Segale and Icebox Images (product images)
Risks and challenges
The challenge of making this book with be the physicality of hiking in the jungle. To overcome this - I plan on going to the gym everyday before hand!
The other challenge is proper plant identification while documenting these plants and stories. A lot of traditional plant knowledge is handed down from generations and can sometimes be lost in translation. To overcome this, I plan to cross reference as much as possible and consult with professionals as needed.
- (30 days)