Patterns-Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute
Video Presentation on permaculture patterns with Roxanne Swentzell
Flowering Tree is a non-profit organization working with the concepts of Permaculture. The Institute was created in 1987 here at Santa Clara Pueblo. We began teaching classes on different techniques and methods of healthy life-styles.
We taught classes on how to farm and garden in our high desert climate with low water use, how to understand micro-climates, and how composting and seed saving are a part of growing sustainably. We also taught classes in animal husbandry in which we showed how to take care of turkeys, chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, fish, and even bees. We taught how to butcher, store and cook meets, shear sheep, spin wool, weave, milk, make cheese, harvest honey, create ecosystems of ponds with fish and plants. We covered building techniques as well, including adobe construction, mud plastering, straw-bale construction, solar energy, water catchments and so on.
Roxanne grew up sculpting, making pottery, building with adobe, and gardening. Born in 1962 in Taos NM, into a family of Santa Clara Pueblo Artists (Naranjos), Roxanne grew up with her two sisters in a creative environment. As a young child, she wasn’t able to communicate due to a speech impediment, but her mother handed her some clay and Roxanne found a new language. She sculpted human figurines depicting something going on in her life that she wanted others to know. Meantime her parents were studying solar energy and as a family built themselves a solar adobe house in Santa Fe, NM. They had a small garden plot and fruit tree along with turkeys and chickens. Roxanne took it upon herself at an early age to be the caretaker of the gardens and animals. She also took over (from her mother) making the dishes for the household. Roxanne was able to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts while finishing her high school credits.
She then went on to study at the Portland Museum Art School in Oregon but after a year she returned home to be closer to her Native Culture and raise her two children. She built a solar adobe house by hand for her and her children at Santa Clara Pueblo. During this time, Roxanne was introduced to Permaculture and with the help of her husband (at that time) Joel Glanzberg, and a likeminded friend (Brett Bakker), they started the non-profit, Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute in 1989. Roxanne’s home site was the place they would experiment with the practices of permaculture and teach. Soon it became obvious that Roxanne’s ties to the Pueblo culture steered the Institute into cultural preservation and ways to become more self-sufficient. She has written and had published, “Our Home” an experimental place in sustainable life-ways, “Droppings” a occasional newsletter for the community, “Extra-ordinary People”, (NM Magazine Artist Series), a number of “how-to” booklets and her latest on the diet of her people, “The Pueblo Food Experience” Museum of NM Press. Roxanne also created The Tower Gallery in Pojoaque, NM where she shows and sales her artwork. These days, Roxanne homeschools her three oldest grandchildren, tends gardens and animals, makes sculptures, teaches building and gardening skills, and gives talks all around the country on her art, work in the tribe, and permaculture.
All information sourced through www.floweringtreepermaculture.net