Jacqueline Edmiston

I am Jacqueline.

Mother, activist, teacher, naturalist, convergent thinker, beloved, lover, constant gardener, budding polymath, collector of books, artist, lover of music and good food and good people, collector of teas, drinker of good coffee, participant in cultural experiences, traveler and chess player. 

I’m a landscape designer, Permaculture (PDC) facilitator, Master Gardner and Master Naturalist with a passion for habitat conservation and rehabilitation, soil conservation and rehabilitation, community development and natural medicine.

I know that I can make a difference to the world and to the lives of people around me, wherever my feet may take me. I’m creative in the way that I approach life and community projects. “A mover and shaker!” as my friends would say. I absolutely love engrossing myself in the different cultures that I find myself, through my work and play. I consider myself an activist at heart and will stand strong for what is true and just.

In 2019, I moved from Cape Town, South Africa to Geneva, Florida, with my beloved Daniel and our two children, Sarah (15) and Troy (13). 

MASTER NATURALIST

INVASIVE PLANTS OF FLORIDA
COASTAL SYSTEMS
FRESHWATER SYSTEMS
CONSERVATION SCIENCE

MASTER GARDENER

Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program, University of Florida, Volunteer Program 2021, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Native Vanilla

Working part-time for my partners company, assisting with freelance graphic design, recipe development for new products, interior design and basic construction.

2020:

CONSULTANT

Hemp in Tennessee 

I’m consulting for a small Hemp farm in Tennessee on building resilience and remediating their soil.

2019:

RESEARCH

Cocoa In Ecuador, Papua New Guinea & Uganda

I have travelled to all three of these countries to meet with local cocoa and vanilla farmers.

2018:

First Aid

Due to the nature of my work which takes me to remote areas like Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Uganda, it’s a good idea to have some knowledge of First Aid. I have just redone my Level 1 First Aid with St John Ambulance and went on to completing my advanced First Aid Level 3.

East African Permaculture Convergence

In May this year I attended the International East African Permaculture Convergence in Sanje, Uganda where I met incredible people from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Zambia, Rwanda, Australia and Belgium. 

Gut Health

In April I attended a series of Gut Health workshops with Foodology in Cape Town.

2017:

Snake & Venemous Scorpions & Spiders

Daniel and I completed a Snake Awareness and Venomous Snake Handling Certificate Course with the African Snakebite Institute (ASI), taught by Johan Marais, an internationally known herpetologist and author of Snakes and Reptiles in Southern Africa. It covered Snake, Scorpion  and Spider Awareness and their biology, behavior, myths and their identifications. As well as basic first aid for snakebite and scorpion stings. We were taught how to safely handle snakes when capturing them for safe relocation.

Integrated Design Course

In June, I completed an Integrated Design Course with Daniel Halsey from the USA, who is a professional agro-ecosystems designer, director of the Permaculture Research Institute in the USA, Southern Africa, and Italy. Dan is the principal partner of Natural Capital, LLC, Plant Database, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Temperate Climate Polyculture Designs and a Masters of Professional Studies in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota.

This course taught me the in-depth design of integrated polycultures and how to translate a physical site design into Adobe Illustrator.

2016:

Permaculture

I completed my Introduction to Permaculture, Permaculture Design Course and teachers training Permaculture Facilitators Course at Hope Foundation in East London.

Lifeline Training 

During this busy time, I also managed to complete a Lifeline Training Course.

About Me:

My youngest memories growing up, are of me around age 5 growing food with my Ouma Betsie in her tiny garden in the sandy soils of Muizenberg. My grandparents grew most of what they ate and fished the ocean for the rest. My Ouma Betsie was a fisherwoman.

I remember my excitement at digging my fingers into the soil, pulling at the potatoes beneath the earth. A miracle! I remember how in my late teens living in Scarborough, how I fed my thirst for knowledge by reading amongst many others, Margeret Roberts’s books on the healing properties of various herbs and their various growing characteristics and requirements……..and the joy I took in collecting and growing as many as I could.

Later I entered the great wide world and gave and gained pieces of myself through the years…..waitresses, washed windows, practiced Chinese medicine, worked in customer service, worked in sales, got married, bought a house, gave birth to my daughter, opened a pottery studio, renovated a house, gave birth to my son, studied photography, built a house in Riebeek Kasteel, fostered a special little girl, had a life changing accident, worked some more as a web designer and then as an apprentice chef…….and then I realized that my passion has actually always been around the ethical production and consumption of food and how our daily choices impact the environment.

I have always been fascinated by the community stories and traditions around food and the way that it brings us together and connects us.

All my life, wherever I’ve called home, I’ve nurtured and tended a vegetable and herb garden.

I’m now 40 and I’ve come full circle. I have found my shape and framework in Permaculture. I can see how each path that I’ve explored has given me the foundation and building blocks for the work that I’m doing now and how it has provided me with the insight and depth for the path that lies ahead.

Current favorite quotes:

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” John Muir

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”  Chris Maser, Forest Primeval: The Natural History of an Ancient Forest

Favorite Poem:

When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.

When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,

examines,

gnaws on kind words

unsaid,

promised walks

never taken.

Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their

nurture,

now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their

radiance,

fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance

of dark, cold

caves.

And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.

– Maya Angelou