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(SPONSORED) Why a local preschool’s curriculum includes Permaculture themes


(SPONSORED) Why a local preschool’s curriculum includes Permaculture themes


Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share

As a child, my daily diet consisted of canned ravioli, fruit roll ups, Squeeze-It bottles, high sugary cereal and fat-free milk. I loved it! My mom let me put whatever I wanted into the grocery cart and I remember being giddy (probably sugar jitters) excited to eat all of it!

My first roommate right out of college was an athlete and far more educated on food than I was, in fact, I could easily say that I had no clue there was even an education to be had around food. A truck brought it to a grocery store, we purchased it and ate it…that’s it, right?

Whoa, how I was so wrong. I can remember my “food bubble bliss” popping like it just happened this morning. My roommate told me about milk and the process of it getting into my fridge. Needless to say, I was horrified, tormented, in shock.

I immediately wanted to know everything possible about the dairy industry. I started reading anything I could get my hands on, I watched hours of PETA videos, and ultimately discovered the documentary Food, Inc.

I can remember being totally baffled that all my 23 years of life and I never thought about where my food came from. I was the most affected by the lack of compassion in the production of the food. How animals were inhumanely raised & slaughtered, how the laborers of these large agricultural operations were unjustly treated and most profoundly the effect of all of this on our planet. There was a turning point in my life and food became a huge focus. What could I do to make a change in the cruel ways of American food production?

There were highs and lows over the next few years. I immediately cut all meat from my diet and started purchasing organic everything. On a meager budget, I focused on how I could purchase food that supported my new views of the industry.

I learned more and more about agricultural practices, food sourcing, GMO and what a healthy diet (for me and for the planet) looked like. At times, it was totally overwhelming and the grocery store became stressful. I could envision the baby cows screaming for their moms, I could see the pesticides being sprayed all over the fields killing everything…and eventually me. In the thick of this re-education, I created SoulShine’s after school program. Now I had an opportunity to educate the young on ideas that escaped me my entire youth!! I found a purpose behind my new growth and education.

I decided that “back to the basics” was the best motto to apply to my life. I thought, let’s get a garden growing, raise a few chickens and a dairy goat!! This idea of homesteading seemed to be the best way to engage the kids in nature, food education, and create a sense of tribe as we worked together to make our food. SoulShine was pure magic! These kids loved everything about our homesteading adventure and I knew that this was the way I could truly impact the world. I couldn’t change adults; however, I can engage children who at their core are good, kind, and excited for life and in turn gain the ability to influence the adults in their life. After all, no one says “no” to a child that hands you a pretend phone. You make a ringing sound and you answer the call. Talk about genuine empowerment! This is exactly what SoulShine is all about!

In 2008, I met my husband, Bremen. Bremen is a farmer and has brought even more education and awareness to myself and SoulShine. He taught me all about the local food movement in Atlanta, which totally blew my mind. There were so many that shared my values and beliefs! Now I had a community to lean on.

I could not believe how many farms were in Metro Atlanta! Vegetable farms, dairy farms, meat, flowers, bread…it was amazing to see. I could get everything I needed from local markets and forego the grocery store all together (no more screaming calves running through my mind while I shopped). It was life changing.

My husband could share with me the various forms of agriculture practices and how they impact the produce grown. This is how I learned about Permaculture. I was hooked on Permaculture when I read the motto, “Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share.” If we take care for our earth, our earth will provide for the people and the people can then provide for each other. Genius idea!

The more I read about Permaculture and spoke to my SoulShiners about the permaculture philosophies, I realized that this was the direction I needed to take for my family and my business. I am so excited for our SoulShiners to have the reverence and education of our 4 pillars, Homesteading, Nature Stewardship, Wellbeing, and Community. Permaculture is our vessel that inspires, informs, and makes our world a better place. We hope you join us on this adventure.

SoulShine is hosting our first Permaculture Inspired Conference Saturday, September 16th, 10 am – 3 pm at SoulShine Decatur, 525 West Howard Avenue, ​Decatur, GA 30030!

Our day of speakers & activities will provide for pathways to practice permaculture in your everyday life. The agenda includes connecting children with nature, passing on memories and skills to your children through homesteading, learning how to make everyday choices that include nutrient dense food for your diet, & finding the natural hidden gems around Atlanta!

This is a family-focused event with programs for adults & children! All profits will be donated to Wholesome Wave Georgia, who increases access to fresh, healthy, local food by doubling food stamp dollars at local, producer-only farmer’s markets.

Purchase your tickets here:​


— Shannon, Founder & Visionary