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Happy New Year! I don't believe its 2015 and that marks the 12 year anniversary of our organization! Simple Living Institute, Inc. was founded by a group of community members who wanted to see more sustainable living and local culture in our Central Florida region and beyond. We continue to build a community of like minded people and have all shared and learned so much from each other. Thank you for your continued involvement and support of our organization! Our network keeps growing with new attendees and speakers at our monthly Organic Growers Meeting and outreach events. Thank you for living simply and join us in the continuation of the journey of building our community and lessening our impact on Mother Earth.


This summer we had presentations on Berries and Stone Fruit by Steven Korpaz of Twigs and Berries Nursery in Titusville, Butterflies with Edna Kane, Homesteading with Suzanne Richmond, and Seeds with Jonathan Winfrey of Organic Sanctuary. This month local farmer from Oviedo, Tom Carey of Sundew Gardens will be answering garden questions for a Q & A session.


A main planting season continues for another month or so before the summer burn arrives; a season for fruits, berries, and vegetables. Our exhibit at Disney's Flower Garden Festival has been well attended. There is a lot of interest in 'common' plants, like sweet potatoes, elderberry, luffa, pigeon peas, a 10" daikon root with a 2 foot blossom stem. April brings Earth Days, we will be at the Central Florida Earth Day April 19 downtown Orlando Lake Eola. Ann Schulte, founder of S.P.i.C.E., is coordinating our Children's Education Program and putting together a nectar pollinator topic. Some Local Food Guides are still available. Pick up your copy at Ethos Vegan Kitchen, Blodgetts Gardens, Organic Sanctuary, Sundew Gardens, UCF Arboretum, A Natural Farm Education Center, Barefoot Gardeners, The Green Marketplace, InJoy Health Care and from Lake, Osceola & Volusia Agriculuture Extension Agencies as well as Lake, Orange, Seminole & Volusia County Libraries or from Chef Olive.


We has a wonderfully simple and valuable soil presentation from Terry Meer of the Green Education Center. He suggested a simple test to determine quantity of organic material in your soil: Put a scoop in a quart jar, add water, shake up and let sit overnight. You will see the percentage of sand at the bottom and amount of organic floating on the top. Check pH by adding vinegar or baking soda to see if there is a reaction. Tom Carey of Sundew Gardens clarified carbon sequestration and the cycle of photosynthesis. Leaves and organic material fall to the ground, the sun bakes them, releasing carbon into the air, where it is processed by plants into carbohydrates and oxygen, completing the photosynthesis cycle. Both Tom and Terry emphasized the importance of mulch to keep the plant roots moist and stop the baking of the topsoil.


Exhibited at Florida Small Farm Conference in Kissimmee. Over 300 small farmers and vendors from all over Florida were there.


Today is Earth Day! Each year we get so may requests to have a booth and participate in Earth Day activities. There is so much for us to teach, learn, and share with each other and we here at Simple Living are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this exciting time in life where meaningful change is happening everyday. Earth Day reminds us that all the small steps add up such as bringing our own reusable grocery bags when we go shopping, riding our bikes or walking to the store, or growing our own food to reduce the need to go shopping at all!


Happy New Year! We hope this year you will help embrace voluntary simplicity, that is, choosing to live with less material possessions and adopting a simpler life. Consider enjoying the simple pleasures of life such as fresh baked bread, flowers in the garden, and the songs of chirping birds. By encouraging others to live more simply we hope to bring more love, compassion, and harmony into our world. Join us in the journey of simple living! We have quite an active Facebook group where our members and greater community have practical discussions and our famous monthly meeting at Leu Gardens where you can come and learn about growing food organically and more. Were a grassroots, all volunteer organization, so please consider joining as a member or volunteer with us!


Fall is in full swing and the weather is cooling off in Florida. This fall Simple Living Institute will be tabling at Central Florida VegFest and Winter Park Harvest Festival. Please volunteer to help man our outreach tables. Our organization is only as great as the people involved who contribute their valuable time and efforts to our mission of educating people about sustainable living practices. We are also currently looking for new board members to help "steer" the organization and help us maximize our impact in the community. Please contact is if you are interested in helping in an organizational capacity as a volunteer or board member.


We had a great panel of experts to discuss seed saving at our Organic Growers Meeting. Panelists included Tom Carey of Sundew Gardens, Nick Francisco of Blodgett Gardens, Hayri Lawrence of Nurturing Nature, Jonathan Winfrey of Organic Sanctuary, and Russ Rice of Backyard City Slickers. The panelists discussed practical information on how to plant seeds and how to save seeds. Were getting ready for our Annual Seed Exchange next month in August and looking for volunteers to help out with the seed sorting to prepare for the exchange. Extra volunteers are also needed at the Seed Exchange event on Wednesday August 15th at 7pm. View our Organic Growers Meeting page for more info and to view our Seed Exchange Guidelines.


Summer is almost here and the peaches are ripening! Come to our free
Organic Growers Meeting held every month on the 3rd Wednesday from 7-9pm at Leu Gardens. Our May speaker will be teaching us about Growing Peaches and we hope to have our local peach grower come with their peach harvest to sell. Were also getting ready for the Winter Garden Harvest Festival where Simple Living Institute's educational partners will be giving free gardening workshops on topics including worm composting, cover crops, plant propagation, square foot gardening, and growing fruits for Florida.


Spring has sprung! Join Simple Living Institute for this years spring gardening season to help at our Garden Start-up event at the Apopka Family Learning Center where we will be helping to install a new garden bed. Were also getting ready for Earth Day! Join us at the Earth Day celebration at Lake Eola Park and help volunteer to man our booth.


Happy New Year! It is time for all members to renew your membership for 2012 - please visit our membership renewal page to renew online or by mail. Not yet a member? Join now! Membership is the best way to support our efforts. We are a 501c3 non-profit, and your membership dues may be tax-deductible.

Local Food Guide cover


Our Central Florida Local Food Guide is fresh off the presses! Pick your copy up at any of our events - see our calendar for upcoming dates and locations, or download the electronic version (.pdf) from Dropbox now. The Local Food Guide is also available bundled with the December issue of Edible Orlando Magazine at select locations; please contact us to learn more!


The fall 2011 Permaculture Design Course is in full swing! Twelve students converged at Econ Farm to begin a journey into “permanent agriculture”. The first class begun with an outdoor meditation led by Richard Powell, Tia Meer introduced permaculture principals and ethics and co-instructor Summer Singletary introduced biomimicry. The day culminated in the building of a spiral herb garden. The second class delved into Broadscale Site Design with input from co-instructor Natasha MacIntosh. Learn more and connect on our Permaculture page.


We are in the final stages of completing the Central Florida Local Food Guide. The Guide is a comprehensive directory of farms, farmers’ market and community gardens for six east Central Florida counties (Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia). Publication of the Guide was made possible by the following sponsors: Our Vital Earth, Winter Park Harvest Festival, Winter Park Health Foundation, Simply Well, and three Central Florida Unitarian Universalist churches; First Unitarian, University Unitarian Universalist and Mosaic. We welcome you to attend our Organic Growers Meeting on July 20, 7 p.m., at Leu Gardens to hear details from Project Director Andrew Landis.


This spring our first Permaculture Design Course was taught in Orlando with Bradford White and Terry and Tia Meer at the Econ Farm. The first round of permaculture graduates have named themselves the Bootyberry Guild and formed the Orlando Permaculture Guild. Check for our meet ups on the The Orlando Permaculture MeetUp Group Check out the YouTube video of our Spring 2011 Permaculture Design Course videotaped by John VonMutius, videographer and author of the blog With Respect to Food. Learn more and connect on our Permaculture page.


Happy Earth Day! Our precious Earth is very delicate and valuable to us. Do something to help the Earth to celebrate Earth Day. Some suggestions from Simple Living Institute:
Be conscious of your impacts on the Earth. Grow a garden. Plant a tree, Turn off lights when not in use. Use rain barrels to help conserve water. Use reusable containers. Reduce, ReUse, Recycle. Send us your Earth Day tips and resolutions! Together we can make a difference.


Spring is abound! Simple Living Institute helped with the garden start up at the Orlando Day Nursery in partnership with Disney, KaBoom, I.D.E.A.S. and other community organizations. Over 200 people attended, it was a huge success! Tom Carey of Sundew Gardens, spoke at our Organic Growers meeting, one of the take-aways was "just get started gardening with what you have". We are participating in many community awareness events. Visit us on Saturday at Eco Orlando at the Fashion Square Mall with CBS Radio Orlando (Mix 105.1, 105.9 Sunny FM and 102 Jamz). Sunday we will be at the Orlando Junior Academy's "Open Garden" event where Stephanie Syson, Gray's Garden, is going to talk about gardening. Remember to visit our events pages frequently to check all the new and exciting happenings. Earth Day is just around the corner and Simple Living Institute will be out enjoying the weather stop by and say Hello!!! If you are interested in Simple Living Institute participating in YOUR upcoming event contact us now.


Spring is here! (In Florida at least) Time to get planting in the garden. Come to our Seed Exchange to trade or buy seeds, 50 cents a pack. We will have gardening experts at each table and a great variety of Florida specific seeds. If you are bringing seeds to trade please prepackage them in small envelopes have a minimum of 25 seeds per pack.


The Winter Park Whole Foods store has selected us as the non-profit to be the recipient of their 5% Day in December. Shop and support Simple living Institute, Inc. on Wednesday December 8th between 8am and 10pm. we will be on site tabling and presenting gardening and cooking demonstrations from 11am to 7pm. Stock up on bulk foods and staples and do your holiday shopping at Winter Park Whole Foods on December 8th! Funds raised will be used for our programs.

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Simple Living Institute, Inc.
PO Box 781741
Orlando, FL 32878

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