Seeds For Change has created a living tribute project in honour of Jo White. Jo is the sister of Lynne Koss and aunt to Marissa Wiltshire, founders of Seeds For Change.
Jo had so many different lives throughout her life as a leader, innovator, educator and advisor. Her thirst for knowledge and pure curiousity of how things got done led her to a wide range of ongoing courses and conferences from healing arts to accounting! She was an herbalist, wild crafter, biodynamic farmer, dairy maid, nature walks leader and interpretative guide in rural and aboriginal communities in the lower mainland in British Columbia.
She initiated many continuing grass-root initiatives. She created recycling programs and a wool co-op in Quebec and was interviewed several times by CBC’s Peter Gzowski. She developed and supported community gardens and organic growers. She acted on issues of food security, established wellness departments in pharmacies, worked at Capers/Whole Foods, and more recently was a Manager at Good Nature Health Foods (gluten free supplier). Jo was a strong advocate for complementary alternative medicine.
She was the honoured by Air Canada as the winner of the Heart of Gold Award for outstanding contributions made to the community and there were many in Ontario, British Columbia, England and Spain.
Jo had chosen a highly specialized education process beginning in 1975 studying Rural Development at Ridgetown’s College of Agricultural Technology in Ontario, then bio-dynamic farming at Emerson College in the United Kingdom. Jo graduated as a Master Herbalist from Emerson College of Herbology in Montreal, Quebec.
Whether hiking, sailing, kayaking, cross-country skiing, gardening, harvesting, creating tinctures and salves, she was connected to the earth, making a huge footprint in our hearts, caring for us and the environment where we all live.
Our goal is to nurture our common vision of reconnecting people to nature and improving their health through growing and eating nutritional food.
The bench project blossomed from the hikes, afternoon picnics, herb walks, cross country skiing, walks along the beach and gardening that Jo shared with family, friends and colleagues. Our mission is to place tribute benches in community gardens, forests and within beautiful natural settings - providing a place to rest and reflect, take a breath, sit and be present in the moment.
If you know of a perfect place for a bench or would like to sponsor a specific bench in a community garden or other setting in your area please contact us directly at email@example.com or 1-800-761-0160. We thank you for your interest and support.
YRFN is Seeds For Change's charitable partner, you will receive a tax receipt from them for your donation. Please follow the instructions below to donate to Jo's Tribute on the YRFN form:
** If you are making a large donation or purchasing a bench/stone seat and have specific instructions to where you would like it to be installed or you would like to personalize the plaque please indicate this in the Message/Instruction area as well.
Alternatively, donate by sending a cheque payable to: York Region Food Network, Attn: Seeds For Change/Jo White Tribute at 350 Industrial Parkway S., Aurora, ON L4G 3V7.
Recognizing Jo's pioneering ways and tenacity for making things happen, we have created flower bombs which can be purchased online shortly (check back here for details). A flower bomb is a combination of wild flower seeds packed in soil and clay designed to be sown in hard to reach places and enable spontaneous floral attacks! Embrace Jo's sense of adventure and give your flower bomb a good toss! Don't forget to take a picture so we can include a pin our map of tributes to Jo.
Below are messages from loved ones and admirers. You can leave your own message by filling out the form at the bottom.
TO JOJain Peruniak, November 16, 2013
Born in a pure Mountain stream
Your wisdom and insight
Flowed through every rivulet, back channel and eddy
To tell us of another path, a different way.
You said ” Look at the base of the giant cedar tree to find the real treasure”
Walking softly on forest pathways
You gently gathered stiff lichens and soft mosses telling us they will be our salvation.
You showed us to take care of the forest and she will take care of you.
This message we will never forget.
ADIEU - Until we meet again!!!
To Jo,Stuart Gross, December 08, 2013
I think about you often and can’t believe your no longer here. We spoke 2 days before you passed on but we did not meet, I remember your voice that day, you sounded very weak.
I will always remember you and miss you.
I just watched the video, it was very moving. I’m so sorry I was away for the celebration of life for Jo.Stuart Gross, December 08, 2013
To my friend Jo,
I just learned that you are no longer with us. Jo touched my life in so many ways and shall remain a part of me. Today is a cold January day here in Montreal and I therefore will have to wait this coming Spring to plant a seed in your memory and especially for you. I will visit this site again for the -especially created for her- upcoming flower bombs for sale. That is what I can plant for you if you wish.
I feel profoundly blessed for the gift of our friendship; a feeling that I know is shared by so many others. I will miss you.
I’d also like to express my sincere condolences to her family, friends and all others that knew her. You will be missed.
Marc LaplanteMarc Laplante, January 28, 2014
Dear Jo,Leslie Keenan, March 16, 2014
I’ll remember you as someone always reaching, always learning, always inspiring. Your gentle, kind and warm spirit continues in our memories. Leslie
go and joinKen McCormick, March 17, 2014
the dandelions in the fields
with roots in our hearts
spreading fresh greens
Jo, Marc White’s sister, was often in our midst at Community Alternatives where I, Marc and many other activist types lived in the late 70’s and 80’s. The community also has a farm in Aldergrove and I am sure with Jo’s love for all growing things, she spent time much time there as well. When I think about Jo, I think of her smile, laugh, her incredible amount of knowledge, on most things!, and her practical, bare bones living style. She truly walked and lived her talk. I look forward to meeting up with many of her friends and family on May 3.Pat Hogan, April 08, 2014
For Jo wherever you are and all those who loved her and were loved by her :Sharon Masui, April 22, 2014
Too soon! soon! Too soon! Time is our enemy..time is our friend…
Your kind and caring loving gentleness
Remains in my quickening heart.
Sun, moon stars and rain…
Each time i saw you over the last 20 years, what stood out most for me was feeling your warmth through your smile. I have happy memories of laughing and chatting, mostly over a meal or at a party. You were a kind gentle soul, and I am sure, wherever you are, you are enjoying your freedom and continuing to evolve.Zarina, April 28, 2014
April 27, 2014
I fondly remembering working with you at Capers on Robson, you sharing your wisdom and ideas and me appreciating your caring nature, sweet smile and commitment to the earth. Your inspiration is everlasting.
Love, HeatherHeather Stieh, April 30, 2014
My name is Heather Fowler and this note is to recap and share a magical moment with Jo’s family and her many friends……….
I moved next door to Jo, last summer and was looking forward to striking up a great friendship with her but had no idea she was ill. Our friendship never came to fruition; however, I am so grateful to have shared last Saturday’s gathering at Cap U for Jo and meet her wealth of family and friends. From all the stories about Jo, it seems I really lost out on hanging with such a truly special and kind person. The few conversations I had with Jo, here and there on our apt. grounds were always a delight and in her honour, I chose to create one of my pieces of black coral art for her.
And let me tell you there were some very “Jo” moments in making this piece, starting with just me finding this elegant, sinewy piece of wood that literally sprouted the letter “J”. I was totally inspired. Funny too as when I looked up, from the road where I found this piece of wood, there were no trees that could have delivered this branch. It was chewed a bit by a dog on one end, and Bless that rascal for appreciating the wood, putting the ball into motion and dragging it to a place where I could find it: on Skeena road at Cap U. right in the middle of my morning dog walk!
I truly enjoyed gluing the various pieces of shells, crystals, beach glass, red and black coral, heart shaped rocks, herbs and lichens; they all just seemed to “click” into place. It contained all I could think of, that Jo would have liked; no doubt asking Jo, her opinion, in my thoughts as I made it.
The lower half of this piece is a dream catcher – the first one I have ever made. It was such a lovely day that I decided to go outside on my balcony to weave the dream catcher. As soon as I put the twig circle down, I noticed a little yellow finch on the table a couple inches from my frame. He was as content as could be, all closed up sleepy eyes. I ran and got my son, we watched him and thought that maybe he was stunned from hitting the slider. I went to reach for it and he flew into a little plant I have on my table. My son, Justin tried also, both of us getting inches close, when the bird flew and perched right on the dream catcher’s circle.
I quickly ran to get my phone to take some pictures but of course you can never find your phone, a few frantic minutes, it’s nowhere in sight, so find the home phone which is also lost, to phone your cell phone. Well, you all know how that goes. Anyways, quite a while later I come out and the little bird is still there, as content as can be, apparently he was communing beak to nose with my dog. I took tons of pics, we tried grabbing him again and he finally, close to ten minutes later flew off.
Ahhh, not sure about you, but if that wasn’t a little blessing / approval from dear Jo herself, I’m not sure what is. I feel she’s certainly going to be “speaking” to us for years to come thru trees, dolphins, birds. Queen Jo’s nature loving soul will be everywhere and I hope it “reigns” down on you, too.
Take Good Care Everyone and Bless You for carrying on Jo’s stories, love and knowledge.
Heather Fowler, May 9th, 2014Marissa Wiltshire, May 27, 2014