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Vital Roots

In this video, I, Paul Lee, discuss the history and philosophy of herbs and herbal medicine at the Homeless Garden Project, in Santa Cruz, CA, Fall 0f 2009. This video was taken by my dear friend and videographer, Eric Thiermann.

Class, Who Killed Cock Robin?, at Cowell College

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Join me, Dr. Paul Lee, this Spring 2014 Quarter at  Cowell College to the history of California Organic Movement that began here at UCSC.

Paul Lee Speaks at the Mechanic’s Library Author Series

This movie is a presentation and conversation I had at the Mechanic’s Library in San Francisco, May 2013 about my book, There is a Garden in the Mind, with Nada Miljkovic.

Back in the EcoTopia Saddle


Santa Cruz High School drawn by architect, William H. Weeks.

Back in the saddle after three months at our retreat–Cisco Point–in Phelps, Wisconsin where I kept myself busy by writing drafts of two books.

How To Become A Spiritual Millionaire When Money Is No Object tells the story of nonprofit corporations in this country, their historical background, as I see it, in the radical reformation of the sectarian movements in Europe which established the principle of voluntary association. The nonprofit corporation is the legal form of a voluntary association. I develop the theme of an economy of gift which I learned from Alan Chadwick who gave everything he grew away, freely and gladly, and there was always more to give, i.e., the principle of plenitude which confirms an economy of gift. I had already learned the gift theme from Erik Erikson who once told me that his definition of identity was “you have it to give it away”. Paul Ricoeur introduced me to the concept of an economy of gift and develops this theme in his essay on “The Golden Rule”.

The other book is an effort to deliver myself of my knowledge of herbal health care based on my period as Executive Director of the Herb Trade Association, in the late ’70’s, with responsibilities for organizing the national industry. It is a cookbook: Being and Thyme. Both efforts are just over a hundred pages. Not bad for a left hander.

Our Garden in the Mind Team is hard at work on grants and planning for the Circle Trail and the anticipated move of the Homeless Garden Project to Pogonip.

I am going to be speaking at the Homeless Forum on Oct. 8th at 7:00 pm at the Santa Cruz High School Auditorium. Hope to see you there.

There Is a Garden in the Mind Reviewed by Publishers Weekly

Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 2.03.01 PMPublishers Weekly gave my new book,There Is a Garden in the Mind: A Memoir of Alan Chadwick and an Organic Movement in California, an appreciative review.

In 1967, author and educator Lee and amateur gardener Chadwick established the University of California, Santa Cruz, Chadwick Garden. Lee originated the idea for the garden, but Chadwick made the garden a reality and, to Lee, seemed to embody the vitality of the space. To many he became the “Pied Piper” of the organic movement in California. In what he describes as a philosophical memoir, Lee provides glimpses of Chadwick’s pedigree, temper, drive, and vision, but a fully realized portrait or biography never emerges. Instead Lee delivers a meditation that begins with Chadwick and explores the modern tension between positivist science and the integrity of organic nature. He laments that the more holistic, organic approach has been driven out of academia and contemporary culture by the quantitative analysis of the physical sciences. He traces the contributions and insights of Goethe, the philosophers Paul Tillich and Rudolf Steiner, ecologist Rachel Carson, and many others. The book is part philosophy, part personal meditation, and part tribute to a man who was a transformational figure in the organic movement that began from small seeds in California and has now reached a global community. (Mar.)

The book was reviewed on 01/21/2013.

The book will be available on March 15th and can be ordered now on Amazon. It’s published by North Atlantic Press (Random House, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-58394-559-9