If you enjoy apples today, you can thank Johnny Appleseed.
We all remember the childhood stories and some of you may even remember the song.
However, John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed) was a simple man who spread apple seeds across the nation and helped settlers become landowners.
To say I admire the life of John Chapman would be a huge understatement.
He lived the life that we are striving everyday to achieve.
Who is John Chapman?
You might know him better as Johnny Appleseed.
John was from a different time but many would consider him a pioneer in the current green movement.
He was a farmer, started orchards all over the nation, was humble, respected ALL life, frugal, a person of faith, gave to the poor, a vegetarian, a savvy businessman, respected by all, a true humanitarian, and much more.
John Chapman’s Roots
He was born 1774 in Massachusetts, and by the age of thirteen he was given an apprenticeship to an orchardist.
This apprenticeship intensified Chapman’s interest in the fruit.
His original fascination with apples stemmed from learning about their symbolic importance.
Chapman aimed to spread knowledge while reminding residents of their immorality through planting apple trees.
Johnny Appleseed Was A Generous Man
He would barter and give saplings to those in need; if settlers didn’t have money, he would trade them saplings for used clothes.
The frontier law allowed people to lay claim to land through development of a permanent homestead.
Planting apple or pear trees was a way for settlers to have their land claim recognized by the government (an orchard demonstrated they intended to stay permanently).
By selling seedlings to people arriving in the wilds of Ohio and Indiana, Chapman made creating an orchard with at least 50 apple trees a lot easier.
Johnny Appleseed’s Accomplishments
At the time of his death he claimed to have walked over 4000 miles across the United States selling Apple Seeds and Saplings. He was a devout person of faith and he sowed his seeds and his belief wherever he went.
Because of his humble life people thought he was poor, but when he passed away on March 11, 1845 at the age of 70, he died a wealthy man and owned more than 1200 acres.
Staying True to Purity
Staying true to the purity of the fruit, John refused to use grafting to create his orchards, believing that this growing technique physically hurt the source plants.
So, he carried a large sack of seeds everywhere he traveled which contributed to how we perceive of him today.
In the Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan writes:
“It was the seeds, and the cider, that give the apple the opportunity to discover by trial and error the precise combination of traits required to prosper in the New World. From Chapman’s vast planting of nameless cider apple seeds came some of the great American cultivars of the 19th century.”Botany of Desire
Why do You Need to be more like Johnny Appleseed?
Because the world needs you, our planet needs you, and our food supply needs you to be. The pollinators of this nation are in great peril.
From development of their habitats, pollution in our waters, air and land, climate change, to the chemical toxins we have used that kill them, pollinators need our intervention.
Almost 90 percent of the world’s flowering species require insects or other animals for pollination. What will happen to our food supply if the decline of pollinators continue to persist?
How To Live Green?
There are several things you can do to to help pollinators for instance, you can:
- Quit using synthetic and toxic chemicals in and outside of your home (more about removing chemicals)
- Provide nesting material and habitats (how to build pollinator houses)
- Educate others about the dangers of using chemicals to our wildlife
- Plant a pollinator garden (plants that attract bees)
- Become a beekeeper (Beekeeping on a Budget)
The BIG question- How to be MORE like Johnny Appleseed?
The answer is this- be a sower of seeds.
I am not talking about quitting your day job and walk around the states for the rest of your life selling saplings and planting seeds, but rather go through life as a sower of seeds.
Live your life intentionally to help restore this wonderful planet to a more sustainable entity.
There are many ways you can sow seeds on your own property, you can: plant a garden, grow plants in pots, plant trees, provide edible landscaping; the ways to sow at home are endless. But what about the rest of the planet?
What can you do to help sow seeds when you leave your home?
Seeds for Tomorrow Shaker- Better Than Seed Balls
What is a Seeds for Tomorrow Shaker?
Well the concept is this: buy a bunch of random seeds, place them in a shaker. Whenever you are out and about, shake your Seeds for Tomorrow wherever you go-It’s that simple!
To read step-by-step instructions for the Seeds from Tomorrow Shaker.
Make Seed Bombs/Balls
Seed balls (or seed bombs, as they are sometimes called by gardeners who lob them over fences and into abandoned lots) are a great way to plant seeds of all sorts in places you can’t take close care of, such as meadows, roadside strips, and stream banks.
Seed balls are also a sensible method for planting vegetables or grains without digging or tilling the soil, or add spots of new color in established flower gardens without disturbing the plants already there.
They are also helpful for handling tiny seeds, allowing you to put just a few seeds exactly where you want them—making a pack of seeds go a long way (saving you money).
And if you garden with chickens, as I do, seed balls can help your freshly planted seeds survive an unexpected visit from pecking feathered friends.
From Rodales Organic Life- click here to read more
You can’t talk about Johnny Appleseed without talking about apples so I wanted to add my two favorite Ah-Maz-Zing Apple articles with you, Apple Pie and Apple Sugar.
Apple Pie Recipe
Lisa Steele, from Fresh Eggs Daily, is a New Englander and BIG Johnny Appleseed fan.
Lisa shared her father-in-laws best ever Traditional New England Apple Pie recipe with us.
With a perfect flaky crust and a hint of nutmeg, this is one recipe you will have to make!
Apple Sugar Recipe
Make your own natural sweetener with apples for a delicious taste.