Owen and Chris’s shared vision, their mutual love of plants, their belief that the Earth is and wants to be abundant, and their desire to create ways to manifest this, evolved into Local Harmony.
Owen brings to the table a deep understanding of how human beings can live in accordance with the governing systems of the natural world. What Owen sees as a clear direction for living in balance, Chris has been naturally practicing in his personal and professional life through his herbal and holistic endeavors. Together they believe humans’ purpose is tending the Garden that is our planet. Local Harmony is a merging of their visions and a vehicle for its expression in the world.
Owen was born and raised off the grid in rural Maine, surrounded by the presence, power and stillness of the natural world. This marked the beginning of his direct, ongoing and ever-deepening relationship with the Earth, plants, and animals. Nature has been his greatest teacher. Throughout his life, he has cultivated the skills and perspectives necessary to help weave people and the natural world back together, including over twenty years of daily meditation practice.
Owen received a degree in landscape architecture in 1998 and went on to found two landscape design/build companies in the Pioneer Valley – Treefrog Landscapes, Inc. and Abound Design, Inc. He left Treefrog in 2010 and presently runs Abound Design, where he offers residential and institutional design and installation services with a focus on sustainability and low-maintenance design. Owen has accumulated twenty years of experience designing and building gardens as well as training individuals, managing crews and working with volunteers in landscape installations. He regularly facilitates workshops on landscape design, land stewardship and helping others to engage the natural world more deeply. Owen also leads meditation and mindfulness classes and retreats. Owen’s book, “Lawns into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape,” is now available through Stone Pier Press.
Chris Marano, RH, MA, BS, is a community and registered clinical herbalist with a health-care practice in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. His training includes Western, Chinese, and Native American healing modalities. He is founder and head educator of Clearpath School of Herbal Medicine, teaching community herbalism, holistic health, and sustainable, Earth-based practices and land stewardship skills. Chris also teaches herbalism at UMass, maintains educational and actively productive medicine gardens in Montague, MA with his students and volunteers, and provides custom-blended herbal remedies for clients and community from locally grown and wildcrafted plants. His new company, Chrysalis Botanicals, is presently releasing its first product, Lyme Aid.
Chris has degrees in science education and Eastern philosophy from Columbia University, and has over thirty years teaching experience in fields as diverse as biology, ecology, health and wellness, meditation and self-cultivation. He has decades of experience practicing and teaching Chan (Zen) meditation, having studied and co-authored several books with renowned Buddhist master, Venerable Chang Sheng-yen. Additionally, Chris has over twenty-five years experience and practice in Anishinaabe-Ojibwe and Cherokee medicine and ceremony.