Home >> Newsletters > GreenFriends Newsletters > > Q1 2023 Newsletter

Home Source Reduction Friends of Green Friends Newsletters
Gardening Resources What You Can Do Embracing The Trees
Turtle Barn Organic Farm Loaves and Fishes Story

Turtle Barn Organic Farm in Edmond, Oklahoma has its own yearly version of the "loaves and fishes" story from the Bible. The "loaves and fishes" story refers to when Christ fed a large crowd with a small basket consisting of a few loaves of bread and a small quantity of fish. The food in the basket miraculously multiplied to feed several hundred people. In a similar manner, Turtle Barn Organic Farm started with just a few plants that have miraculously multiplied into a bounty that has been offered to local residents, churches and community organizations. We hope sharing our story will give you ideas for sharing nature’s bounty in your yard.

Digging pink shamrock
Digging pink shamrock
Besides growing fruits and vegetables, for many years, Turtle Barn Organic Farm hosts “Free Tree and Plant Adoptions” in March. We send an email inviting people in our community, friends, and family to visit and adopt some of our extra green friends.

People are so appreciative of our offerings. They know the trees and plants we share will grow in our climate. We’ve found many people want to pay for the plants. We suggest they donate to the Embracing the World charity and include the website for donations in the email we send.

From one Hardy Hibiscus Rose of Sharon Tree (bush) planted in 2002, we now have more than can be counted! We have enough two-foot seedlings each year to share 150 with a local church youth camp, another 75 with a church for gifts for Mother’s Day, and more than 60 to share with friends.

Rose of Sharon getting transplanted
Rose of Sharon getting transplanted

We especially love adopting Hibiscus Tree seedlings out to caring, adoptive homes. Our first hibiscus tree was dug from our parents’ home. My father was born in 1916 and is long gone, yet his prized hibiscus trees live on and continue to feed bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. They delight people with their beauty and hardiness.

Some of the other jewels from my father’s garden that flourish on the farm and give us many extras to share every year are his Yellow Cannas, 4 O’clocks and Irises. Many of these are old, prized heirloom varieties that are not easily found these days. People may also take cuttings of our heirloom rose bushes and Forsythia to root at their homes.

We originally adopted some plants from friends’ gardens; and now we have extra that can share (pay it forward). Nature loves to share her gifts and bounty and we do, too.

Last year, we added a new adoption option. There is a saying that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating ‘stuff’ and the second half of our lives getting rid of it. We are in our 70’s and spent much of last spring letting go of books, clothing and items we knew we’d no longer use. We included this in our adoptions. Our unneeded ‘stuff’ was adopted by someone else. One person’s junk is another person’s jewel.


There is a similar sharing and donation table in front of the Amritapuri temple composed of items others no longer need that are being recycled. San Ramon has Gopi’s Emporium on the walk up to the temple, which sells used items, and Kalika’s Amma resale shop is always a hit on Amma’s North American tour.

Perhaps our adoptions will inspire you with ideas for sharing. So many of the valuable tree seedlings that come up every spring in our yards are pulled up as if they were weeds. Let’s share nature’s bounty with others and not destroy trees and plants that are so needed to help our environment.

Here is an excerpt from a recent email promoting our many plant adoptions:


We have many free plants, trees and over 300 books that need caring adoptive homes! Come dig plants to adopt at Turtle Barn Organic Farm. Saturdays in March and April between 10 a.m. and noon. Adopt saplings, plants and books. We have tools you can borrow to dig up plants to take home. Bring plastic tubs, boxes and buckets to safely transport your adopted plants. Some of the plants up for adoption are: (All are perennials) Research on Google for photos, sun and water needs)

  • Redbud tree saplings
  • Oak seedlings
  • Native Persimmon seedlings
  • Elm seedlings
  • Small Redbud trees and Mulberry trees
  • Hardy Hibiscus Trees (shrubs)
  • Rose of Sharon bushes
  • Native Ferns
  • Four O'Clocks plants with red flowers
  • Vinca with blue flowers
  • Orange Day Lilies
  • Lily of the valley
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Privet bushes
  • Shamrock plants with pink flowers
  • Chocolate mint, apple mint and spearmint
  • Cilantro
  • Comfrey
  • Chives
  • Lemon Balm
  • Honeysuckle
  • Yellow Cannas
  • Yellow mounding Black-eyed Susan's
  • Herb seeds
  • Jerusalem Artichoke tubers
  • Pampas Grass
  • Banana Tree Pups
  • Cuttings of several varieties of houseplants
  • Extra lettuce starts

All are free and need caring, adoptive homes.

if you want, you can donate directly to Amma's charitable activities at: https://donate.amma.org/

For information about Amma's worldwide charitable activities go to: https://www.embracingtheworld.org

Digging out strawberries
Adopted seedlings
Digging out strawberries
Adopted seedlings
While Turtle Barn Organic Farm’s free plant offering may not be quite as miraculous as the Loaves and Fishes, it is still miraculous that all of these plants not only grow but proliferate to the extent that we have so many to give away each year. And what greater gift is there to give away living things for free?

Anaswara Sue Tarr – Edmunds, Oklahoma

Read a Response to the Water Bucket Challenge in the Q4 2022 Newsletter >>


Home Source Reduction Friends of Green Friends Newsletters Resources What You Can Do Contact Us

For more information, e-mail info@greenfriendsna.org