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Back to basics

By Leigh Ann Rutledge
Accent Editor

Renee DeMario
Renee DiMario is shown in her greenhouse with a selection of plants she is growing. At the right front is “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” which will be featured in her seminar May 22 at 6 p.m. at the Carroll County District Library.

Renee DiMario has always felt a connection to the earth.

She wants to share her connection with others and help them enjoy not only a healthy earth, but a healthy lifestyle.  She is holding an informational seminar at the Carroll County District Library May 22 at 6 p.m.  “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” will cover the basics of cooking with herbs and their medicinal purposes.

DiMario, 75, recently constructed a greenhouse on a seven- acre property on Bay Rd., Carrollton, where she lives with her husband, Joe. 

“I am living my dream, trying to be self-sufficient,” she explained.  “It is the nicest thing.”

But it hasn’t been easy. 

When she was a child, DiMario would accompany her dad to gather Morel mushrooms, dandelions, and sassafras root.  Her ancestors were Romanian farmers who came to the United States when they were teenagers and brought their love of the land with them.

She went through a self-proclaimed “dark period” where she spent 10-12 years abusing drugs and alcohol, getting clean and sober at age 47. She began her recovery by getting back to the earth, with help from friends and support groups.  She won a scholarship to Hocking College in Nelsonville and graduated with an associate’s degree in Natural Resources.  While in college, she tended the gardens at the school and often dressed in character for living history sessions.

During one of the first classes she attended at Hocking College, she heard a quote by Barry Commoner, a well-known biologist who said, “Everything is connected to everything else.”  Suddenly she saw how the environment was being misused and began growing her own herbs, flowers and vegetables.  She and Joe also raise bees and use the honey.

Renee is constantly reading and researching how to help the earth and herself.  The seminar will show the public how to use herbs in cooking, how beet greens can be used in salads, and will talk about heirlooms seeds and plants.

DiMario recycles and composts at her home.  She eventually wants to hold nature walks at her home showing visitors yarrow, apple mint, myrtle, basil, and more plants around her greenhouse.  She is in the process of building an herb drying room in the greenhouse with shelves with screened trays and a sink.

“We all need to be proactive about our health and get conscious about growing our own food and using organic compost,” she explained.  “It is responsible living.  If I don’t take care of my body, where am I going to live?”

Pre-registration is not required for DiMario’s seminar.  For questions or more information, call the Carroll County District Library at 330-627-2613.


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