Virtual with André Miller

Virtual conversation

Andre Miller is a movement based farmer, personal trainer, and the owner of Roots Movement Farm in Oregon. He has his Masters dregree in Physiology, and Bachelors degrees in both Kinesiology and Philosophy. At Roots Movement Farm, Andre combines his knowledge of movement and philosophy to create a farm where movement and nutritional medicine work together.

Childhood role of movement

Growing up, it was all about sports. Played as many sports as he could, but also worked in the garden doing chores. Mother grew flowers, and he helped with it. Left gardening with a chip on his shoulder; physical labor, hard work. Physical culture of athletics, movement, working out became something different for him, separate from nutrition and food.

Systema

Fortunate to come across systema; previously he was only doing competitive martial arts. Systema “real life” - based on survival, not competitive. Anything in the room is fair game, survival is the goal. But also rooted in deep peace and awareness, also about non-violence and de-escalation, rather than force with force. Viewing the opponent with compassion, concerned with their well being as well; different level of mastery. He had already been shifting away from competitive/fighting arts, and systema aligned with his personal philosophy. Mike Gonzalez of San Antonio Systema introduced him to it, and it was a light bulb moment. Using relaxation to de-escalate, working with gravity instead of against it.

Philosophy

Aha moment of enlightenment leads to following up on philosophy. Mirage of everything coming together. Enlightenment, wisdom as something you can fall in love with, but you have to act without it. Training yourself to act, physically without it. Gaining understanding, manifesting understanding, and acting on it. Be careful what you know; knowledge can be a terrifying burden. Getting knowledge is still important, but it may change or disrupt your life. Switched from biology because he knew too much without the wisdom to act well. Philosophy allows you to do whatever you want to do, better, it teaches you to think. Philosophy formed his foundation for how to think about things, and then he began adding specialties; movement, agriculture, etc. Creating cognitive systems for his processes, and matching with his integrity.

Path to farming and foraging

Changing the way he trained, and slowly changing the way he viewed nutrition, and how he recommended it to clients. Shopping at the farmers market; Slowly realizing that the best way to help people was to become the farmers market, put the produce in their hands. The nutrition needs to be connected to the movement. Self-awareness and efficacy coming naturally, with growth. What began as ultra running training became foraging runs through finding wild food and eating while on his way. Learning where all the plants are. If you don’t want to eat wild plants, you’re not hungry enough. How to start foraging? Working towards inherent knowledge and intuitive body to know what you can and cannot eat, rather than jumping to book recommendations or blogs. Use books to cross check your intuition. Oxygenate, move your body, interact with your environment to help get you curious before doing research. Start identifying what you see on your walks. Saunter: Saint and Terra… holy land. That’s how foraging feels. Go for a walk, just keep walking.

Farming

Not to approach lightly; get outside, where ever you can. Farming is the answer to greater health, environmental solution, social interaction, education, physical movement. Radically changing how we farm; right now, we are trying NOT to farm. Need to farm individually and well. Agro-forestry: food forests, instead of monoculture and tilling. Biggest plot you could handle as a single person? Farming vs foraging? The whole world is a farm, that what foraging is. Expand human consciousness into the world; the whole world is affected by what we do. Start with yourself; mentally, physically, then palnt on your windowsill, then yard. You’ll grow from there. His own land is well underway to being healthy and self sustaining, and now he’s helping to consult and build other people’s gardens. Growing outwards and taking over the world. Best advice: Follow nature’s lead; look at the forests, nothing grows as well. Inclusive (instead of exclusive) agricultural model; we think about getting rid of what isn’t “good.” The forest works differently, including everything, taking the poop to restart the cycle. More life is more life. Try to work with what’s already there. Slug problem, plant more plants rather than killing slugs. Circle back to systema; efficiency of turning your punch back to you.

Reconnecting to the environment

Seeing people shift from the urban rat race; but the ripples only change one person at a time. Walking one person around his garden is more impactful than creating mass media. Personal interaction is the way to enact change, model it. You can really only pull one weed at a time. But many people aren’t conditioned or educated to turn to farmwork; deep human knowledge being lost. Farmers are now educators, in plants, and physicality. Trying to equip the modern human to be able to reconnect with nature, interact with our environment, become robust and anti-fragile.

Contact and further info

You can follow André on instagram (@rootsfit_portland). To find out more about Roots Movement Farm, you can visit their website (rootsmovmentfarm.com) and follow them on instagram (@rootsmovementfarm)

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This was yet another interview that flew past. We had so many different things… I couldn’t figure out where to go next. Definitely changed my perception of what Systema is!

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