In the Beginning
Antinanco was established on March 1, 2015 in Holmdel, NJ. The heartchild of Olga Sher in collaboration with her family and friends, the original vision was to practice, share and advocate for the preservation of Earth-based ways and indigenous traditions that hold the solutions to heal Earth today and for future generations. To this day, Antinanco stays true to its original vision and values.
Before the Beginning
Before Antinanco became the grassroots non-profit that it is today, it operated as a herb and candle shop. During those early days, we had a lot of fun working with bees, boiling beeswax, making candles, collecting and drying plants, and offering workshops about plant medicines, candlemaking, and the wisdom of the beehive.
Our Name And Its Meaning
The name "Antinanco" was gifted to us in 2011 under mysterious circumstances when we were still an herb and candle shop. It has been an honor to accept it and carry out its meaning in the years to come.
In Mapuche, an Araucanian language spoken by indigenous peoples of Chile and Argentina, Antinanco means "Eagle of the Sun." It symbolizes the Great Spirit, the sun at noon, and the ability to rise over mundane restraints into the realm of deeper understanding, mystical awareness and spiritual progress. Antinanco is a great connector. It is adept at hunting and spends little time doing it and very little effort, to find what is needed to fill the empty spaces within. Its' unique vantage point allows him to discover and connect patterns that sometimes are hard to grasp.
Our Work Over The Years
2015 - present - Nature Programs for Children and Adults. The Programs focus on essential nature skills, indigenous ways, basic sustenance needs, survival, safety, herbalism, foraging, plant identification, rites of passage, navigation, orienteering, bush-crafting and woodworking.
2015-2018 - Charitable Sailing Programs for Children. Children learned how to deploy and trim sails, stir the boat, communicate effectively, and how to live off grid in a sustainable way when surrounded by the sea world.
2016 - present - Renewable Energy Programs. We offer education about renewable energies and provide solar set ups to the communities we serve. Among our past and current projects are solar installations for Nature Spirit Libraries, solar outfitting of community vehicles and RVs, solar power station built for the Sacred Mountains Sundance community in Pinon, AZ, powering communal kitchen and MC system, development of solar-powered water pump for elders on the Navajo Nation with no running water at home.
2017 -2019 - Nature Spirit Library Project. Together with children, we built, decorated and installed free wooden library houses in parks and public areas of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The libraries are built with reclaimed wood and upcycled materials, and with solar panels on top, for lights and device charging.
2018-2020 - International Community Service and Exchange Programs for Youth. In 2018, we took our first group of Cuban and American students to Poland for cultural immersion, nature explorations, learning outside of the classroom, and visiting Auschwitz. In the next two years, in collaboration with local communities and indigenous groups, we offered seven more programs in Belize, Cuba, Japan and Poland.
2018 - present - American Chestnut Revival Project. We plant American Chestnut trees and native companion plants on conservation sites in NJ and PA, and research and apply solutions to promote the trees health and growth to develop resistance to the Chestnut blight. During planting events, we offer educational workshops for children and families and encourage them to participate continuously as citizen scientists by recording and sharing their findings throughout the tree planting and growing phases, and by planting trees in their own gardens.
2018 - present - The Food Forest Restoration Project. The project initially focused on restoring the American Chestnut tree, and gradually expanded to other food and medicine producing trees, shrubs and plants.
2020 - present - Turtle Island United Project. Initially known as "Native COVID-19 Response," the Project focused on providing critical aid in response to acute COVID-19 issues that have hit Native American communities hard as a result of Indian Country's economic exclusion and resultant chronic health issues. In 2021, the Project expanded to addressing broader issues of community wellness, health, food sovereignty and security. Currently, Turtle Island United is focused on helping communities to create clean water solutions and food growing initiatives for the future, while integrating nutritious foods, traditional plant medicines, and preventative measures into everyday life.