“Fruit is nature’s purest and most immediate enjoyment, requiring nothing more than a rinse or simple rub on your shirt to clean it. From the fruit-eater’s point of view, it’s effortless pleasure. It demands non of the slicing, chopping soaking, or parboiling needed by vegetables. Even on a chemical level, its energy is more accessible, more mobile, with no complex starches to break down.” (MK Wyle in Greenhorns: The next generation of American Farmers, pg 97)
Improved Well-Being Linked to Growing Your Own
This will come as a surprise to no one, connecting to nature creates improved well-being. Research has repeatedly shown that sensory gardens and the practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing practiced in Japan), for example, have direct positive effects on emotional, cognitive and physiological well-being. So when I came upon a recent article from the Washington Post extolling the wonders and scientifically-proven benefits of involving children in gardening: building microbiomes, better attention skills and patience, trying the fruit and vegetables they helped to nurture along and growing happier and healthier kids overall, I wanted to share it and add to it. In my opinion, not only is growing food good for the individual, it is good for community and humanity; developing understanding, empathy, and compassion are direct side-effects of growing and sharing food.
It is encouraging to see that growing food as a family is becoming more common, again. As we pat ourselves on the back for reaching this get-back-in-the-garden milestone, it is important to remember that most of the world (other than North America) still grows its own food, as well as the food to satiate the ever expanding North American appetite. Families used to grow their own food in North America and Europe in the not-so-distant past. It’s what they needed to do in order to have something to eat. It’s important to not forget that growing our own food is not a new lofty ideal, it is imperative for health, food security and environmental regeneration.
In a recent book I read, Greenhorns: The next generation of American farmers, 50 new generation farmers discussed their modern day challenges with feeding the North American inflated expectations that fly directly in the face of growing food naturally and in sync with nature.
“In our supermarket culture, fruit has become so visual, so linked to beauty and perfection, that people ignore the fundamental paradox of modern fruit production – high levels of chemical are the cost of unscathed, ‘perfect-looking’ fruit. In pursuit of this ideal, we’ve lost a sense of what good fruit might actually look like, cosmetic imperfections and all.” (pg 98)
Greenhorns: The Next Generation of American Farmers <br>50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement by Zoe Ida Bradbury (2012-05-08)
Can’t Grow? Help instead!
I am a huge advocate of growing our own food, regenerating soil, getting the whole family involved in the process, sharing the food we grow with neighbours and others who face food insecurity.
I am a big believer in ‘real food is medicine‘ – preventative medicine. The more we are in tune with Nature and eat what Nature provides, the more we may improve our body’s functioning, mental clarity and overall well-being.
If you are not able to grow your own, support those who can and who are growing their own.
- Contribute water to the community garden,
- Buy seeds for those who share their garden bounty with you,
- Share saved seeds,
- Buy a bag of organic worm castings to help your neighbour’s garden grow,
- Volunteer to glean your neighbour’s apple, cherry or pear trees.
- Learn about regenerative gardening and growing practices (e.g, permaculture) See the short video below…education is power.
Teach your whole family to be a part of the locally sourced, regenerative gardening/farming and organic food solution in what ever way, big or small. Teach your children about the importance of healthy soil, rampant food insecurity and how to create meaningful change in this world.