We recently devoted a Saturday to an organic farm tour, sponsored by our local co-ops. When I saw the flyer, I immediately knew this was a timely and must-do adventure. On the designated day, we began with a local urban mushroom farm and ended with a small, family owned organic farm located a little over an hour south of the cities.
My earliest awareness of the connection of the food we eat and its potential impact on our health came when I was a young child. My sister and I fondly remember our Father reiterating, “Your body is a temple and you must honor it by eating healthy!”
My father’s advice took on additional meaning when I was a young mother and read a nutrition book entitled, “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit” by Adelle Davis. It made me aware of the high salt content, refined sugars, pesticides, growth hormones, preservatives and other additives present in the excessive processing of our foods. I began to change how I shopped for groceries and prepared meals for my young family. My first food co-op experience was going to the home of nearby neighbor who started a co-op in their garage. The only thing I remember of that experience is bringing sterilized glass jars to fill with natural peanut butter. At that time, I was sprouting my own bean sprouts and making yogurt from scratch. We had also planted a large vegetable garden in our back yard. During that period, a nearby church opened a food co-op in a small red house on their property. As a member, I wrapped cheese every Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. That little co-op is what we now know as Lakewinds.
When I began reading Adelle Davis, my study of Feng Shui was many years in the future. When that time did come, I learned our kitchen, after our entryway, is the second most important room in the house. The Chinese attach great importance to the kitchen and revere the cook. The kitchen is the room in which the cook prepares the food that fuels our energy (Chi) and nourishes us spiritually and emotionally. Of course, in an ancient agrarian culture, the food was raised, grown and prepared by the people who owned the land; there were no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Food was inherently healthy! And to keep it healthy from land to table, the ancient practice of Feng Shui advises us to be mindful of our personal energy during food preparation. Why? It is believed the energy of your mood is absorbed by the food you are preparing and affects everyone who partakes of it! If you are upset, angry or sad, avoid preparing food for yourself or for your family! Now that is food for thought!
Of course that ancient wisdom was based on food preparation from scratch at home and over an open fire. Since, we’ve moved from open fire to gas stoves to electric ranges to microwaves. We moved from locally grown food to grocery stores where packaged and frozen foods became available. We became accustomed to the “convenience” of pre-prepared, fast foods and supermarkets, where almost anything we desire to eat is available from almost anywhere in the world, prepared by unknown people in unknown environments. Many of us have been eager participants in this “luxury” until, that is, our awareness of the connection of the food we eat and its impact on the health of our bodies and our environment began to filter back in.
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”–Brillat-Savarin
Two blogs from modernpioneermom.com. provide fascinating reading on the history of processed foods from the 1910s to the 1950s and from the 1960s to today.
Recently, when talking with a local butcher at a major grocery store, I expressed concern about what humanely raised and cage free labels really mean and if we can trust them. Unfortunately, he reinforced that concern! But, as luck would have it, the opportunity to tour the organic farms presented itself, affording the opportunity to learn first hand what organic, humanely raised and cage free look like.
We began our tour at Mississippi Mushrooms.This urban farm is fascinating and, fortunately, they are open to the public Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 to 2:00. If you love mushrooms, this is a must visit!
From there we visited two additional farms and were absolutely delighted to meet young farm families committed to growing and raising healthy, sustainable food. We saw chickens provided with lots of room to free range, not on gravel, but on vegetation. We were introduced to hogs that have their own names. Touring the farms and hearing the passion of the farmers for creating “real food” reinforced our intention to support our local food co-ops and farmer’s markets. For specific information, check out TC Farm.
Having an opportunity for a behind the scenes tour of what sustainable, humane, organic farming actually looks like was both eye opening and encouraging. I am grateful to all small farmers who are committed to providing us a powerful source of energy to fuel and nourish our Chi! Please support them! The quality of our lives, and our planet, depends on it!