Jun 28, 2014 07:17AM
Happy July –
This month is all about playing in the dirt and then, enjoying the fruits of your labor. We are focusing on the people and the innovations that ensure that our vegetables, dairy products, fish and meat are produced in a way that promote health and a greener planet. For me, this is personal gardening, which was such a part of my life as a child. My summers spent with grandparents included daily weeding, fresh honey, early apples and an introduction into vegetarianism in the 1960s, when there were few options for those living a meat-free lifestyle.
Every home in which my grandparents lived had a large and thriving garden. The summer bounty included new potatoes with fresh dill and parsley, red ripe tomatoes (because whoever heard of a pink tomato) and enough fish—carefully preserved—to last the whole year. These were the foods by which all food is measured—it needed to be as good as what grandpa and grandma grew.
The domination of agribusiness has taken a toll on our food supply, with its emphasis on growing food fast, rather than for flavor or the nutrients they should provide. In this month's feature, several farming families share their successes in producing food a different way—all sharing in the wisdom of one featured farmer, who noted that it is true that you are what you eat, but more importantly, "you are what you grow." Within the District of Columbia metro area, we have more than 140 farmers’ markets, bringing us food straight from the field to our kitchens. For more information about the local farmers and markets, read Cecelia Gordian's article, this month, on this important component of our food supply in the region.
One significant and growing concern for farmers (and the rest of us) is fracking, which is the process of removing natural gas from the earth. The environmentally unstable practice has become a major industry in many areas of the country. The lightly and unevenly regulated removal processes have endangered farm land and pitted neighbor against neighbor, as discussed this month in Natural Awakenings. My family has a home in northeast Pennsylvania, and we often see heavy trucks on the winding mountain roads and hear from neighbors about concerns for the safety of their drinking water and crops. To learn more about fracking, and how it affects regional farmers and everyone who eats the food they produce, we offer a feature article that explores the issue, this month.
With the summer in full swing, I hope you are taking time to enjoy the bounty of this season and taking joyous time for relaxation with friends and family. And when you go to the local farmers’ market next time, remember these important words: there are only two things that money can't buy—true love and home-grown tomatoes.
Warm wishes, Robin