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Eat local

Eating locally and in season

Friday, August 24, 2012 by: Sherry L. Ackerman, Ph.D.
Tags: eat local, seasonal foods, farmers markets

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(NaturalNews) The idea of eating locally and in-season just makes sense. Foods that grow locally are produced in the very same environment in which we are nested. It's quite likely, thus, that they contain the essential micro-nutrients that, quite naturally, work well for us. The "in-season" concept, in fact, makes more and more sense when we start to really study nature. Think about it: in the Spring, after a long Winter's nap, Mother Nature cranks out voluminous amounts of milk and eggs - all high protein foods that are needed to sustain the increased activity level of longer days. She also produces vast amounts of chlorophyll rich greens - again, delivering vital nutrients for high energy needs. Then, as Fall begins to creep in, She ripens fruit - lots of it - to supply that last little burst of bustle before our long Winter's nap. There's a lot to get done before we don our long-johns and sit by the fire, sipping teas (that we wildcrafted all Summer), resting on our laurels. And, that fructose is there, custom made, to fuel us up for the last wood-stacking, garden harvesting and livestock chores. And let's not overlook how incredibly easy it is to store fruit for Winter use - dehydrated, canned, frozen, root cellared, cold storage - and how well it keeps long into the blustery season.

There is also the fact that fruit is plentiful - and that much of it goes to waste annually from simply not being harvested. In most towns, there are vacant lots full of apple, plum, elderberry and pear trees. Blackberries grow wild along roadsides. Rosehips are everywhere. Old, abandoned orchards dot the countryside and wild counterparts of many domesticated strains pop up everywhere. But, very few people pick the fruit. Much of it falls to the ground and rots, while countless people go hungry.

There are a lot of reasons for this, notwithstanding the main one - that people have become incredibly divorced from nature. They get fruit at a grocery store, not from a tree or bush. People say things like "they don't have time" to go pick some fruit or "they feel uncomfortable" (can you say, outside of their comfort zone) harvesting wild fruits. Some people worry about being viewed as "strange or eccentric" if they are out in nature, picking wild fruit. All of these perceptions are products of commercial conditioning. They are not natural or unconditioned thoughts. We are part of nature. She has fed us since the beginning of time. Let's face it: supermarkets are a relatively new invention, in the bigger scheme of things.

I wildcraft a lot of fruit every Fall. I really enjoy doing it. It puts me back in touch with the hunter-gatherer consciousness and I feel very much a part of Mother Nature. It also ignites an incredible gratitude in me toward nature. I really see Her power, Her bounty, Her resilience. As I pick, I watch the geese form early formations to head south. I notice that the angle of the afternoon sun has changed and that the golden light is more pronounced through the tree branches than it is in the heat of the Summer. I feel like I'm doing something worthwhile when I share the fruit with others. I make applesauce and berry pies.

And, I feel very, very alive!

About the author:
Sherry L. Ackerman, Ph.D., is a socially engaged philosopher and cultural sustainability advocate. Her new book, The Good Life: How to Create a Sustainable and Fulfilling Lifestyle explores critical issues from this perspective. At the end of each chapter is a list of things that you can do to create a more sustainable, healthier lifestyle. For more information: http://www.sherryackerman.com

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