April 2011 Publisher Letter
Each spring I rejoice when the end of winter migrations return the birds to our area and feel grateful for their safe journeys. Strolling through a local park where I live in, I was thrilled to spot two young red-tailed hawks perched high on a limb, one clutching twigs and straw for a nest in his talons. At that moment, as I stood transformed, my son called me on my cell phone to tell me he had just seen a bald eagle’s eyes spotting him while passing overhead where he works in Mt. Laurel.
While our wondering eyes beheld these beautiful raptors, we bonded in a deep way, connecting with the magic of nature through their point of view. That flood of good feelings still lingers, reinforcing what I know for sure: You must keep your head up and your eyes open to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you; otherwise, you might miss it.
Spring’s blooming bulbs and bursting buds sweetly carry us along in hope and excitement that we will finally spend more time outside, working in the yard, hiking, escaping to the Jersey shore or just sitting quietly in the backyard soaking in the sunshine. But local farmers have been outside for weeks, planting and preparing for the short growing season.
I am looking forward to May when the farmers’ markets open. It is fun to feel the energy of fellow shoppers while scanning the colorful tables to find seasonal favorites. Buying locally makes more than good economic sense; it gives an effective collective push towards larger sustainable living. When we support these local growers we support our health by ensuring the availability of fresh homegrown produce and products, especially those that are organic. We also promote farming as a viable living; as more growers join in, we play an important part in creating a thriving community where good healthy food is available for all.
John Ivanko’s article, “The Power of Permaculture,” points out how everyone can participate in this hopeful movement at a grassroots level. This new-old idea demonstrates how people can learn to live a self-reliant life, while contributing to the well-being of the larger community. Permaculture’s working blueprint for ways to live harmoniously with nature and its diverse life enables ongoing years of productively fertile soil and well-fed families.
Diversity in agriculture was commonplace 100 years ago. Monocultures are a modern phenomenon created by overzealous agribusiness that seeks volume yields at a high cost to the health of the environment we all rely on to sustain us. For too long, America has ignored the fact that monoculture is unsustainable, and we are paying price in depletion of our land. So vote with your pocketbook in support of local farmers that embrace sustainable practices.
Also find something to plant yourself to eat. There is nothing like going outside and picking that first fruit of the season. The satisfaction that comes with that first bite makes gardening well worth the effort.
Don Moore, Publisher