March 2012 Publisher's Letter
My son, Matt, is already looking forward to starting the heirloom tomato seeds for his summer garden. His wife’s grandfather brought these seeds from Italy many years ago for just this purpose—to share his enjoyment of their goodness with future generations. Everyone in our family will join in planting the tiny seeds in small pots we have enthusiastically prepared with organic soil and rooting nutrients. Soon, tiny green shoots will poke through the soil reaching for the light, and the task of nurturing this miracle of life will fall to my two eager grandsons, Colin and Logan.
Each year, their wonderment at the first sign of a tomato vine in June is delightful to see. I wonder just how long this lineage of vine-ripened red tomatoes had been passed along through families like ours. How differently do today’s fruits taste, planted an ocean away from the original? We’re privileged to have access to such varieties and it’s important that we preserve them for future generations.
My own Grandfather was also an avid gardener who, like many from that time, knew how to make the most of New England’s short growing season. He planned the rows to maximize yield from the available plot, but always found room for the roses. During World War II, his Victory Garden successfully supplied the whole family with tasty and nutritious fresh produce and herbs. He didn’t need a war effort to prompt his gardening; he knew that it just made good sense.
The next best thing to cultivating your own garden is finding local farms or markets that offer wholesome regional foods. Attendance at farmers’ markets has risen dramatically this century and is fueling the growth of local farms and niche businesses. How glad we are to hear of new initiatives under the umbrella of Farm to Restaurant, Farm to School and Farm to City programs.
Food trends expert Melinda Hemmelgarn’s feature article, “Changing the Way America Eats,” explains that conscientious food providers don’t have an easy row to hoe, but the grassroots shift to supporting local agriculture is helping to keep these businesses alive and well. When we support these hardworking people who have dedicated their livelihoods on working the good earth, it ensures our present and future access to the rich and diverse lines of heirlooms available to taste and experience.
It’s equally vital that we add our voices to the NO-GMO movement, as well, and tell our representatives we demand a distinct label for foods that contain GMOs. We have a right to know what we are eating! Go to these sites to learn how you can make a difference. Justlabelit.org, organicconsumers.org, seedsofdeception.com, and cornucopia.org.
I know that you will enjoy this issue of Natural Awakenings and hope that you always learn something new and thought provoking from these pages. Planting healthy seeds of knowledge is, to me, the most fulfilling propagation of all.
Peace and plenty,
Don Moore, Publisher