America has the finest high-tech medical care in the world. If a person is in an accident, the emergency care is exemplary. We also have dedicated, energetic scientists working hard to develop new treatments every day.
I think one area we have not fully accessed is nature and indigenous knowledge. There is still a place for science within this realm, working in harmony with the natural world and people who live in close communion with it to learn from them how we too can do so more gracefully. Preventative health care begins with focusing on sustainable agriculture. This will also help stabilize the climate and prevent war, as hungry people are more belligerent. If you think I am joking, try fasting and working at the same time, and see how long you last.
Traditional crossbreeding of plants is safer and wiser than genetic engineering. Researching and testing the most reliable healing plants and fruits in each region of the earth provides a fertile field for academic and commercial institutions. If we try to leave nature behind, we will not get far, as evidenced by our current state of crisis.
For example, blackberries are incredibly healthy. They grow wild all over the Pacific Northwest of the United States. There is a wonderful blackberry breeding program at Oregon State University that has developed a number of delicious (thornless even!) blackberry varieties. If everyone in this region had a blackberry bush or free blackberries available, many health concerns could be assuaged. Daily berries (in season) really do make a difference in health. Blueberries could be cultivated freely throughout the Northeast. Mangos, avocados, and peaches can be grown in the warmer regions of the country. People’s health is in part determined by the quality of their food and drink. Organic farming will restore the land.
Before you protest and say this will never happen—asserting that we have public space set aside for nature and parks, but only planted with ornamentals—get a load of what the city of Seattle is doing!
In the neighborhood of Beacon Hill a seven acre plot is being planted with grapes, apples, raspberries, blueberries, pears, plums, pineapple, guava, persimmons, and other fruit trees, as well as herbs, chestnuts, and walnuts! It is called the Beacon Food Forest, and was designed in 2009 by students in a permaculture class. beaconfoodforest.weebly.com
The trial plot of two acres is being planted this summer, with the remaining five acres to be completed at a later date. This will be a true, sustainable food bank! Here is a video showing the first plantings:
The founding members of the project hope to educate the community of the benefits of permaculture through the site. Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect, states, “This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park!”
Jenny Pell, permaculturist, explains, “People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries?’ That could very well happen, but maybe someone needed those blueberries. We look at it this way—if we have none at the end of blueberry season then it means we’re successful.”
Local residents have been enthusiastically pitching in and signing up with comments like, “Put me to work – I can’t wait to get my hands dirty,” and, “Let me know when I can show up with my wheelbarrow.” Help with propagating, mulching, and pruning is welcomed. “People will come in and for example help cut the raspberries back and then be able to take home five or ten raspberry plants to put in their own backyard!” proclaims Pell.
“When we met with all the different people from the community, what they wanted actually was fruits and berries and big nut trees- that was their biggest request. So, we’re looking at paths with berry bushes on both sides, and we’re going to have mixed fruit orchards, and big nut orchards. It will be the largest food forest on public lands in the United States.”
A couple of other folks worldwide have been at the forefront of this movement to get free produce to everyone while reforesting the earth. Kenya’s Queen of the Trees Professor Wangari Maathai inspired the planting of 47 million trees in Kenya and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to “sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Her vision of environmental stewardship rather than plunder of natural resources (which has been the accepted norm) has inspired many people. She especially encouraged women to plant trees, beginning the www.Greenbeltmovement.org in 1977.
When she started her work, Professor Maathai saw that “behind the everyday hardships of the poor—environmental degradation, deforestation, and food insecurity—were deeper issues of disempowerment, disenfranchisement, and a loss of the traditional values that had previously enabled communities to protect their environment, work together for mutual benefit, and to do both selflessly and honestly.”
Simply put, Professor Maathai said, “If you destroy the forest then the river will stop flowing, the rains will become irregular, the crops will fail and you will die of hunger and starvation… We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk.”
Anthony Anderson of www.growparadise.com states, “When we realize that we can quite easily and quickly begin to grow paradise right where we live, our power returns to us! Growing paradise requires nothing but the spirit of love and growth within us. We invite you to become a part of this, whether directly or by spreading the ideas and growing paradise in your own backyard and local community. Grow paradise. It is ours if we really want it.” He has seeded food forests in Minnesota, California, Arizona, and Cape Town, South Africa.
David Wolfe started the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation www.ftpf.org, which is a nonprofit charity dedicated to planting 18 billion organic fruit trees to “benefit the environment and all its inhabitants!”
“We envision a place where one can have a summer picnic under the shade of a fruit tree, breathe the clean air it generates, and not have to bring anything other than an appetite for the healthy fruits growing overhead. A world where one can take a walk in the park during a lunch break, pick and eat a variety of delicious fruits, plant the seeds so others can eventually do the same and provide an alternative to buying environmentally-destructive, illness-causing, chemically-laden products.”
A pioneer in community agriculture, Farmer John of www.angelicorganics.com states, “Agriculture is an underpinning of our culture. The irrepressibility of life on a farm continually manifests in myriad splendid expressions of life. This glorious unfolding provides us with the sustenance of food, while endlessly nourishing the creative spirit.”
I am very grateful for the amazing hospitals and health care workers we have in this country. They are overburdened, however, because of a lack of preventative and conservational care. With a focus on collective, populist, sustainable agriculture to grow healthy food and medicine for all, chronic disease will diminish, as much chronic degenerative disease is caused by diet and stress related to survival. Food is our first primary need. A plant-based diet is advocated as a foundation for health by leading physicians like Dr. Oz, Dr. Weil, Dr. Chopra, and Dr. Mcdougall.
Combining the skills of doctors, nurses, herbalists, midwives, doulas, shamans, gardeners, farmers, artists and other healers in the community, medicine can evolve beyond a solely symptoms-oriented approach to exploring the source, the roots of imbalance and disease. To do this we must look for help toward our origin and our sustenance – the earth.
For those interested in getting closer to the earth in the LA area and visiting the local farms, go to www.pickyourown.org/CAla.htm.
By Ashley H.
1. Blazing a Trail for a Better Bounty of Oregon Berries. (2011, July 26). Retrieved from www.oregonlive.com.
2. Seattle Food Forest. (2012, March 9). Retrieved from www.loe.org.
3. Husted, K. (2012, March 1). Seattle’s First Urban Food Forest will be Open to Foragers. Retrieved from www.npr.org.
4. Leschin-Hoar, B. C. (1, February 2012). It’s Not a Fairytale: Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest . Retrieved from www.takepart.com.
You just have to browse the web or your nearest book store to see the world is obsessed with dieting. Yet if statistics are accurate, were not just tipping the scales, were on our way to breaking them. It has taken many of us years of restrictions and meal replacements to figure it out: diets dont work.
From calorie counting to cutting out carbs, a Pandoras Box awaits those who still dare to follow the latest diet craze. Yet achieving and maintaining your ideal figure is actually more simple than what weve been lead to believe-and it comes with a bonus: vibrant health.
We were going to highlight some great blogs that are dedicated to raw chocolate in all its healthful glory. Perhaps there arent too many around or we just got too hungry during our search and gave up too soon. The latter is undeniably true.
We also wanted to write something about chocolate, but, to tell you the truth, all we can do think about is eating it. So, the best option is to share a recipe from one of our fave and oft-visited raw food blogs, The Raw Chef. Oh, and a great book from David Wolfe thats dedicated to this widely adored, yet sometimes misused, food: Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About the Worlds Greatest Food.
Chocolate Torte with Whipped Cashew Cream
For the base
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon melted cacao butter
1 teaspoon agave
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until they bind.
- Press into a 9″ springform cake pan and place in the fridge to set.
For the filling
1 cup Irish Moss paste*
1 cup cashews
1 1/2 cups cacao powder
3 cups grated or chopped cacao butter which has then been melted
1 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon tamari
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and pour on top of the base.
- Leave in the fridge to set.
*Irish Moss paste can be made by soaking 1 cup Irish Moss in water for 3 – 5 hours and rinsing THOROUGHLY until rinse water turns clear (therell be a lot of sand in the moss). Then blend the rinsed moss with 2 cups pure water in a Vita-Mix until completely smooth. Leave to set in the fridge if not using straight away.
Chefs tip: Add 1 drop of peppermint essential oil to the filling mixture for a mint chocolate variation.
For the cream topping
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours or more
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons Irish Moss paste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon macadamia oil (optional)
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
- Serve with chocolate torte and fresh berries.
I used to wish I could pick up just one book and read it from cover to cover before I’d think about reaching for the next. I recently came to terms with the fact that’s never going to happen. It’s simply my nature to read five (or six) at once. I love the library and, even though I’m 30-something, I still think it’s cool you can borrow books for free. When you think about it, no matter how low on cash one becomes, there’s always that big room with its wall-to-wall of inspiration and education. One’s never poor when there’s a library around!
So here’s a rundown on what’s lying around on my nightstand, coffee table, kitchen table and work desk right now…
Huffington Post contributor Kirby follows three families and communities whose lives are devastatingly changed by massive neighbouring animal farms. The factories confine thousands of animals in small spaces-intolerable conditions that also generate huge volumes of fecal and biological waste and toxins. The author is invited into the homes of the people whose lives are destroyed by these Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: a North Carolina fisherman takes on pig farms upstream to preserve his river, his family’s life and his home. A mother in a small Illinois town pushes back against an out-sized dairy farm, while a Washington State grandmother becomes an unlikely activist when her home is covered with soot and her water supply is compromised.
Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
I like Gary Vaynerchuck. I like his energy and his philosophy. His marketing strategy is a simple one: to care. Care about your customers, your readers, with everyone you interact with online. He’s a master of social networking and is fueled by passion for what he does (namely wine and business development). No matter what your passion may be, Gary teaches you can make it your life’s (paid) work if you’ll put in the work. His infectious energy may not be to everyone’s liking, but the fact he’s a success from living his passion makes this one book worth checking out, especially if you want to live your passion too.
Self-confessed beauty junkie Deborah Burnes gets right down to the nitty gritty of what toxins are lurking in every day beauty products, shares secrets on how to look past the hype and recipes to make your own beauty products straight from your kitchen pantry (note: some ingredients aren’t vegan so I’d advise against those). I like this book for many reasons-the main one being Deborah has done all the dirty work for you. She also shares some great hints and tips on how to assess what products deliver the promises and those that are certain to toxify your body.
Eating For Beauty by David Wolfe
No matter what we put on our skin in the effort to make ourselves beautiful, it’s not going to do a thing if we’re not beautiful on the inside. In Eating for Beauty, raw food guru David Wolfe takes you through all of the amazing natural foods that work internal wonders-foods that have been known for thousands of years to promote inner beauty and good health. He also talks about the concept of beauty, where it came from and why it’s so important to us. If you’re interested in understanding how to achieve real beauty, this is a book to buy not borrow.
How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth Edited by John E. Wade II
This is a book authored by 101 most prestigious thinkers, writers, public figures and luminaries of our time. From Marianne Williamson to Barack Obama, each tackle the question of how to achieve heaven on earth. To quote Martin Luther King, Jr: “We must reaffirm our commitment to non-violence. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.”
They say one good deed leads to another. The Dove Project is a series of questions, passed on, by each interviewee, to the person they believe is doing their part to ensure a greener, healthier future, through action and inspiration. Join us as we share earth-loving information courtesy of those who have taken it upon themselves to believe, through action and leading by example, that one person can truly make a difference.
Name: Tricia Mazure
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA