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June 29, 2017
It Takes a Village
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
If you live alone, hang out by yourself most of the time, or feel lonely even when people are around, your risk of kicking the bucket in the next seven years increases to about 30%. This startling statement in a Wall Street Journal
article this weekend caught my eye. According to Susan Pinker, author of "The Village Effect" (is she married to the guy who wrote the Dorito Effect?) our social habits more accurately predict how long we will live than our eating and exercise habits.
For many of us this news makes us think of aging parents or other elders we know who no lack the gumption to get out and connect with friends or even family. Is it possible that the sky-rocketing rate of dementia in this country connects to a growing isolation of our elders? Is a nursing home the answer? Even residents of retirement facilities can feel very alone, perhaps even more so if they grieve the loss their familiar turf.
"Isolation is the beginning of disease." So stated Malidoma Some, West African shaman and author or several books. Indigenous cultures have known since ancient times the value of a supportive community.
How does this connect to the CSA? First to my mind springs the satisfaction of a shared meal. Does your family sit together and begin the meal together? An article in the Washington Post
highlights a myriad of benefits for families that sit down to a meal together. Young children learn more vocabulary at family dinners than they do from being read to, teens are more likely to get good grades in school and suffer less obesity once they are on their own. Families that eat together tend to eat more fruits and vegetables - have you ever subbed a bowl of cereal for a meal as a loner? Even medical conditions such as asthma were improved by eating together.
The article stresses that the atmosphere is essential. No TV while eating together and parents should be "warm and engaged" versus stern and controlling. I suppose this research has finally put to rest the old adage, "Children are to be seen and not heard."
One of the most interesting and frequent comments on our 2014 survey highlighted the social connection our members get from picking up their box at a communal location. This may vary from site to site, but I was surprised and pleased to see how much people value connecting with other dedicated vegetable eaters. In the flurry of business that seems to be part of everyone's lives these days, it is interesting to note that this small community building activity of the weekly box pick up seems to be worth the extra effort. Perhaps getting a box of food in the mail is easier, but only lends to the nuclear isolation that is plaguing our culture.
So remember that the acronym "CSA" stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Take a moment to connect with your fellow CSA members, and build the community around you. If you prepare your meal together and sit down together, after socializing at your pick up site, maybe you will live a little longer! Especially if you eat your vegetables!
March 13, 2016
A New Project for Women
A Note from Charis
I am sharing an excerpt from my new blog, inviting those of you interested in sustainable living and natural health to join an online community of like-minded women:
"For a long time I have craved community. Women who love plants. Women who want to be outside. Women who believe in making the world a better place. Women who love peace, nature and natural healing. Women who stand up for what they believe in. Women who crave community.
This was the driving force behind the impetus to establish the MidAtlantic Women’s Herbal Conference. I simply wanted a forum close to home where women could support each other in their quest for life purpose and healing with plants. That may sound like a pretty narrow niche, but it has happened. Every autumn when the leaves are falling on the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside more than 200 women gather on a 90 acre farm. Most of these women I only see once a year, at this event, and yet the friendship grows, and the deep connection of sisterhood remains. If you have never partaken in an event such as this, I can only tell you that it feels like coming home. The incredible happiness and enthusiasm of these women radiate a powerful energy of healing, that I hope endures long after the last tent is folded up and put away.
After five years of successful gatherings, I am taking the next step. I am creating an online community, a forum where we can watch the progress of those who are following their dreams, learn from each other, inspire each other, share hopes and dreams.
I am naming this group “Ginger Juice,” mostly because I like the name, I’m passionate about ginger as medicine, and also because it just says something about the fun of getting together. I even had fun creating the logo at GraphicSprings.
For now Ruzuku
will host the group, allowing us to get to know each other and have monthly online “Juice Cafes” where we can talk shop, invite teachers share wisdom and keep the energy going in the right direction.
Do you know anyone who might need this? I am hoping you do! To make the juice, we need the ginger - there ain’t no group, if no one shows up! If you’d like to give this a try, and see if it feels like a fit for you, then join me on this maiden voyage of online community.
The cost to join? FREE! The reason to join? You crave the support and friendship of like-minded women, and you love plants!
What do you get by joining?
- Access to a private Facebook group, where I will be fully present
- Access to an interview of Tammi Sweet - an amazing herbalist and teacher
- Access to a monthly “Juice Cafe,” with guest teachers, Q&A sessions, and who knows what fun?
- The chance to give feedback on our annual gathering, make special requests, and be the first to hear about early registration discounts.
And if you join by March 13
, 11:59pm you will be automatically entered in a raffle for an Herb of the Month Surprise Gift Box!"
January 24, 2015
Sustainable Land Preservation
By Charis Lindrooth
Many of our long-time CSA members remember the Land Project, started five years ago. This began as a fund-raising drive, which helped towards the downpayment for 90 acres in the Lehigh Valley. Initially, a wide open field edged by young tree groves, this new farm needed infrastructure before we could depend on it for vegetable production. We planted a few acres of potatoes the first year and by July the plants were begging for water. We dug a well, but with no electric the potatoes were out of luck. I don’t even want to tell you how much that electric box cost, since our residence is not on the property, but we finally bit the bullet.
This past year we planted 25 acres on the “Land Project,” now nicknamed the “New Farm.” This step was huge and meant that we were’t trying to maintain two crews in two separate counties. Equipment shed, greenhouses, nursery, pack house with a walk-in cooler big enough for an elephant, two wells, a gravel drive. Now we are ready for the next step, a “gutter connect” greenhouse, allowing us to extend our season more reliable beyond and before the first and last frosts. Besides a house on the premises (farmers really should not commute to their farm) we harbor an additional dream for this Farm. That dream is the creation of an educational series for members, children and neighbors interested in sustainable living. I mentioned in the last post the plan to build an earthen oven as a community project. Around this we hope to create a space for Farm to Table dinners, educational classes, live music, and more. We would love your input about your interests. What learning or social opportunities would lure you to visit the farm?