The World beckons us on! So, let us take a look at what we can do individually and as a community on a practical level to take a step in the direction of a more conscientious, natural, and healthy world to co-inhabit.
You Are the Center of your Universe, Wake up and Take Control of Your Life and Health! Industrial food is close to being a lump of dead organic matter, the decay of which made invisible through chemical preservatives and artificial coloring. Most beneficial Active Enzymes in our Foodstuffs have been killed through prolonged refrigeration, and are already close to non-extant through the Processing of modern Chemical-intensive Agriculture; and Increasingly, Health Detrimental Genetically Modified Crop Cultivation. Buying into this, is (perhaps unwittingly) supporting it, and slowly destroying your own health, as well as that of our planet.
Now going Organic is something that needs some elucidation. Many facets of the Green movement have already been commodified and co-opted by those seeking profit, which really just means we should understand what is what, and what is good. Now many have made a fortune from the Organic food Boom, however in reality the fundamental principles of the ways of cultivation don’t differ that much from Industrial production. It’s still the same Monocultural Energy Intensive, added (Organic) Fertilizer, ploughing and tilling the soil (destroying the soil life and its capacities to retain nutrient, water, and gasses). What Organic should mean is Locally Grown, Low Energy Produced, Non Treated freshly consumed Produce; Natural Food.
So the very first step is to become aware of your Food, and realize that a revolution in the way we perceive, cultivate and consume our foods is an evolution toward individual and societal health. Some basic Health Insight: Like the soil, our bodies prefer a certain pH balance between acidic and alkaline to thrive. In the case of the human body this balance is tipped to the alkaline side of the scale, around pH 7.352, give or take a thousandth of a point. 🙂 Most bodies have acidic pH’s, brought on by bad eating habits, irregular Lifestyles, and Stress. Cancers thrive in acidic bodies, oxygen is less easily absorbed which in turn impairs vital bodily functions. Fatigue, listlessness, depression and disease thrive. To maintain a healthy pH, any diet should consists at least of 50% naturally grown, fresh, preferably raw, preferably green, vegetables, or 80% of Alkalinizing Food stuffs. Try eating a red raw organic bell-pepper in the morning for breakfast instead of a cigarette and coffee, and let yourself be surprised by the intensity and richness of its flavors, delight in its sensual sweetness, and wholesomely invigorating juice. Try Carrots as snacks, and expand on your salad Repertoire! Once you go for the Arugula, nuts, vinegar, and other fresh veggies you won’t want to go back!!! Add in some exercise and your world becomes more clear and more meaningful by the day.
In addition a shift to local/own organic produce means going from a centralized food economy, which relies on large amounts of energy to produce and transport large amounts of low quality produce, profiting unethical big corporations, and allowing out of control hazardous and unhealthy practices; to a decentralized food economy, which is less energy intense, higher in quality and empowers the community. In essence then it means that we have to Occupy our food, in the way we consume, as described above, but also in the way we produce.
This is where the hardcore Permaculture Design comes in. Yeah!! 🙂 We will shortly discuss two modes of food production in which all of us can take part: individual and communal. Food Production is a challenging endeavor that comes with huge rewards; physical rewards in terms of abundant and healthy food, and spiritual rewards in terms of working with and caring for the natural environment. Engaging your own food, then becomes a great body, mind, and soul work-out!!
In the best case scenario you have a front and/or backyard available with plenty of sunlight. In that case you have all the conditions to start your self-sufficient food garden. Make raised beds to plant your crops, or Hugle Kultur Beds if you have wood lying around, or wicking beds if you have a scarcity of water. Plant polycultures of vegetables, add berries, medicinals, and aromatics to your liking; employ climbers, creepers, herbs, bushes, and trees; mix brassica veggies with root crops and wild edibles, get into square foot gardening, consult companion planting tables to achieve the best mixes of biodiversity, intersperse plants that attract predatory beneficial insects, plant fast growing fodder trees and plants, to create shade and build organic matter, compost everything you can lay your hands on, start a worm-farm bin, and start thinking about perennial crops that will take away the need for the more labor intensive annual crops over time.
Permaculture Design will give you the tools you need to find ways to make use of your rainwater, to deal with sheet run-off from flash rains, to take into account the prevailing winds, the direction and duration of sunlight, and compensate for the extremities of your specific climate. Your system will become more and more intense, accumulating the amount of beneficial connections between all the elements in your garden, creating more niches for life and diversity to thrive. Perhaps you’ll notice that you have a lot of birds around; make perches and birdhouses that will accommodate these awesome creatures, for many of them will help you with pests while they give their fertile excrement to your soil.
Perhaps you only have a balcony or very small space outside. Make use of the vertical space! Make some trellises, let those beans and peas run! Kiwi’s climb, cucumbers climb, grapes climb, you can even trellis squashes and melons, zucchini’s and tomatoes. Use every viable space and create an intensive system. You have a lot of shade? Many things grow in the shade, many lettuces and brassicas! You’re in the cold? Use cold-frames, make small poly-tunnels, solutions abound just open your mind and experiment!
Other things to consider is greening your living spaces, some varieties of plants have special high oxygen producing qualities and will filter the air from dust particles. Many kitchen herbs do very well by the window sill, and if you have large windows you can install self-made vertical gardens. If you’re really pressed for light indoors get up on your apartment roof and Occupy IT! 🙂
Of course, it is not easy to create a self-sufficient food system in the city by ourselves. The solution to this problem is manyfold as well. Many farmers suffer from the competition Big Agri imposes on them, many would love to farm organically. By starting Community Supported Agriculture schemes (CSA’s), we can together pool money to buy organic produce from local farmers, having enough subscribers will make it worth their effort, providing them with stable income, while they accommodate our food supply. You can even pay the farmer to keep chickens for you or other animals.
Really, we need to convene and set-up more community gardens. In my view, community gardens are the means by which we can really empower ourselves, and become independent of our reliance on industry, while at the same time strengthening our communities and local economies. Community gardens allow for more wholesome production, and communal participation distributes the labour. They act as educational hubs, and social meeting places. All that’s needed is a small core group of dedicated people. How many retired people feel socially disconnected from their environment? How many youths feel alienated by modern society? How many kids don’t have a safe place to play and learn from nature? How many adults feel grey and utterly devoid of purposefulness in their regular jobs? Here in the Community Garden we can all come together, learn about and from each other, we can create jobs for teachers and people with a craft or skill, or even jobs in the form of added value food processing, i.e. making our community jams, or dried fruits, culinary and medicinally beneficial herbs etc. Here while we re-learn the simple things in life that are most rewarding, the value of life itself, and the gifts of health and balanced living, we can enjoy the humbling experience of receiving from nature and the intense pleasure of giving back to her. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out!! :p
Stay Tuned for More In-Depth Methods Techniques and Mind Bending Ways of Green Thumbing yourself out of the Matrix! 🙂 Until then, go get your hands dirty, and Fight with Love!
The Danghiz Post’Umus For Occupy-Wallstreet.com