Not Just Our Health! PDF  | Print |  E-mail

There is more to be concerned about than our own immediate nutritional needs. Using up our natural resources, such as water, soil, land and fossil fuels, we have long been a society that lives at the expense of our grandchildren.  It is time to reconnect ourselves with the natural world and claim only what we truly need.  Our eating habits influence our ecological footprint more than any other pattern of consumption, be it housing, transportation, other products and services, or the elimination of our waste.  In Canada, almost 75 percent of the food consumed is processed in some way and the components of a typical meal travel on average 2 400 km.  Thus, the most important environmental criterion for buying food is minimizing "food miles", the distance between field and table. 

 

The best agricultural land is located near our largest cities.  Keeping the land in production instead of converting it to strip malls and suburban housing would not only lessen food transportation but also conserve fertile land and preserve wildlife habitats.

Surrounded by concrete, steel, plastic and technological gadgets, we often forget our living nature, our connection to the natural world.  Yet we depend almost exclusively on the life-sustaining qualities of forests, meadows, fields, rivers and oceans.  There is no item of human nutrition that has not been derived from natural resources.  Even the most artificial concoctions our culture has ever produced contain chemicals derived from petroleum and coal tar extracted from the guts of the earth.  And these, too, had once been living organisms.  The natural world is fascinating, as every small child quickly discovers and is happy to share with us.  Living in sync with nature helps us to feel grounded and whole.  Eating with the seasons allows us to develop a fundamental practice of awareness of the natural cycles. 

 

Food miles naturally decrease as we find ourselves shopping for the best seasonal ingredients at local farmers’ markets.  Yet, we often find excuses for indulging in imported foods over the winter months.  This may not be as necessary when we realize that a lot of local foods do survive through the winter and others can be successfully preserved or created.  In our classes, you will learn how to preserve garden vegetables and grow live food for the winter months by producing the best quality lactic fermented vegetables, pickles, freezer pesto, relishes and sprouts.