5 LOCAL WAYS TO CHANGE OUR FUTURE
Guest Post by Brandi McRill
TOMBALL FARMERS MARKET BOARD PRESIDENT
When I saw the programming, I was intrigued but I was on the fence about going.
But let me tell you- I’m SO glad I went.
My head is still swimming with information but I wanted to highlight a few things that I learned and provide you with some resources if you share the same interest!
While this may seem obvious, changing our role within the food system starts at home with the foods we feed our family. Processed foods and sugar laden ingredients do more harm for our bodies than good.
Teaching children to eat whole, fresh ingredients builds brain power as they grow and results in adults who will eat a greater variety of fruits and vegetables.
I talk about some simple changes you can make today that will last a lifetime in this blog post.
How do your children interact with their food?
Do they know that healthy vegetables are grown in nutrient rich soil? Or, do they think it is grown in the grocery store?
When children are able to connect directly to their food sources, magical things can happen. In my kids cooking classes, when I teach the children about veggies and how they need sunlight, water and nutrients like we do, something changes...they get EXCITED about cooking with them. I have charmed the pickiest of eaters to try something new and each one of them has walked away with a new veggie they like.
According to LifeLab.org, “studies show that garden-enhanced nutrition education is a profoundly engaging and effective way to establish healthy eating habits with youth. It is now well documented that, when children have a hand in growing food, their understanding of food and its relationship to their health increases.”
Does a garden seem like a HUGE task? I get it. Life is so, SO busy. And, time is precious.
Have you considered your local farmers? In lieu of your monthly produce bill, consider visiting the farmers market once a month. Look into joining a CSA or co-op. Connecting to the people who grow your food will inspire you (and your family) in a variety of ways while supporting your own health and wellness.
— KERRY JONES, RD
So, this is probably the most heartbreaking news of all.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, our soil degradation is proceeding at such a rate that the world may only have 60 harvests left.
Anyone else alarmed by that?
Science Direct QUOTE:
Soil degradation causes include agricultural, industrial, and commercial pollution; loss of arable land due to urban expansion, overgrazing, and unsustainable agricultural practices; and long-term climatic changes.
Healthy food is the foundation for our health and wellness.
What are we going to do without healthy food?
While this all feels HEAVY, I recently watched the movie, Kiss the Ground and it helped bring the information together for me. I’ve learned that the smallest actions, when combined with the efforts of others, can yield MAJOR results.
We can, each, take simple steps like:
- omitting the use of lawn chemicals,
- improving our own soil through sustainable backyard gardening practices
- and; supporting small, regenerative farms.
Kiss the Ground is one of 2 movies I would recommend that is a MUCH WATCH. My hope is that it brings you as much awareness as it has brought me.
Each of us has the power to make a difference in our community.
It just starts with taking one tiny step...and telling a few friends what you’ve learned!!
How many times have we heard the words ‘Buy Local. Eat Local. Shop small.’
When we buy from small businesses and local farmers, we know that our dollar is directly going into that business without the layers of corporate structure. We know we are supporting local families; and over time, their success becomes our success.
Buying from local business owners & local farmers makes us feel good emotionally as well as physically, doesn’t it?
When we make conscious efforts to keep money within our community, we are stimulating our local economy and strengthening the businesses that reside in our area. By shopping small, YOU help create and sustain jobs!!
Did you know that Buying Local is the best way to be environmentally friendly?
We hear a lot about reducing our carbon footprint. But don’t just think about the good you're doing by reducing emissions from shopping locally in your own neighborhood.
When you shop at the grocery store much of your food, especially meats and produce, may come from as far away as over 1,500 miles...and, often from other countries.
I challenge you to look at your PLU codes next time you are in the grocery store.
The day I bought a bell pepper that was grown in Israel probably changed me forever!
For more on PLU codes, check out my blog post on How to Help Local Farmers while Feeding your family, too!
This is one area where I will be evolving. I am a HUGE advocate of my local community. I shop, eat and BREATHE local. The majority of the charities I donate to are within my community.
At the conference, a variety of communities converged, sharing commonalities along with individual challenges.
I often think of the ancestors that brought my people to America and I have been very proud of my family history. When my ancestors arrived in the latter part of the 1670, America had already seen close to 200 years of colonization.
Between the years 1492 to 1600, the population of indigenous Americans had seen a 90% decline. By 1691, it was reduced to a remaining population of 5%...
Indigenous Native America are greatly connected to their land, working WITH it for food, shelter and religious practices.
As I learned from Lyla June Johnson, one of the conference keynote speakers:
Many religions practiced in Euro-American culture, such as Christianity and Buddhism, are also geographically unrestricted. We see churches and temples spring up in every region because these religious activities do not involve particular sites on the earth, but rather have been reformed to be able to involve any site on earth.
While it seems that almost every culture holds endemic as well as cosmopolitan aspects, we see a great discrepancy in the degree of endemism between American culture and that of smaller place-specific indigenous societies around the world.
Native Americans farmed this land for a millennia prior to the arrival of the Explorers. They used natural waterways and the land structure to sustain their communities. Native Americans have been robbed of their land, their agricultural heritage and their spiritual safe havens through poor choices made by the American government time and time again.
To this day, America continues to betray their promise to the people who have already lost so much. I encourage you to look at Line 3 and the Winnemem Wintu Shasta Dam raise and consider the roulette game we are playing with our planet and our Native People.
Being a global citizen is really just about being part of the network of people out there fighting to keep our waters clean, our climate sustained and Mother Earth healthy.
Yep, you heard me.
So the good news is that mushrooms may hold the potential to not only heal our bodies but also heal our planet.
Mycelium is the vegetative part of fungus that creates a network of fine, white filament. It is an essential part of the Earth’s ecosystems, holding together soil structure and helping create new, fertile soil while removing industrial toxins.
(WOW! Say that again 3 times...)
According to his research, mushrooms can:
- Clean up oil spills.
- Absorb Farm Pollution..
- Fight off Diseases such as small pox and some flu strains.
- Combat insects.
- Re-Green the planet.
- Create a sustainable fuel source.
The most important work of mycelium for our planet is that it builds new soil, provides adequate drainage and helps prevent soil erosion. (Are you sensing a pattern here…)
Another Netflix movie to check out is Fantastic Fungi. It digs deeper into the world of fungi and teaches of the power of this underground network that holds everything together, acting as a communication web buried beneath our feet.
So, there you have it, friends.
Five Simple Ways YOU can help save the planet in your community.
A journey of a million miles starts with one step.
Are you ready to take your first?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brandi McRill is the owner of Flourishing Fern, LLC and a local food advocate. Her blog, The Flourishing Times, provides fresh ideas on how to use Food+Herbs+Alignment to help you live your most fulfilled life.
Brandi and her husband, Jack, founded the Farm to Kitchen Collective in July 2015 in an effort to bring fresh to the Cypress, TX and surrounding communities. Brandi advocates for our fresh water resources, youth in agriculture and connecting the community through the local farming community.
As an avid mushroom lover, Brandi has written a cookbook dedicated to this fantastic fungi that is free for download.