Slow Down and Think Locally

Running a business can be stressful and overwhelming, so here are some green thoughts to help you balance out your workload. “Going green,” as they say, has many aspects, all revolving around synchronicity, localization and holistic approaches. The recent Farm to Table Conference hosted in the Pittsburgh Convention Center encompassed all of these, cutting out the middleman of corporate industry. All these attributes of being healthier, better for the environment, and so on, are all good and dandy, but are not accessible to all. Going to this event myself, tasting expensive cheese that I can’t afford was bittersweet. Smaller amounts of organic whole food is needed to fill you up than when consuming processed fillers with often empty calories, but all in all it’s often hard to be thrifty and buy organic. Spending more on health now is saving on hospital bills later.

With the fast paced food and lifestyle Americans lead, it’s often difficult to take the time to slow down. The one thing that comes to mind is “America, be patient.” The regurgitation of “you are what you eat” is overwhelmingly omnipresent. Sometimes we automatically rebel against things forced down our throats, but if we can get past that in this situation, we will not regret it. Being the kid in elementary school made fun of for having a whole wheat sandwich and raw foods in place of “Lunchables”, the sweet revenge of health is now mine. Although I’m no spring chicken, I feel the difference of what I put into my body. This isn’t a lecture, only a hypothesis. It is not scientific, only backed up from the guttural instinct of listening to self. Once someone is tuned in to what their physical and mental self needs, you then can better predict the onset of disease, stress, and be in a better position to take preventative measures.

So why not plant a garden of food that helps your body and mind? When planting a garden it’s necessary to find what “companion plants” are. These are the ones that give off certain minerals into the soil that their neighbors crave, or have natural occurring pesticide properties beneficial to the plant community. Similar to our body’s organs and mind-body relationships, plants are symbiotic in biodynamic farming. Biodynamic farming places an emphasis on soil, plants, and animals in one unified system. This needs to be a diversified farm, no mono-cropping, so what’s taken out of soils is replenished naturally with the various output of plants and animals. This leads to lower yields, but more energy efficient production. These farms might make less initially, but will last dramatically longer, partially from their higher level of earthworms and biomass. The dust bowl resulted from mono-cropping, which depleted all of the soils nutrients until there was nothing left.

In this way of farming and philosophy, these systems function as wholes, and cannot be understood as individual parts. An example would be planting marigolds, which produce a pesticide that deters nematodes and beetles, with tomatoes or squash. When your body’s lymph nodes swell up you may need some vitamin c or ginger, when your mind is racing after a stressful day, you may need to try some form of meditation. Whether it’s listening to a guided relaxation, or just taking some time away from the electronic madness and going for a walk, these things do matter. To re-iterate the importance of nature to escape the mundane, studies in both solitary confinement and sick wards have had a far better success rate of overall health when the patient or prisoner has had a view of a scenic landscape.

Going back to the overall message, slow it down. Fast food, fast living, fast working, and fast thinking is what we as Americans thrive on. And it doesn’t need to completely change in order to see a difference. We just need to be more aware of these actions and the re-percussions they have on our individual lives. Another thing is we should start thinking locally and small. Set little goals for yourself that you’re likely to achieve. Instead of donating to a cause you’ll never see, maybe donate some time to your local community. This isn’t to say we should stop sending people to space, only that we should initiate change in our own backyard. Or better yet, within ourselves.

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Filed under how-to, Local Food

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