Guest Scribe Abby Paloma: Eating Seasonally for Health & Happiness
When overwhelmed with making choices about food two simple rules to follow are: eat locally and eat seasonally. These two rules are nothing new. They are basic principles that not until recently had to be culturally revisited. In Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, living with the seasons holds ancient truths that can lead us to a happier and healthier life.
Not sure? Is it manageable? Try this: wash and slice a cucumber and put it in a pitcher. Fill it with water, put it on your desk and drink it all day (you can also chill in the fridge). I feel confident this simple drink will make your day feel more refreshed and tuned -in to the wisdom of seasonal living.
Food is not the only way to connect to seasonal rhythms. The summer is also the time of year to play! Connect to the earth by walking barefoot on the grass, dance, sing, or harvest the fruits of summer.
Farm To Yoga offers a great way for yogis to connect with the earth during these summer months - hosting seasonal events at the sustainably-run Growing Heart Farm. Growing Heart Farm has a “beyond organic” approach, growing on two acres in Pawling, New York. Two acres is considered very small in the farming world and organic certification can be an expensive process that doesn't make economical sense for many small farms.
Organic is still a good option compared to conventionally grown crops and remains a great choise when it is not possible to buy locally-grown produce. However, organic labeling does not regulate land stewardship practices such as monoculture. Monoculture is the practice of growing one crop year after year and it is a common practice on large farms. Continually growing the same crop on the same plot of land degrades soil fertility and increases susceptibility to diseases and pests. In order to keep yields high, large monoculture organic farms must increase costly inputs of organic fertilizers and organic pesticides.
Growing Heart grows a variety of crops and practices crop rotation; meaning, each crop is planted in different sections of the field every year. This practice diminishes the propagation of soil-borne diseases and helps to manage insect populations naturally. The holistic picture of sustainability here moves “beyond organic” asking, "How can practices with our land and bodies not only avert degradation to ecosystems, but rather, be regenerative?"
This is just one of the topics covered during the farm tour at our Farm To Yoga Dinners. This event connects us to the earth with our breath and body with asana, but also through knowledge of our food system and land stewardship practices.
Farm To Yoga dinners bring yogis and farmers together, educating yogis about their food supply and creating real community support for local farms. The reality is that the experience goes deeper than education and support. The experience of a day at a farm: walking on the earth, looking at the sky, eating fresh food with friends, and practicing yoga to live music on the grass is about healing ourselves on a mulit-level platform and is particularly tranformative for city-dwellers. Connecting with all our senses to the natural world is something that we as a speedy, technology-driven society are re-learning. We think this shift is awesome and are happy to be a part of it. Join us!
Up next at Growing Heart Farm we gather September 8th, with Kula yogi, Erin Dudley, Indian flute master Hany ElDiwany and food magician Anne Apparu. Come play and celebrate the harvest!