food

Nothing is more basic than food

Let food be thy medicine. The human body has co-evolved in conjunction with the naturally available food in the surrounding environment- roots, greens, fruits, seeds & nuts. The use of animal products (eggs, meat & dairy) was generally secondary to plant based foods, as evidenced by many hunter/gather societies, probably gaining in importance when plant growing conditions were stressed (such as drought or winter snow). At any rate, food was usually eaten in the freshest possible state, mostly raw & according to location & seasonal availability. Even with the advent of agriculture & animal husbandry, food & herbs were frequently supplemented from wild sources.

For optimum health, we recommend eating a wide variety of fresh, living seasonal food – vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds & fruit. As far as proportion is concerned, consider how much of each type of food might have been available in the wild- a large number of wild grains for instance, would possibly have been less abundant at times than roots & greens, fresh meat or eggs might not have been so easy to catch daily. Three regular meals a day would have been unlikely for early humans ; most probably, we would have eaten as we found it, sometimes in abundance, sometimes fasting. It is also likely we would have gorged on single foods when they were prolific- fulfilling every ‘food group’ in every meal is a modern construct to make up for the fact that we don’t graze on a rich variety of wild foods.

Today, with increased sanitation & access to modern healthcare, many have forgotten that “we are what we eat” & fail to examine the nature & content of products presented as food. Healthful foods are fresh, derived from naturally occurring living species, grown in good soils for maximum vitamin & mineral content & harvested & treated in such a way so as not to destroy their positive qualities. Any time food is heated (egg pasteurized) or artificially manipulated (eg. irradiated) it is chemically changed to a form that our bodies may be unable to recognise or digest. Too many contemporary time-stressed people are living on a diet consisting of denuded, processed, pre-cooked foods, edible only because of a vast array of artificial flavourings to render them palatable. Strangely, malnutrition is a major contributor to obesity- the excess of nutritionally empty foods starve the cells of the body, making it permanently hungry!

Even ‘fresh’ food from the supermarket has been shown to be up to six months old or more before reaching your shopping basket, picked before maturity, transported from around the other side of the planet, kept in cold storage & artificially ripened by gas. ‘Sterilising’ food by irradiation is now being considered as mandatory treatment for internationally transported food.                           (see Codex Aliamentarus).

The economics of corporate supermarkets are such that small farms are no longer viable, instead, food is grown in vast monocultures, necessitating the use of large machinery, an arsenal of petrochemical fertilisers, chemical insecticides & herbicides to control weeds- all of which destroy soil biology & ultimately turn naturally fertile land into wasteland. Meanwhile, we face global population explosions, the breakdown of rural farming communities & the displacement of traditional cultures (those who understand the land) & ever increasing urban sprawl. Interestingly, as humans have colonized every corner of the globe, we have preferred to settle in the most fertile areas & close to water sources but as populations increase, those best agricultural areas become predominantly residential, meaning we require ever increasing areas to feed us.

Why don’t we grow food where we are? It’s not necessary to move to the country to grow at least some of your own food (weather & wildlife create challenges of their own). Where I live in subtropical Northern NSW we have everything from scorching sun to mouldy wet seasons, freak hail storms to black frosts (kills everything) & without secure fencing, brush turkeys, wallabies, bandicoots, bush rats , bats & birds get the lion’s share of the crop. A suburban backyard can be just as productive; even if each tiny terrace garden in the city had one fruit tree, imagine, a street would equal an orchard. Unfortunately though, modern gardens tend to be purely ornamental; lawns are the biggest cultivated crop in America (probably Australia too) using more fuel & man hours to maintain than any food crop- & these grasses are not grown for grain! Suburban streets are lined with grassy verges than could be cultivated for more useful things, Council spraying & toxic run-off from the street not so good to eat, but perhaps green manures for mulch, flowers for the bees or public fruit trees would make these areas more productive. If you have no garden spaces at all, get together with your neighbours to create a community garden (there may be one in your area) or become a garden guerrilla (Permablitz) & occupy public spaces. Perhaps your local school or sporting club has space for food garden beds or fruit trees- get involved, collective gardening helps strengthen communities & is so much more rewarding than TV. The therapeutic benefits of touching the earth, getting out in the fresh air, being physically active, creating something useful & caring for living things, sharing with others & eating your own food is the ultimate panacea for a modern stressed lifestyle.

zone one stocks a range of locally made products: fresh farm eggs & honey, jams & preserves from locally grown produce, dried herbs & spices, teas & coffee, olives & cheese, plus beautiful hade-made string bags & baskets for your goodies. We are proud to host Nimbin’s own Community Grain mill & local biodynamic rice, wheat & spelt to grind into fresh flour.

We have all you need to get you started growing your own food garden, from quality vegetable seedlings from Farmer’s Choice Organics to root crops, herbs & fruit trees as well as bulk soil food (composts, vermicast, kelp, manures, biochar), beneficial micro-organisms & organic mulch. We also have a range of bamboo plants & bamboo construction kits & local rainforest trees for land care remediation.

We recommend growing to suit your particular climate & conditions & eating crops in season. Remember, if you choose to grow from seed, use non-hybrid & heritage varieties- and SAVE your SEED! Grow as many different varieties of food crops as you have room for (hedging your bets!) And remember, “Nature fills every niche” so be creative & pack the space.

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