News and Opinion

  • Health wealth and happiness - what role does food play?

    Some notes from the Georgia Organics Conference 

     

    Health wealth and happiness - what role does food play?

    A few years ago I gave a series of presentations on what is called the
    Human Development Index or HDI. You can search this and finds lots of
    fascinating information. I was talking about the role that access to
    energy plays in this calculation but today lets focus on food. It is a
    basket of measurements that roll up to a score and general measures
    what I think of as " quality of life". One of the measures is life
    expectancy at birth, google this and have a look at the results. This
    gives a solid number that we can track and compare against time and
    against other countries.

    There is something terribly concerning happening. The US with our
    wonderful wealth and access to healthcare and nutrition surely must be
    right at the top of the list right? No wrong - the US is now not even
    in the top 50 countries (click for article). 

    If you were to cover up the country name and
    ask people to guess which country it was they might choose China or
    perhaps Bosnia but they would be wrong, both of these are above the
    US.

    I believe one major cause is that our  diet is killing us, removing
    people at the peak of their lives. The greatest crime is that it is
    robbing our children of decades of their life. They learn from us.

    The good news is that we can change it, just as we have caused it, and
    so much of it is in our control. Make no mistake it will not be easy
    and economic and social access play a large part.  Three key steps 1)
    Real Food 2) Clean Air 3) Exercise, I will touch on each of these in
    upcoming blogs.

  • It's Not Easy Being Green - and other lessons learned on the farm

    The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it's the only thing that lasts"

    -Gone with the Wind

    I'm not sure that I've ever met anyone that didn't actually grow up on a farm claim that they wanted to work on one.  In fact, it seems to me that farming is a lost art mastered by a chosen few and then passed down the family lineage for many generations.  

    I certainly was no exception to the rule.  Having spent most of my life in Savannah or Atlanta, I've grown accustomed to wearing sundresses, not dealing with many bugs or critters (save the occasional and much dreaded sand gnat), and only having to tend to fresh cut flowers gifted to me (and believe me, I can barely keep roses alive for even a couple of days).  I NEVER ever thought that I'd be able to say I worked on a farm, yet somehow, I found myself last summer waist deep in the middle of an organic farming operation.  Three days a week, I would wake up and drive to the beautiful Lebanon Plantation- where Verdant Kitchen grows all of its certified organic produce- to harvest and monitor the quality of our crops.  The job was hot and tiresome, but eventually I came to learn some valuable lessons and to acknowledge that those "farm folk" who spend most of their life working on the land were maybe onto something.  Here is what I found:

    1. It's not easy being green.  Farming is tough.  Organic farming is tougher.  It's a constant battle against weeds, disease, and other things that ail crops.  I used to think organic farming was for "hippies", but I've learned that organic farming is really for people who are willing to put in many hours of difficult physical labor to ensure their customers have high quality food.  I will never scoff again at the higher price of an organic apple or carrot- I now know how much hard work it took to produce it.  

    2. Rain is a good thing.  It's not just a great country music song, it's the mantra of a farmer.  Being in charge of harvesting and sales of our crop, I was constantly struggling to make sure that I could meet our customers needs in terms of quantity and quality of produce.  I'm pretty sure I saw days when yield doubled overnight thanks to a good, solid rain.  Rainy weather meant one less day out on the beach, but this girl could still find a reason to smile. 

    3. Growing food is magic.  Having never spent a day in my life working in a garden or farm, I was really skeptical that the seeds we put in the ground would ever amount to anything.  Produce is a very unique life form in that it doesn't take many years to reach maturity.  Watching the plants go from seed to sprout to flower to fruit over the course of a few months was a pretty powerful experience.  It made me think about my own life and my own life cycle and wondering if I was practicing the same good inputs and methods on myself as we were the crops.

    4. There is a food to soul connection. I admit it, I used to HATE vegetables.  You'd think that having to toil over a crop of them would make me dislike them even more, but on the contrary, I grew to love them.  Before I knew it, I was eating peas straight from the trellis and greedily rushing a fresh picked cucumber to be washed for a mid harvest snack.  I'm not really sure that my preferences changed so much as my emotional connection with what I was eating.  There's really something to be said about knowing where your food comes from.  Pretty soon, I was only eating what we produced and what I could grab at the Forsyth Farmer's Market.  I felt the most healthy I have ever felt in my entire life despite the fact that I was working some physically demanding and long days.  I really cannot explain to you the connection I began to feel between the food I ate and my overall happiness and well being, but it was there.  I have to think that what I was experiencing came from understanding where and how my food was made.  Buy local y'all! 

    That's me (right) picking peas off the trellis.

    Oh yeah and if you ever have a spoiled and high maintenance sister, friend, daughter, or wife, send her out to do some work on an organic farm.  I promise it'll do her some good. :)

     

  • A Valentines day at the Commerce Club with Ginger Snaps and Savannah White Hot Sweet Tea

    We had a great lunch with the Commerce Club of Savannah. The club members are a cross section of profesional women from the Savannah region. The presentation covered not only our 2012 season but also the great opportunities that agro tourism offers.

  • Putting Down Roots - South Magazine article on our 2012 crop

    In the late summer we had a media event and were happy to have a journalist from South Magazine and Ginger lover turned up for our gninger celebration. The result was a great article in the December/January 2013 "Wellness" Issue. 

     

     

     

     

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