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March 2012 Publisher Letter

A few years ago, during a family shopping trip to a store that sells bulk groceries, we excitedly bought an enormous bag of beautiful pears. It contained more than we could eat, but the pears looked so good and it was such a good buy that we couldn’t resist. After eating just a few pieces, the rest sat forgotten in the refrigerator fruit drawer. Months later, when I was cleaning out the fridge, I recognized the bag and gingerly lifted it up expecting to see rotting drips of brown mush; instead I stared in shock at what I found inside—lovely, firm, green pears appearing almost as fresh and crisp as the day we bought them. Horrified, I tossed the remaining Frankenfruit.

Having lived abroad for many years, I was used to shopping for produce a couple of times a week in neighborhood open-air markets. I loved how the kiosk tables were piled high in season with colorful, tasty and rather imperfect looking fruits and vegetables that everyone routinely ate within a few days because of their naturally short shelf life. The pear experience was an eye opener and sparked the kind of questions that so many of us are asking today: “Where does my food come from, who is growing it, and how is it being grown?”

In this month’s issue, Natural Awakenings addresses America’s current food revolution and how more of us are shifting to eating local, organic farm-fresh foods. We’re motivated by the desire for flavorful, nutritious foods that are free of toxic pesticides, herbicides and synthetic chemical fertilizers. We also feel the need to support businesses in our local communities and better understand the vital importance of regional sustainability. Food trends expert Melinda Hemmelgarn explains how together we are “Changing the Way America Eats.”

My own family’s transition to a mostly organic whole-foods diet occurred gradually. Like many families, we were initially concerned about the perceived higher price of buying organic, but I am happy to report that our family’s grocery bills have actually decreased significantly as a result of this shift. By eliminating most processed foods and spending a bit more time in the kitchen, we are also eating better and feeling healthier. Given some culinary creativity, very little goes to waste.

Eating cheap, mass-produced foods comes with a multitude of hidden costs, from environmental toxins that affect everyone (from farm workers to fetuses), to the inhumane treatment of animals mass-produced for a meat-based diet, and soaring health care costs. We cannot afford to ignore the devastating impacts of modern agricultural practices. These are exciting times for families everywhere as we reclaim our right to access clean, ethically raised whole foods.

To the food revolution!

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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