Milwaukee Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print

July 2014 Publisher Letter

On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, I offered to help my friend Darrell transplant a field of elderberries at Wellspring Organic Farm, in West Bend. It’s been years since I’ve done any serious digging and it felt great.

As dirt caked my fingernails and I regained a feel for using a shovel, I felt an unusual sense of joy and satisfaction that told me why so many young people are turning to farming. NBC reports that enrollment in university agriculture programs increased during the past decade, and the Future Farmers of America, an educational youth organization, now boasts nearly 600,000 members—the most since it was formed in 1928. Young entrepreneurs typically cite two primary reasons for taking up farming as a career: a stifling corporate world with little job security and a strong enough demand for locally and organically grown foods that they feel confident of success.

Wisconsin is a hotbed of organic farming. According to the latest umbrella study available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, our state leads the nation in the number of organic dairy, beef, pig, chicken, turkey and sheep/lamb farms, and is second only to California in the total number of organic farms.

Milwaukee has become a leader in urban agriculture. The local Victory Garden Initiative installed 548 new gardens during their most recent annual development blitz. Milwaukee Urban Gardens, a nonprofit land trust that partners with residents to cultivate healthy gardens and communities, has announced its 2014 Community Garden Grant for existing and planned community gardens. The Urban Ecology Center’s Real Food educational programs also strengthen the local sustainable food system by connecting the urban community to area farmers. And in 2013, Growing Power celebrated 20 years of transforming urban communities through the development of community food systems; people come from around the world to participate in the organization’s resident training and hands-on farming experiences.

Even entrenched skeptics are starting to ask the right questions: Why are so many of us getting sick? Why are so many suffering from cancer and a range of autoimmune diseases that were rare 30 years ago? Why is one out of three children overweight or obese?

Part of the answer may be found in the slowly but surely increasing use of toxic chemicals in the mass production of food. Despite mounting research studies showing that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is detrimental to our health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just ruled to allow residues of the chemical on food at concentrations a million times higher than levels shown in a recent study, published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, to induce the growth of human breast cancer cells.

In 1826, the French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin concluded a lifetime of observation by writing, “The future of the nations will depend on the manner of how they feed themselves.” Today the message is more pertinent than ever. Fortunately consumers still have a choice. By choosing to support local farmers that use organic growing methods, we can know and trust the source of our food and build community food systems that preserve the hope of a healthier future.

To health-fortifying communities,

Gabriella Buchnik Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Letter from Publisher

As we wrap up another year, many of us find ourselves again asking, “Where did this year go?” Myriad articles have tried to explain why we often perceive time—and life—moving by too quickly, especially as we age.

Letter from Publisher

Through awareness, education and action, we can all form healthy habits to protect our most vital, life-sustaining resource: water.

Letter from Publisher

“Game Changers,” one of Natural Awakenings’ themes for October, focuses on the youth of our nation taking the reins to make a difference in social and environmental areas.

Letter from Publisher

Natural Awakenings is just one of many publications delivering cutting-edge information about natural, noninvasive, non-pharmaceutical health remedies presented by health and wellness advocates, scientists and researchers.

Letter from Publisher

As we strive to stay true to our values and ensure that our children feel loved, we need to model this behavior by applying those values in our interactions with others.

Letter from Publisher

Wisconsinites are fortunate to have an abundance of local, organically grown choices. In its 2017 organic agriculture status report, the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems reported that, nationally, Wisconsin is second only to California in the overall number of organic farms and in the number of farms adding organic acres.

Letter from Publisher

While Milwaukee has had its share of unraveling over the years, today activism abounds as community leaders strive for healthy, livable communities that include safe, friendly neighborhoods; public access to green space; thriving, locally owned businesses; and transportation alternatives such as mass transit, cycling and walkability.

Letter from Publisher

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that extraordinary health benefits may be achieved through fasting, a practice long revered throughout the world for its spiritual benefits.

Letter from Publisher

For years, scientists and climatologists have been warning that the world will face severe water shortages resulting from a combination of climate change and the irresponsible overuse of precious water.

Letter from Publisher

Today Milwaukee has a diverse, sophisticated palate that includes vegetarian and vegan restaurants and a range of international cuisines that were difficult to find in the area a decade ago.

Letter from Publisher

We may expand and grow by giving, practicing gratitude and forgiveness, taking responsibility for our own lives, creating strong social networks, and having a sense of purpose.

Letter from Publisher

Read this issue to become inspired about reducing plastic waste, walking to improve physical and mental health, and keeping pets healthy and happy through responsible feeding.

Add your comment: