letter from publisher




Welcome to summer, which from my point of view, is the best time of the year. Warm weather, long days of sunlight, green everywhere you look—and fresh veggies in abundance! Between our backyard and community gardens, farmers’ markets and even our regular stores that carry local produce, those of us with access to these abundant resources can finally have almost all the just-picked tomatoes, squash, beets, arugula, cukes, peppers and fruit that we could ever want.

Blessed with overflowing gardens, many of us resort to canning, pickling, baking or other means of putting away summer’s bounty for the winter. Others give tomatoes and zucchini by the bagful to friends, coworkers and strangers on the train. Eventually, we run out of takers for our overflowing gardens—but not really—there are a lot of people nearby we may not have considered that would love to share our extra veggies in their evening meals.

This month, we explore the topic of Food Democracy, a term coined in the mid-1990s by British food policy academic and former farmer, Professor Tim Lang. Boiling it down, food democracy concerns the “fulfillment of the human right to safe, nutritious food that has been justly produced.” In other words, access to safe and nutritious food is an inalienable right of everyone, no matter their economic status or position in life. A quick Google search pulls up myriad sources about the topic, providing a wealth of both sobering and inspiring information about how our ever-growing global wealth gap is related to the food gap of poverty, urban/suburban/rural food deserts and the obesity and chronic disease epidemic that has become commonplace. Up to one in six Americans struggle with hunger, yet 40 percent of the food in this country gets thrown away. Not good numbers.

So what does food democracy have to do with too many tomatoes in your garden? Plenty! Did you know that you can donate your garden’s bounty to a local food pantry and help someone else to put a nourishing and delicious summer meal on their family’s table? Thanks to the efforts of many organizations and government agencies, food depositories are able to legally receive and distribute quality produce to those in need. The 1996 Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was also enacted to protect those who donate “apparently fit” food in good faith.

One of the most convenient ways to locate a local pantry for your produce is through AmpleHarvest.org, which works hard to ensure gardeners can find good outlets for their produce. Gardeners can search their database to find registered pantries within a specified distance and includes the hours that donations are accepted.

Other options in the Chicago area include Common Pantry (CommonPantry.org), a Northside pantry with refrigeration capability to accept both fresh produce and dairy. Chicago Community Gardens (ChicagoCommunityGardens.org) operates its Share The Harvest Program, which works with community garden groups that produce specifically for food pantry donation. Also, check with churches, synagogues and other community groups for places where your bounty will go to good use.

Happy Fourth of July, Happy Summer and here’s to a glorious season of sunlight and smiles!

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Letter from The Publisher

Once upon a time, several work lives ago, I visited a small Asian restaurant in Toronto named something akin to Tiger Lily, located close to downtown on a street with a lot of other small shops and places to grab a quick dinner.

Letter from The Publisher

Once upon a time, several work lives ago, I visited a small Asian restaurant in Toronto named something akin to Tiger Lily, located close to downtown on a street with a lot of other small shops and places to grab a quick dinner.

Letter from The Publisher

February is in so many ways an in-between month when we transition from the depths of winter to, “Hey, it’s almost spring!” It can test our spirits and our resiliency, but it can also make our hearts sing with the delightful signs of the coming warmer days.

Letter from The Publisher

I believe that how we choose to approach these goals can make all the difference in what we perceive as success, what we give up on or what leaves us unfulfilled. The need to get things done and out of the way makes it easy to lose track of our journey and cause stress as we strive to get it right.

Letter from Publisher

As I reflected upon the year before I sat down to write my letter this month, it just seems that norms have changed in how many people choose to publicly interact with each other.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

VortexHealing Divine Energy Healing Training

A five-day training in VortexHealing will be given by Terrie Rolands, from August 1 through 5 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the Comfort Inn O’Hare.

Five Transformational Truths About Our Worldview

To navigate this life unbounded by worry, conflict and strife when there is no “app for that” or pill that will dissolve our obstacles, we must first look within.

Simple Fix for a Complex Dental Problem

Most people think that crooked, overcrowded teeth are simply the result of bad genes, but the truth is that they are the product of our own behavior.

Urgent Health Care with a Holistic Approach in Wilmette

North Shore Holistic Health, LLC, the practice of Angela Waltman, FNP, AHN-C, is a blend of urgent and holistic health care, combining an eclectic blend of Eastern and Western medicine.

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s New Cosmology Inspires a Quantum Leap

The nonprofit parapsychological research institute looks at spiritual experiences from the view of quantum science, and performs scientific research into a transcendental potential capable of inspiring global civilization to collective systemic actions that move toward a more sustainable future.

Living the Good Carb Revolution

By substituting bad carbs with good carbs and reducing all forms of sugar intake considerably, we can transform our health and turn our body into a fat-burning machine, with stable sugar and insulin levels, reduced inflammation and a happy gut, which by means of billions of friendly bacteria, keeps us energized and feeling great.