I had the greatest pleasure of celebrating a friends birthday by picking blueberries at VanderHelm Farms in Oakdale, California, a no-spray farm, which allows you to hand-pick your own blueberries. No spray, means the farmer does not use toxic pesticides or herbicides to keep pests away. Some farmers cannot afford the cost of the USDA organic label, but they still adhere to clean, non-toxic farming practices, which is in essence organic without the label. I was so happy my friend found this gem of a farm after my experience with a conventional blueberry farmer at our local farmers market. Read, “Do I really need to eat Organic? Can’t I just wash the pesticides off?” for that story.
Blueberry Farm Heaven
Upon reaching VanderHelm Farms, I felt like I had stepped into a little piece of farm heaven. This was definitely the epitome of slow living and good eating! Little did I know, there would actually be twelve different kinds of blueberries to choose from; some varieties were tart, specific for pie making and others were sweet and tangy, ready to be devoured in a moments bite. As I laughed with friends, snapped photos and sampled all the varieties of blueberries, I couldn’t help but feel a deeper connection to the earth. Getting my hands dirty, feeling the sun on my back and breathing in the warm summer air, actually inspired an “aha” moment.
We are meant to be in nature and connect to the gifts it provides us; it is only then that we can clear our minds, pay respect to where our food comes from and appreciate the value that it offers–life!
Now, this thought really started to get my wheels turning. I have always wondered how we could let our food system in the United States become so controlled and dominated by corporate figureheads and brand names. How we have allowed companies with no farming experience to dictate what seeds are to be planted, along with how our food is to be processed…how farmers in overalls and hats, have now become scientists in hazmat suits? As I felt the dirt between my fingers and stared at the endless horizon of berries, I came to this simple conclusion:
We have stopped believing in the abundance that nature and the earth so perfectly provide; nature provides enough for everyone.
Life is Abundant
To be more specific, from a small seed, some soil, water and sunlight, we get life, and this life is able to repeat and reproduce. Basically, this is a miracle, just as humans are miracles in the same way! Therefore, it is my belief that if we lose our connection to this process, we have lost our ability to see and believe how perfect nature is–unaltered and unchanged. It is from man’s disconnection to the soil, that farming has turned into a science experiment. Man’s feet once connected to the earth, are now connected to concrete. The touch of soil has been replaced with the touch of money and the perception of abundance, replaced with the perception of lack. As I overheard a conversation from one of the farm representatives,
Even with all the community and our own staff picking, we will not be able to finish off the berries–they just grow and ripen too quickly.
My thoughts were brought back to the present moment. Thank goodness there are those that still understand this abundance and share it with their community.
Perhaps these corporate figure heads have forgotten what it is like to witness a miracle and therefore abundance. If you become removed from your community, where you came from and from the simple and free pleasures of life, well,…you might just forget how important the sanctity of a practice like farming truly is. Perhaps this is how an individual, a city dweller, a figurehead or a mass corporation, can so easily forget there is plentitude in nature and the earth. And perhaps, notions of lack and scarcity are only conjured up by the disconnected minds who create them.
To conclude my thoughts, I am so thoroughly grateful that farms like VanderHelm exist, allowing people to witness the growing process firsthand and partake in the harvest. This enables the community to connect with their growers and see the amazing work and effort it takes to grow beautiful, pure food. And more importantly, it allows us to understand and respect where our food comes from. I found this quote on VanderHelm’s website:
“The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”
Whether you are religious our not, this verse from the Bible is a reminder that food comes from the earth and it is this beautiful, unaltered, untainted food we are meant to eat; it is indeed good and right for our bodies.
In divine health,
Photo credit to Amy Fliflet of Echomedia Photography http://www.echomediaphoto.com/#
VanderHelm Farms, Oakdale, CA retrieved at http://vanderhelmfarms.com