Guest Blogger Allan Balliett, Founder of Fresh and Local CSA
Spring is the Time to Join a CSA
It's that time of the year when you have an opportunity to make a commitment to your wellness! Assure your access to affordable, nutrient dense foods by joining a local CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. Dr. Mark McClure, founder of National Integrated Health Associates, explains the value of CSA food very well in this blog post, My Top Holistic Nutrition Tip.
My Passion for Whole Foods
I'm the founder and farmer of Fresh and Local CSA, located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I am a passionate advocate for properly grown, fresh, local produce. Over 20 years ago, after many conventional doctors had failed to help me, I healed myself of what can only be called a "wasting disease" by changing my diet from processed foods to a healthy diet of organic, whole foods. You can read about more my experiences in this article. Once I became well, I devoted my life to learning all I can about what makes whole foods nutritious, and how to grow foods for my neighbors that promote healing with every mouthful.
Food as Medicine
A host of health promoting substances has been discovered in vegetables and fruits and plant metabolites in the last few years. It's reasonable to believe that we will discover many more health promoting substances in the future. It's also important to realize that these substances occur synergistically in living plants, in ratios and quantities that are supporting life and growth. This is why our bodies may heal from living real food while it may be unable to assimilate the content of a pill. It's important to be aware that most of the produce in grocery stores may be weeks old before it comes to the floor! In those weeks, the plant itself has been metabolizing the nutrients it contains, eating them up to stay alive until you end up buying low mineral content produce that is less nutritious because it's been out of the Earth for so long.
CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, Natural Nutrition
To be able to grow foods of this high nutrient quality, I became an early adaptor of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. You can learn more about CSA here. Historically, the CSA movement developed in the U.S. to provide mothers with toxin-free foods for children and foods of a nutritional quality much higher than the market place could provide. As I've learned more and more ways to make minerals available to my crops, the quality of our CSA's food has continued to improve year after year as the quality of our soil has improved. Fruits and vegetables that are full of real natural nutrition also taste really good. Our produce tastes exceptionally good, so good, in fact, that many parents have reported that their children will only eat vegetables and eggs from our farm!
Healthy Soil=Healthy People
Nutrient dense local foods grown on biologically active, biologically managed soils are the best connection for our gut. You may have heard the saying: "Healthy Soils = Healthy People”. Now we are starting to understand that well grown food keeps our microbiome (the microbes in our gut) active and complex, as most of the immune system is contained in our gut, and we internalize the benefits of healthy soil. From my own healing experience, I know that it is important to remember that eating nutrient dense food is also about quality of life. Sure, we can have major illness issues- but we also have to live every moment. Having the best nutrition possible from “living food” gives us energy and clarity to make every moment better.
The Paleo Diet and More Reasons to Join a CSA
This past year many researchers associated with the "Paleo Diet" movement have validated the importance of having fresh, local produce prominent in your diet. Dr. Terry Wahls' reports have been the most profound and are detailed in her book, The Wahls Protocol. She's healing herself from Multiple Sclerosis through a modified paleo diet that contains 9 cups of mixed vegetables a day along with small amounts of properly raised meat. You can see her inspirational and informative TEDx Talk here: Minding Your Mitochondria with Dr. Terry Wahls.
Dr. Wahls believes (and is substantiating with research) that with the low nutritional quality of produce in the U.S. today many people are losing large portions of the functionality of their cells. This is her explanation for the rise of degenerative disease in the U.S. She says the rise in disease is all different genetic expressions of the base problem: malnutrition. From her personal experience and research she shares this advice, "Always remember: drugs can control symptoms but only food can heal you.”Join Now
If you live near Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and want to join our CSA for 2015 (first pickup is in early June) you can sign up at www.freshandlocalcsa.com. If you have questions about the CSA or about local food in general, you can contact me. Pick-ups for the CSA will be on High Street in Shepherdstown again this year. (We will deliver to 20 or more shares ordered at one location). If you do not live in my area, check out your local CSA's and consider supporting your local farmer.
Fresh Local Food is not hard to prepare. Many make daily smoothies of their share, or a big pot of vegetable soup. If this isn't easy enough, the CSA provides recipes weekly and is ready to answer any questions you have about preparing your nutritious whole food meals.
Hope to see you this season!
Farmer Allan Balliett, Fresh and Local CSA, Shepherdstown, WV
Allan Balliett is the founding farmer of Fresh and Local CSA. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a social model that connects you to your food, the land, and with those who tend the soil. CSA is an economic model that allows you to place your food dollar directly in the hands of a family farm, a farm that adopted labor intensive biodynamic practices to respect the health and nutritional value of your food, a farm that reduces the impact of agriculture on the environment and provides habitat for beneficial insects and birds and provides both and example and training for future farmers.