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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

“Everything is going to be all right.”

Mar 01, 2013 12:34PM

Every time I saw my friend Frank Oakes at my favorite natural food hangout, Food & Thought, I received a kiss and reminder that, “Everything is going to be all right.”

Sometimes I would reply that, “Everything already is all right,” claiming it as a present fact. But as a leading local organic grower, organic market and café owner and fellow eco-advocate, he and I both knew that in so many ways everything isn’t right yet. So we supported one another through the years, our hearts collaborating in educating our community about the vital importance of eating organic foods and keeping our food supply and environment as pure and natural as our Creator intended. 

It’s been hard to walk into Food & Thought since Frank’s passing from the physical realm last month. I’m glad that his spirit is apparent around town, still as reassuring as the large sign in his market reminding us that he still has our back: “Militantly organic, so you can shop in peace.”

My favorite memories of Frank are of sitting in his barn on his organic farm with a group of other wannabe organic gardeners listening to his storehouse of wisdom. I loved this new world opening up to me. Of course he encouraged me to start my own raised-bed garden plots in the backyard, and by the end of the 10-week course I saw my first veggies sprouting up to greet the morning sunshine and me. They were so beautiful I hesitated to pick them, and remain the best tasting veggies I’ve ever had.

In this month’s Food & Gardening issue feature article, we talk to people around the country that are figuring out ways to grow food in small spaces in, “Urban Gardening Takes Root.” With more than 80 percent of Americans currently living in urban and suburban areas, the questionable nutrition of many mass-produced foods, increasing pesticide and herbicide use by nonorganic farmers, greenhouse gas emissions from food transport and weather patterns altered by climate change, it’s past time to take back control of what we put into our bodies.

I love how cultivating our own gardens and meals turns us back into producers, not merely consumers. Again, Frank is present to help with his recent cookbook, Food & Thought: Home Cookin’ the Healthy Way, co-authored with Freedom Teague.

Just the other day, I heard yet another inspiring story about what someone has learned from Frank Oakes, the latest in a floodtide in recent weeks. What I’ve learned most of all is that everything is going to be all right if we take a stand like Frank did and make it happen. His legacy continues to inspire multitudes, including me, to work a little harder for what we believe in.Frank Oakes

Frank taught that the shake of a seed packet and rows of lettuce, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes are our arsenal. Through kitchen gardens, farmers’ markets and local community supported agriculture we can again learn to feed ourselves. Every bite of food that comes from local and organic crops instead of the chemical-laden fields of inhumane agribusiness conglomerates is a statement that we know how to own our power. I say, “Let’s Occupy Gardens and take back our food supply!”

Militantly yours,


Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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