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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Letter from the Publisher

Feb 28, 2014 10:06AM

I invite you to envision yourself with me basking in the sun and gracious hospitality of a special eco-friendly, holistic cruise headed to the Caribbean islands. I know that inspiring lectures, morning yoga on the deck and delicious vegan foods prepared by someone else have me smiling and feeling thoroughly nurtured atop gentle seas. That’s where you’ll find me for part of this month, wishing you a similar experience in the near future.

Anticipating workshops and vegetarian cooking classes with prominent natural nutrition advocates on the ship and preparing for this month’s Food & Garden issue served as a timely reminder of the role the foods we choose to sustain our bodies play in all aspects of our health and life. Every conscious choice ripples out in immediate benefits for us and long-term support for the richness of the Earth’s soils, the purity of our air and water and the welfare of all living things.

When I chose to adopt a natural foods lifestyle in my early 20s, a fresh and exciting world opened up to me. I collaborated with like-minded friends to form a natural food co-op so we could access healthy staples not available locally. Experimenting with new ingredients and recipes, juicing and natural health therapies launched me on a creative and rewarding adventure that continues to this day. Exploring different ideas and philosophies opened up my thinking in ways that directed me to entrepreneurial paths, like operating a natural foods café and commercially growing alfalfa sprouts out of my garage. Every three days, the crop from my professional sprout growing machines supplied demand by all the produce companies in Collier and Lee counties.

Next, my desire to educate others about the benefits of sustainable natural living birthed Natural Awakenings, which celebrates two decades of publishing this year. You just never know where that next healthy bite of food might lead you while supplying you with sufficient energy to take on the world.

Lately, I am excited by the dual trends of eating locally produced foods and a return to growing our own food. In Melinda Hemmelgarn’s feature article, “Fresh Food Trends,” we explore four trailblazing movements that are thriving as a result of this resurgence in reconnecting with our food sources.

One hyperlocal, eye-opening example is Florida Gulf Coast University’s permaculture Food Forest, where students find that cultivating nutrient-dense produce is changing their lives.  Another is lessons learned from aquaponics expert Jamie Guerra, who is helping area gardeners set up their own systems. He says it’s not necessary to farm acres of land to produce healthy, nutrient-dense food for whole neighborhoods. A backyard in the middle of a city works.

As Wayne Dyer advises in his Wise Words to us this month, all experiences are gifts that can bring unexpected purpose and blessings. May this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings inspire you to take steps in a bold new direction that nourishes you in many ways.

To being fed on all levels,

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

P.S. Please be aware of the urgent need to take action right now to publically voice your position on planned oil drilling projects promising devastating effects on our paradise.

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