Farmer’s Market in Penticton (Aug 2001)

Another recent photo, taken by me on Main Street in Penticton, one sunny Saturday at the Farmers’ Market. In the foreground is one of the original organic farmers in the area, Catherine McDougal with her son, Sunny. They drive in regularly from Darke Lake to sell their produce and returned again on Sunday for the Canada Day Celebrations. Catherine and her husband choose to live in the country, so they can raise their children outside of the normal social conditioning. Her husband delivered all five of their children. In 1989 when they moved to the Okanagan, they tried to start an Intentional Community on the land they had purchased. They advertised in Common Ground and Catherine spent much of her time replying to the various applicants. Nothing came of it, so they let the idea pass. When my friend Dean Goddard and I went out to visit her farm she let us browse through the responses she had saved.

Dean would like to start an Intentional Community based on a model developed by Rudolf Steiner called the ‘Fellowship Community.’ He has been reading books on how a community grows spiritually by taking care of the aging and living in nature. He feels that the Okanagan would be a good place to develop a similar model. The seniors would pay to be part of the community and are cared for by the workers who live on the land and grow all the food organically. The community near New York City, has been in existence for thirty-three years and has grown to 160 members, workers and volunteers.Interested? Please see story on page 18.

Two of my favourite sayings are, “Every dollar we spend is a vote for what we believe in,” and “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, for indeed it is the only thing that ever has.“ As I become more aware of the choices I make and the implications they have on our local and world resources, the more I honour what nurtures life, making me a more responsible citizen of this marvellous planet. Co-creating a community is something I have spoken about before. I just have never figured out how to access the land and money to make it happen. Dean has a sincere interest and with support from the community it just might be possible. lt is indeed something that is needed. Seniors, like the rest of us, need to feel useful and good about sharing their skills and experiences. I for one would like my final years spent in a family like setting with quality food.

The other idea that is becoming popular and one that would support growers like Catherine are CSA’s-Community Supported Agriculture. To support the local growers people group together and prepay for the food they would like grown for them. This food co-op group then picks up the fresh food and distributes it to the members. This is one way to keep our food production local and help the hard-working farmers who usually don’t have the marketing skills to make money from wonder how they find the time and energy to grow and sell as much as they do. If you would like to help the farmers with a local CSA, let me know. We can have a few meetings at the Holistic Health Centre in Penticton and see if we can make a difference.

Since the last Musings, I have had a bone density scan and was told that my density was 2.4 above average. The technician said it was the best result they had seen in years and asked why I was there. I said the surgeon had told me that my bones were soft; that was why they cracked. That was not the case: it was the way I twisted when I fell that caused the hip fracture.

Figuring out what my body’s ’real’ requirements are is still confusing. The government recommend 50-60 grams a day of protein, and John Robbins book Diet for a New America says that 20-30 grams is enough. Before I had the scan I upped my protein and calcium intake thinking that I wasn’t getting enough. Many studies have now proven that women who eat too much protein have the same mineral/calcium absorption problems as women who do not eat enough protein. So proven though I ate the minimum grams of protein, my calcium absorption was good, leading me to believe that all the vegetables have been eating must have been good for my bones. I am surprised at how much I am enjoying eating eggs and toast for breakfast. I don’t really enjoy the protein shakes, but will continue with them if I don’t have time to cook. I still prefer the taste and texture of vegetarian food but I now eat a small amount of organic meat so that I can gain a few pounds and rebuild my iron reserves. Getting my blood pressure to increase is harder than I figured, even with the additional salt. As with any change I will see how my body responds and re-examine my spiritual belief that eating meat lowers my vibrational rate.

Paul Pitchford did an excellent article in last month’s Issues about our society’s demand for excess protein. In his book he does recommend broken bone soup, as the gristle and the marrow help to keep our joints greased. The organ meats do the best repair work as long as the animal was raised and killed with love and respect. This meat is better absorbed energetically than the factory-farmed steaks that people usually buy at supermarkets. These a e loaded with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and fear. When I went back for my x -rays my bone was healing nicely and by the time this lssues is out, I will be doing the distribution once a gain. I am glad to be walking and am looking forward to some long hikes. I will continue doing yoga since I know it will help with the stiffness and keep my joints flexible and strong.

Thank you to all the people who sent cards wishing me well and sending me loving energy. As with all of life’s experiences. it is what we do with the lesson that counts. I expect I still have much to learn and being such a willing student of life, I will use this experience to deepen my compassion for others. Tears come to my eyes much easier. My heart responded deeply with the singing of the national anthem on Canada Day and tears flowed. The broken hip incident has slowed me down and I have made a promise to my inner child to nurture that idea of myself. It is very easy to keep busy with important tasks that need doing but now I ask myself if they are as important as the quiet time that nurtures my soul.