When I read a book for review I put markers in pages that are particularly interesting. However I soon had to stop that with Conscious Food as I realised I was ‘marking’ nearly every page!
From 8,000 BCE with the cultivation of barley in Southern Turkey; through the Essenes of 135 BCE to AD70 and the Gnostic Gospels; through the Celts; through The Council of Nicaea, convened by the Emperor Constantine in AD 325. From the Puritan immigrants from Great Britain to the technological changes characterized by the expansion of the railways in the United States, through the emergence of permaculture in 1959. To today when “only a handful of corporations in the modern United States control the nation’s food distribution system …” Jim Pathfinder Ewing tells the story of agriculture and food and lets us know that that there is a better way forward.
Making the connection between Spirit and Nature as a feminine power the author points out that it is “no coincidence that agriculture, food, Spirit, and the role of women and elders are all marginalized in Western society”. The need to dominate has led to food being seen as a product of human will with vast amounts of money spent by multinational businesses promoting the patently ridiculous scenario of striping landscapes mechanically and chemically in order to make land productive with healthy crops.
As Pathfinder Ewing says “the stories of agriculture are being re-written, in inclusive ways” and this book is definitely a wonderful example of this with each chapter containing useful tips from Jim’s farming notebook, review notes and key words for further internet research. From fertilizer to feeding the world, Conscious Food contains a vast amount of informative gems: such as the fact that “Converting all 434 million acres of the US farmland to organic would sequester nearly 1.6 billion tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 8000,000 cars off the road annually.”
This relatively slim book contains an astounding treasure trove of information. Learn about heliotropism and the energy field a plant has; the coexistence of plants and insects and how to use weeds as an ally not an enemy in growing crops. Discover how the ‘living’ planet, Pandora, in the film Avatar wasn’t so far-fetched after all!
Jim Pathfinder Ewing poses the question “If anyone, and everyone, can grow healthful, nutritious food in their backyards, on their windowsills, or in their neighbourhood community gardens, or have access to locally grown, chemical free fruit and vegetables, where is the profit?” There is a growing body of individuals engaging in urban agriculture: small farms, allotments; backyard vegetables and herbs in window pots. In our hearts we all know the obvious – food is a living entity not a product.
Highly recommended reading, Conscious Food is an eloquent, very informative book that tracks the history of agriculture from the first cultivation, to the current state of mass production by huge multinational companies, and brings hope that each of us can make a difference for a more sustainable spiritual future.
Book Details: Jim Pathfinder Ewing. Conscious Food. Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating. Findhorn Press (15 Jan 2013), ISBN: 978-1844095964.
Review Details: Conscious Food. Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating was reviewed by June Kent, editor of Indie Shaman magazine.
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