Urban Farming

The Gaia Factor ~ An Important Connection to our Wellbeing

October 24, 2018

This blog has been swirling in my head for months now. I’ve been deep in mothering mode of two small kiddos and the everyday happenings of running a restaurant and a farm.

This blog has been swirling in my head for months now.

I’ve been deep in mothering mode of two small kiddos and the everyday happenings of running a restaurant and a farm. With all of that and my sweet 1-year-old waking multiple times a night, I’ve been operating with less than optimal sleep.

So I’ve prioritized the brainpower I do have for the necessities and allowed myself to rest and rejuvenate whenever possible between my to do list each day. It’s allowed me to stay as healthy as I possibly can without getting optimal sleep for months and months. Heck, I might write a blog about staying healthy as a new mom one of these days, but not today. Today, we’re diving into what it means to be connected to Gaia and the benefits that connection provides to us.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

My friend, have you noticed as a whole, we’re sicker, more unhappy and living on a planet with air and water now more polluted than ever before? Being a plant-based chef and owner of a plant-based eatery, you might expect me to tell you cleaning up our diet is the key. And you would be right. It’s ONE of the most important keys to helping us live our best lives, get sick less often and heal this planet one person at a time starting with ourselves. Cleaning up the diet, for me, would include reducing or omitting processed food, processed sugars and replacing with organic NON-GMO veggies, fruits, gluten-free grains and legumes (and for some, small amounts organic/grass feed/free range or wild caught animal products). But cleaning up our diet is just ONE key. 

There is another key I want to talk to you about today and that is CONNECTION to Gaia.

Elliana and I cooking a meal for our farm volunteers.

But first, let me lay down some facts:

  • Glyphosate use has increased more than 15 fold in the past 20 years and only recently have we been doing real in depth studies of how it’s affecting the soil, plant life, humans, the oceans and basically all life on the planet.  It’s an an herbicide and antibiotic which is now linked to cancer, algae blooms happening in the oceans, killing fish and marine life and killing our precious soil.  You can read more about how it’s affecting us and the planet by visiting Moms Across America.
  • We’ve had rising water, air and soil pollution at rates higher each year since the Industrial revolution started in the early 1900’s. You can stay in the know by following water and planet advocate Erin Brockovich.
  • Over 60 billion US dollars are spent on pharmaceuticals each year.  Nearly 7 in 10 Americans are taking some kind of pharmaceutical drug.
  • Auto-immune disease rates are on the rise.

What is going on?!

I chose to call out the four points above because I believe they are all very connected.  Chemicals like glyphosate are being used on our crops yards, school sports fields and parks. Consumers are purchasing food and products using those chemicals. Then we have the effect from these chemicals of sickness for humans, animals, plant life and the Earth as a whole.  It’s a lot to digest, I know.  But important to note for what you’re about to read.

We want to feel good, right?  We want to be disease-free, sleep well and have an abundance of energy and live without aches and pains. We want to feel good in our skin and help the people we love (like our children, parents and significant others) to feel their best and be healthy. So much of this can be improved by simply paying attention to what foods we are consuming.  But there’s a key component that can take us to the next level that’s just not talked about in the wider arena.

It is simply this. True wellbeing comes from not JUST what we eat, but by our connection to the source that creates our food. We cannot separate our wellbeing from the wellbeing of the planet. Sure, we can eat organic and local and stay away from processed food and that is AWESOME and so important.  Keep doing that or start now.

Eating vibrant food that hasn’t been sprayed definitely helps raise our level of wellbeing. Heck, changing my diet changed my life. It’s why I opened Ezra’s Café. Since starting our organic farm three years ago there is another level that I’ve awakened too ~ thanks to being in connection with Gaia on a deeper level. She’s helped me wake up. There is a component you don’t hear about on the Today Show or from Dr. Oz.

The key to a full well-rounded sense of deep wellbeing is connecting to Gaia.

Gaia (our Mother Earth) is the fertile land from which our food comes. She is our home. We can make our weekly trip to Whole Foods or our local health food store and purchase our healthier foods but if we aren’t consciously connecting to the food, we are missing an important part of the full spectrum of wellbeing.  

So let’s take a moment here to narrow down what does being connected feel like?  How do you know if you’re connected? Here are some of my personal clues:

  • Feeling truly ALIVE – aware of my humanity and can feel the aliveness of a moment
  • Being interested in my surroundings – curiosity comes back
  • Being in awe – I can see the details in life around me and be in awe of something like a blooming flower or a spider weaving her web.
  • Feeling the full spectrum of emotions more deeply and more often
  • Feeling healthy – or as well as possible in this moment.  Feeling good in my skin.

My sweet baby girl and I processing garlic from the farm. I really wonderful way to for us to connect together and to this medicine we incorporate into our food.

Now let’s dive into ways you can connect to Gaia and by doing so, a deeper level of wellbeing for yourself.

Get back into the kitchen. I love that you’re eating healthy foods! But are you cooking at least one meal from scratch each day?

Picking up a salad from Whole Foods is lovely, but when we chop the garlic and onions and veggies and we experience the steam and the sizzle and the satisfaction of watching our meal come together we are connecting to that meal. And beyond that we’re connecting to the lineage of people who have come before us who were the medicine keepers of their homes. Yes, I said it. 

We connect to our ancestors by chopping that garlic.

Physical connection to the food itself – touching the veggies and spices and grains ~ the chopping and sifting and anything that physically connects our hands to the food connects us to the earth. It helps our body remember that we share this planet with them. The sensory experience of touching and smelling and seeing the beautiful colors brings down our blood pressure and has a calming effect. When we are calm, we have less inflammation. We miss this when most of our food is pre-prepared or pre-chopped.

Growing our food ~ I know it’s not possible for all to have a large garden. But if you have a window, you can grow a small pot of herbs. No matter the space and time you have, most everyone can find a way to grow something. And if that’s not possible, getting to know your local farmers at the farmers market is a close second! There is a magic to growing our own food that connects us to that plant. Planting, watering it, admiring it and using it in your food brings you into relationship with that plant. It’s a connection that brings calm, contentment and joy.

Supporting those in our community that grow our food. I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you might have been to your local farmers market at least a time or two. The satisfaction of laying our eyes on the vibrancy of a head of lettuce just picked that morning or a pint of deep midnight blue blueberries is hard to contend with. Looking your farmer in the eye and connecting through conversation is like connecting through a grounding rod to Gaia. And when we consume those juicy blueberries, our vibration meets that of the blueberry on a higher note than blueberries from the grocery store. You’ve met the person who grew them with love. And that makes them precious. That feeling of gratitude and specialness translates to your cells.

Make sure you’re staying away from GMO’s  – this is a way to connect to the planet too. By voting with our dollar – for our wellbeing and the health of every living thing.

A few other daily actions you can take to connect are – walk barefoot on the earth, watch the sunset or the sunrise, pick up litter in your neighborhood, go outside and hug a tree and say thank you. Yes, you heard me.

And I’ll leave you with this broader form of connection ~ giving a f*ck. Yes, I said it.

We must give a F about what we’re eating and where it comes from in order for us to feel good. You can’t have one without the other. This means caring about how it’s grown, how far it’s traveled and if it’s been sprayed.  Have the people harvesting and growing been paid a living wage, and does the company or people growing the food or serving the food you’re eating give a f*ck about you, your family, your community or the planet?

Every dollar is a vote. It’s a vote for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of the planet. We can’t fix the planet alone. But when we do our part of lessening the burden on her, we are lessoning the burden on our soul and our body. When we give a fuck, we are healthier than when we don’t. I never did like that “giving no fucks” trend anyway. I give a lot of them and it makes me feel great. And I don’t think I’m alone. It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect; that concept does not exist. However, taking action in some form, no matter how small, matters.

In summary, I hope this inspires you to get connected, get in the kitchen, get your feet on the ground, pull out that family recipe book or hug a tree. Find that connection that goes deeper than the grocery store and see where it leads you.  I have a feeling your spirit and your cells will thank you.

Blessed Be,

Chef Audrey






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