Feeding Ourselves and Landing Through Food – Food Tank
FromSoil2Soul, based in California, helps people feel the healing effects of nature. The organization’s founder, Devorah Brous, accomplishes this mission by teaching individuals and communities regenerative homesteading techniques, primarily focused on food production.
“Growing food regeneratively is a tangible benefit for the well-being of the individual, the community and the planet: replacing a broken relationship with nature with a renewed and reciprocal relationship with the healing forces of nature. Brous told Food Tank.
Brous started FromSoil2Soul as a way to guide people towards a more holistic way of life through hands-on courses that connect people with the earth. Her classes teach participants about gardening, food preservation, herbal remedies, seed knowledge, and composting. For individuals or communities, Brous also offers installations and support for vegetable gardens, food forest systems, composting systems and chicken coops. His approach prioritizes soil health and cultivating a strong gut microbiome.
“I’ve seen the best changemakers and wide-eyed believers reach their threshold, become unhealthy and leave the movement’s organization,” Brous, a veteran environmental justice community organizer, told Food Tank. “The study of land rights, soil science and herbalism is what drew me to regenerative gardening, regenerative healing and the cultivation of food as medicine.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Burnout is a professional phenomenon characterized by feelings of exhaustion, alienation or emotional distancing, apathy and reduced performance. Burnout is often the result of prolonged periods of stress.
Burnout Rates Are Rising in the United States A 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association finds that approximately 80 percent of respondents reported recent work-related stress, and nearly 60% experienced negative impacts as a result.
At the same time, certain aspects of a modern way of life are associated with reduced connectivity with nature. A study in Scientists progress names increased indoor time, screen time, and decreased outdoor recreation as barriers to routine exposure to nature.
“Many of us live at a breakneck pace, far from the rhythms of nature and largely unavailable to observe subtle changes around us or within us,” Brous told Food Tank. But, she continues, “tending the plants, sifting the harvest by hand, cooking slowly and eating without a screen are some of the little gestures of the week that can help us manage the anxiety or depression that causes so many diseases”.
Part of Brous’ advice includes the Regenerative Change Cycle, a framework she developed as an anti-burnout strategy. The cyclical stages include fallowing, sowing, tending and harvesting. His teaching also blends indigenous wisdom surrounding biomimicry and permaculture with ancient land laws found in the Torah.
Brous explains that home food production can promote physical well-being by providing nutrient-dense, chemical-free food. The maintenance of the earth also serves as ecotherapy.
“The shift from dependence on junk food to greater self-sufficiency is profoundly healing. Listening to our body’s needs is healing. Learning to become our own kitchen medicine makers and folk herbalists is empowering,” said Brous told Food Tank.
Several studies, especially in the International Journal of the Environment Research and Public health and Current directions in psychological sciences support the link between nature and well-being. Research suggests that there are positive correlations between exposure to natural stimuli and social well-being, Cognitive functioning and stress management. And one study Posted in Frontiers in public health cites therapeutic horticulture as one of the most effective approaches to ecotherapy.
“The benefits for individuals who grow chemical-free, nutrient-dense foods in tandem with nature’s cycles are myriad: from increased physical well-being to increased spiritual well-being,” Brous said. at Food Tank. “Food culture guides us in abundance, diversity, relationships, and survival – all concepts that nurture well-being and cultivate a growth mindset.”
Prior to starting FromSoil2Soul, Brous spent 15 years in Palestine where she witnessed increasing environmental contamination, westernization of traditional lifestyles became westernized, forced urbanization that separated Bedouins from their dryland agricultural and cultural practices.
In response, she founded BUSTAN, a non-profit organization designed to provide medical services to unrecognized Bedouins living in an off-grid village. Many have suffered from diet-related illnesses and chronic complications attributed to growing health risks posed by nearby chemical factories, an oil depot, a military testing area and a toxic waste incinerator.
“Food as healing is about reclaiming the power to choose what seed we grow, where and how we grow food,” Brous told Food Tank. “It’s also about the pace at which we eat, our gratitude practices and learning how farm workers are treated. It is with every choice along the food chain, from farm to fork, that we deepen and expand our integral relationship with nature as a healer.
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