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Back to the earth food practices

Fresh from the garden
Fresh from the garden
<a href="" title="Fruits vegetables various plants">Fruits vegetables various plants</a> by Marius Iordache

Many pagans, thrifty people, people concerned about chemicals and gmo's, and back to nature type people are looking for ways to include inexpensive, healthier, back to the land food items into their diets. For some it is a way to reconnect to the earth, for others it is to deal with health issues, and for others it is a way to be more independent from the corporate food engine. As pagans reconnecting with the circle of life and adding our own blood sweat and tears to the job of surviving and thriving becomes a sacred act of worship. There are many different options if this is something you are interested in, for example home gardens, canning and fermenting your own foods.

Home gardens are a common option for people who want to get back to the earth and eat healthy. A home garden allows you to grow what you want and know exactly what the plants have been treated with. You can start a home garden in containers if you have limited space, raised garden beds if you have gopher issues, and even pots on a window ledge for a small apartment herb garden. The main concern is to make sure you have a good rich soil, good drainage (for most plants) and have researched your specific plant or plants since different plants have different growing requirements. Lettuces are an easy crop to start with, or herbs like thyme or oregano. Tomatoes and zucchini are a great choice if you have a good sunny outside planting area.

Once you have grown your crops in your home garden and have more than you know what to deal with canning becomes a great option. Canning equipment is relatively easy to find and, although a decent initial investment, will last you a very long time. You will need a large canning pot with tongs and a funnel as well as canning jars, lids and bands. Canning jars come in many sizes and shapes so consider what you will be using your canned food for when making your choice. The only thing you cannot reuse are the lids themselves because it is very necessary they seal properly to prevent contamination, although you can reuse the screw on bands as long as they are not warped or rusty. There are as many canning options as there are canned goods in a supermarket. Water bath canning is good for foods that are acidic, like jams, pickles and tomato sauce. If you want to can non-acidic foods you will have to purchase a pressure cooker.

Another option is to ferment some of your produce and other things around your house while you are at it. Cabbage can be made into sauerkraut, cucumbers and zucchinis into pickles, and various veggies can be made into kimchi through fermentation. You can also make homemade probiotic sodas with ginger and sugar. Kombucha is fermented probiotic tea you can brew at home once you have access to a "mother" or "scoby" and water kefir is a probiotic liquid you can add to juices or make homemade soda from. Cheeses are made through a fermentation process as well and so is yogurt. Most of these require a starter culture of some kind to create the proper effects. Starters can often be acquired from friends who already ferment (like sourdough starter), purchased online or can sometimes found at local health food stores.

Gardening allows you to connect to the earth and eating food you have grown and prepared with your own hands becomes a sacred act, something that connects you with the divine. Indulging in foods that are fermented, actually alive, is a way to be completely a part of the circle of life and to support your health in a way that many people no longer bother to do. However, it is not just pagans who want to be more in touch with the earth. Everyone can benefit from simple back to the earth food choices. Just pick an option, do some research, get started and have fun!