Metropolitan MattersToday we're living with cultural/collective individual disconnect between land/earth/nature and ourselves. This is exemplified in the ecologically destructive forms we grow the majority of our food, our desires to live high carbon footprint lifestyles, the pain/fear we often experience in nature in reaction to her elements, and more locally it shows in the way we manage our own properties/land.
Connecting with nature in such a way that our desires shift to a set that is more earth nurturing and ecological caring/inclusive is a shift in consciousness that can't be completed alone by educational programs and awareness raising events/workshops. Humans change through experiences, and in Metropolitans where 80% or 4/5 people live, our land touching our dear neighbors land, holds the potential to change people, if we, those already on a path to balance with nature/earth, can create positive experiences for people. We know that short-term (next 1,000 years at least) the health of nature depends on human actions and inaction. So this is an ecological restoration shift in focus to the number 1 ecological cause of distress and destruction; our current dominant cultural/collective and individual disconnect.
Oh, What We Can Do With This Land (Please Read this Part)
Woody Plants (Trees, Shrubs, Vines)
Hazelnuts - Nuts - Hybrids for now - (Corylus hybridized)
Oaks - Acorns - (Quercus sp.)
Chestnuts - Nuts - Hybrids for now
American Persimmon - Fruit
Wild Plums - Fruit - (In the Prunus genus of Cherries, Plums, and Peaches)
Riverbank Grape - young green shoots, leaves, seeds fruits edible (Vitis riparia)Vitis riparia, Riverbank Grape, is unique among the wild grapes in that the astringency is so low in the leaves, that one can eat them raw, retaining all of the nutrients. Or you can look up recipes for grape leaf soups, cutting out the blanching step, as this species don't need that, which is a major loss of nutrients. Drought tolerant perennial vine crops, that produce edible leaves and stems + fruits and seeds, like Passion flower written about below, can be highly versatile and highly productive food sources. Have you ever tried to grow kale, spinach, or swiss chard? There's work involved there. Where as with Passion flower and Riverbank grape, you really just need to give them something to climb on, and then harvest sustainably throughout the season so that they can still produce fruit and have enough leaves/stems to still thrive. We (Pioneer Landscapes) likes to set up 8' tall to 16' tall 4"x 4" concreted 2'-3' into the ground, and run grape ochard wires in between them for a type of vertical growing. Grape leaves have been nutritionally analyzed as one of the most nutrient dense leaves available for us to eat. They have a higher amount of Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron (3 Common American Nutrient deficiencies) than Spinach, Kale, and Broccoli. They also have good amounts of Vitamin K, A, C, and some B-Complex. The seeds and fruit should be blended together into a puree, releasing the seed's nutritionally and medicinally valuable oils into the grape juice. The grapes will taste citriousy + a little sweet.
A Few Herbaceous Plants
Jerusalem Artichokes - Root - (Helianthus tuberosus)
Wild Sweet Potato - Vine - Root (toxic without proper preparation)
Passion Flower - Vine - Fruit (Passiflora incaranta)
The Passionflower is plant of many qualities/potential uses. The leaves/stems contain a compound called Chrysin, a flavonoid, which can have a sedative effect on the mind/body system if a tea or tincture of passionflower is taken on an empty stomach. In Europe, our American native Passionflower is widely prescribed by doctors as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety remedy.
Groundnut - Vine - Root (Apios americana)
These plants just scratch the surface for the potential for us to connect with nature while healing the land through transitioning agriculture back to native plants in ecologically restorative formats. See Daniel E Moreman's Native American Food Plants book, and his Native American Medicinal Plants book to glimpse a fraction of how much potential abundance our land could produce with foods, medicine, and ecologically healing.
Key Points of this Blog post (Repeated Info)
"Connecting with nature in such a way that our desires shift to a set that is more earth nurturing and ecological caring/inclusive is a shift in consciousness that can't be completed alone by educational programs and awareness raising events/workshops. Humans change through experiences, and in Metropolitans where 80% or 4/5 people live, our land touching our dear neighbors land, holds the potential to change people, if we, those already on a path to balance with nature/earth, can create positive experiences for people. "
"There is a hierarchy created by degrees connectedness, in which food is the most basic, and most engaging stimulus to a human being. For example, some people would only go outside to water their Tomatoes and other gardening plants. Other people, could walk out in the morning dew, to see the arising pollinators buzzing from plant to plant getting a sort of spiritual food out of the experience of just observation. While some people can mostly only hold their attention on activities in nature like hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking. Wherever we are on this spectrum, we can all meet, where the food hits the ground, and at the dinner table."