Health & Wellness

Nutritionally Speaking: An Organic ”Terroir Manifesto”


During the month of Sept., we will be celebrating Organic Month at all Natural Grocers stores, with special classes and samplings – all highlighting the importance of the quality of food we eat, and why making sure our food, especially all of our fruits and veggies are organically grown. I share in my classes the negative effects to our health and the health of the environment, when we support with our shopping dollars conventional farming, with all of the over plowing, heavy use of chemicals to fight weeds and pests, and how we can ensure better outcomes with better choices: Organic and, when possible, local as well. I am often asked about the sources of ingredients in supplements: Are they from China? Is there really a strict monitoring of Organic and other standards?
Do you know where your food comes from? Have you met any of the farmers who work tirelessly in the heat so that you will have veggies and fruit on your table? Met any of the folks that baked the bread for the sandwich or toast you may be enjoying as you read this? I met Gary Nabhan at a nutrition conference a few years ago, and was moved by what he shared. He asked me to share his Terroir Manifesto with my readers, so here it is again. Gary Nabhan PhD, nature writer, seed saver, conservation biologist and sustainable agriculture activist who Mother Earth News has dubbed, ”The father of the local food movement,” has offered us his invitation: ”Know where your food comes from….”
His prose below is a great reminder for us all about where our ”nutrient-dense” foods come from. The French word terroir is translated as knowing where your food, ingredients comes from and is beautifully described in Dr. Nablan’s words below:
Terroir Manifesto
Know where your food has come from
through knowing those who produced it for you,
from farmer to forager, rancher or fisher
to earthworms building a deeper, richer soil,
to the heirloom vegetable, the nitrogen-fixing legume,
the pollinator, the heritage breed of livestock,
& the sourdough culture rising in your flour.

Know where your food has come from
by the very way it tastes:
its freshness telling you
how far it may have traveled,
the hint of mint in the cheese
suggesting what the goat has eaten,
the terroir of the wine
reminding you of the lime
in the stone you stand upon,
so that you can stand up for the land
that has offered it to you.
Know where your food has come from
by ascertaining the health & wealth
of those who picked & processed it,
by the fertility of the soil that is left
in the patch where it once grew,
by the traces of pesticides
found in the birds & the bees there.
Know whether the bays & shoals
where your shrimp & fish once swam
were left richer or poorer than before
you & your kin ate from them.
Know where your food comes from
by the richness of stories told around the table
recalling all that was harvested nearby
during the years that came before you,
when your predecessors & ancestors,
roamed the same woods & neighborhoods
where you & yours now roam.
Know them by the songs sung to praise them,
by the handmade tools kept to harvest them,
by the rites & feasts held to celebrate them,
by the laughter let loose to show them our affection.
Know where your foods come from
by the patience displayed while putting them up,
while peeling, skinning, coring or gutting them,
while pit-roasting, poaching or fermenting them,
while canning, salting or smoking them,
while arranging them on a plate for our eyes to behold.
Know where your food comes from
by the slow savoring of each and every morsel,
by letting their fragrances lodge in your memory
reminding you of just exactly where you were the very day
that you became blessed by each of their distinctive flavors.
When you know where your food comes from
you can give something back to those lands & waters,
that rural culture, that migrant harvester,
curer, smoker, poacher, roaster or vinyer.
You can give something back to that soil,
something fecund & fleeting like compost
or something lasting & legal like protection.
We, as humans, have not been given
roots as obvious as those of plants.
The surest way we have to lodge ourselves
within this blessed earth is by knowing
where our food comes from.
I hope you are all inspired by this to get to know and thank your farmers, bakers, vintners and all the rest of the people who toil to bring you what you eat and drink! Organic growing methods offer healthier choices, healthier farmers and healthier consumers! Salud!
At Natural Grocers in Eugene, where I am the store’s Nutritional Health Coach, we offer free classes that include plenty of information about healthy eating choices, and free one-on-one health coaching sessions (call 541-345-3300). Please ”like” our Natural Grocers-Eugene Facebook page. Find our store’s schedule of free classes at:



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