Grounding myself by sitting on the earth, looking out to the ocean. I’m covered in salt, my own and the seas, but right now one and the same.
I’m connected to the earth from which I came and where I am rooted. My legs may be itchy and stung from the plants, but this is a reaction I almost embrace. This intimate connectedness to nature and therefore to myself. Only when I am outside, moving the fresh air through my lungs surrounded by nothing but the wonders of nature, do I feel free and truly alive.
I crave this seamless transition back into the natural world, something that four walls and an urbanised, centralised, and robotised version of society can’t offer. These screens from which our existence seemingly depends now, a lifeless source of information and connectivity.
The ability to save time, whether it be in making plans to see friends, connecting with work colleagues or having fun. Cutting corners, distraction from reality, endless information at our fingertips, and yet somehow, causing immense dis-satisfaction.
This longing to become something you’re not, not even knowing really what that something you are is due to a constant comparison to those external to yourself.
Our modern method of stretching and challenging our brains has also meant we’re disconnected to our food, our sustenance and our health. We now cut corners and distract ourselves from reality in our food choices. For some, the packaged item in the supermarket is all they care to extend their thoughts to, not to the process, the people, the probable transportation involved in the growing and distribution. It’s at a cheap cost to the consumer, with a massive cost on the planet and the producers.
We feed ourselves lies about how culture shouldn’t change its dependency on animal products, feed ourselves chemicals because we’ve created a system in need of perfection and high yields all year. Vandana Shiva, an advocate of food sovereignty, has inspired a lot of my thinking. Her belief we should reconnect with our roots, in the literal sense, and wake-up to the idea of corporations monopolising our seed supplies and keeping farmers at their mercy, is something I feel so passionately about I have helped set up Penryn Produce.
In involving myself in Penryn Produce, a student led cooperative, I have helped students receive fresh, organic produce from one of our local farms to the Tremough Campus. Cusgarne Organics is a biodynamic farm, that prides itself on its lack of chemicals and ‘imperfect’ seasonal veg.
We supply 7 varieties on a weekly basis, at a price not far from whole-sale as a not-for-profit enterprise. Our produce is unwrapped, covered in soil and even homes some critters we’re all too used to picking off and placing on greenery we’re less opposed to them consuming.
Thanks to the NUS Student Eats initiative, we’ve been granted a considerable sum of money to develop this. Alongside our student union and irreplaceable volunteers, we are looking to expand into providing not only more fresh produce but alternatives to the currently convenient packaged and processed food, by making it just as convenient to choose ethically – and in doing so choosing the long-term health of not only our bodies but our planet.
It’s time we turn away again from short-term gratification and look towards what will actually benefit us: developing our relationship with ourselves and with nature. In the simplest sense, to quote Vandana: ‘When you are doing the right thing for the earth, she gives you great company.’ To continue our existence on this beautiful earth, we should start acting as if our lives depend on its health, a truth we are slowly connecting with again.
Ellie Brown is a student at Falmouth University and Project Co-ordinator of Penryn Produce. To find out more about Penryn Produce check out this link.