Your Body, Your Health, Your Diet, Your Planet
One of my many classes in the Masters of Nutrition program at the National College of Natural Medicine specifically focuses on community non-profit organizations in Portland, Oregon.
Each week, a new speaker (usually the founder and mastermind of a local non-profit) comes to my classroom to present to us their work in the community. It is, needless to say, incredibly inspiring.
So far, we have heard from the founders of the following organizations: Students4Giving, Grow Portland, My Street Grocery (not a non-profit but might as well be with all the fantastic work they do!), Growing Gardens and Portland Fruit Tree Project.
While I would love to tell you the details about each of these inspiring organizations, I must save that for more blog posts and rainy days.
REASONS WHY Portland Fruit Tree Project Is Like Classical Chinese Medicine and Benefits Personal Health…first a little information about this organization…
- THEIR MISSION: “to increase equitable access to healthful food and strengthen communities by empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of city-grown food.”
- WHAT THEY DO: “provide a community-based solution to a critical and growing need in Portland and beyond: Access to healthy food. By empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of urban fruit trees, we are preventing waste, building community knowledge and resources, and creating sustainable, cost-free ways to obtain healthy, locally-grown food. Because money doesn’t grow on trees… but fruit does!”
- WHO THEY SERVE: “13-14% of Oregonians experiencing hunger or food insecurity each year. Many more have limited access to fresh fruit, which is vital to healthy diets, and can be scarce at food pantries.”
And now, TYING IT ALL TOGETHER…you may be wondering how does this all tie into Classical Chinese Medicine and Nutrition?
- Practitioners, students and patients of Chinese medicine recognize the connection between our gut, diet and nutrition, emotional and spiritual well-being and the health of our community, soils, and the health of planet Earth.
- Among treating all types of ailments, illnesses and disease, Chinese medicine always treats the Shén 神 (Heart/Mind/Spirit). This ancient medicine recognizes the need for person-to-person contact as one of the pathways to a healthy Shén. Research has shown that people who participate in volunteer work and community building receive multiple physical, mental and spiritual health benefits, i.e., Healthy Shén!
- Another means to health from a Chinese medicine perspective is through our stomach. Eating local, seasonal whole foods is written about in the classical Chinese medicinal text the Huáng Dì Nèi Jīng 黃帝 內 經 (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Cannon). Part of the nourishment comes from working with the trees and earth itself. The microcosmic energy of Earth manifests in the Chinese organ networks of the Stomach and the Spleen. We nourish our internal Earth through food and nutrition.
- Working with plants and trees, being connected to the natural cycles of Yīn and Yáng 陰 陽 and being outside in the fresh air and sunshine while walking on soil is another way to invigorate one’s Shén.
In conclusion, finding community via volunteer-work and helping those less fortunate, eating locally grown wholefoods, and playing outside are all means to a healthier Body/Heart/Mind. Portland Fruit Tree Project is an organization that supports humans from the personal to community to environmental to planetary levels. It doesn’t get much better than that!
FOR MORE INFORMATION about the Portland Fruit Tree Project, a short and sweet video can been seen here.