Sharon New October 11th, 2010
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Sara Edwards. She and her mother came up to get a sample of zucchini patties at the Cooking Demo I was doing a few weeks ago and – well, we got to talking all about local food – in Spain. Sara, a 20 year old senior studying Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Maryland (College Park) had just returned from a backpacking adventure in Spain where she lived with a family on their organic, sustainable farm in El Pardal. I asked Sara to write about her thoughts on the importance of sustainable living and why eating local, healthful food is so important. Below are her wonderful words of wisdom (emphasis are mine).
My desires for studying in Spain for a semester came from a variety of passions: to learn another language, soak up the culture and cuisine, and to experience what it would be like to become immersed in a truly sustainable lifestyle. The international non-profit organization known as WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) helped me pursue all of these goals by linking me with a small farm in the Sierra Mountains of Cazorla, Spain called El Pardal. The only tricky part was actually getting there…
After hiking six long hours through the Sierras beautiful wilderness preserve, I finally arrived at my sustainable oasis for the next three weeks. A warm welcome from the fellow WWOOFers, who were from every corner of the world, gave me a great sense of relief. And luckily, in accordance with my growling stomach, it was dinner time at the farm. The menu for tonight was simple, local, and delicious– real food. Following a quick blessing to remind us to respect where our food came from, I dove into the freshly picked wild herb salad, homemade bread and mayonnaise, along with asparagus from the garden. Not only was eating fresh organic food from the farm a rewarding feeling, but after a few weeks I also began to look visibly healthier. My time spent WWOOFing at El Pardal taught me that what you put into your body does truly make a difference. How you feel, how you sleep, and how you look is dependent on what you fuel your body with.
Daily routine at the farm consisted of milking the goats, making yogurt, caring for the garden, collecting eggs, and other chores. Though this simple life has its routines, never did my daily tasks feel tedious. Without commodities like a fridge, toilet, or even paper, my perception of what really is a ´need´ was challenged and changed. The relationships I built over my three weeks at El Pardal, with the people, animals, and earth, gave me a new found appreciation for our fragile environment and the importance of the food we grow from it.
Sara is currently an Outdoor Trip Leader and Sustainability Intern, hoping to continue working with environmental issues after graduating next spring. Email Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more questions about her adventures or about WWOOF. Sara – courageous women like you give me hope for the future!!