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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Publisher's Letter for March 2021

Feb 26, 2021 05:10PM ● By Marilee Burrell

A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.

                   – Matshona Dhliwayo

Bring on the spring! We experienced a double whammy this year, winter and Covid. Finally we’re about to leave the dark, isolating months of winter and enter the light-filled spring, during a receding pandemic, set to nature’s soundtrack of peepers and birds. This spring is going to be especially sweet.

As a gardener, I find March exciting. I love getting my hands in the dirt. I’ve got my veggie gardens all mapped out. Last fall I planted garlic for the first time, so I already have this new crop in the ground. Because I have small gardens, I mostly buy seedlings, but I can never resist starting some seeds from scratch. 

Good soil is dark, rich and porous. It’s teeming with life, and it’s key to growing healthy food. However, conventional farming depletes the soil over time, so the food produced is deficient in important nutrients, and eventually these farming methods turn the land barren. In fact, one third of the world’s land surface is now considered desert. On top of that, these same farming practices are responsible for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gases. The way we’re growing most food now is not sustainable. The solution is regenerative organic farming, which rebuilds the soil, draws carbon from the atmosphere and produces nutrient-rich food. To understand the scope of this issue, please read “Down to Earth: The Promise of Regenerative Organic Farming,” on page 22. Immediately following that article, on page 25, you can find out how to get hands-on experience with the Westchester chapter of the Bionutrient Food Association. Their workshops, held on-site at local farms, teach gardeners of all experience levels how to build good soil.

While signs of life are starting to emerge in nature, the same is happening with local business. A new MOM’s Organic Market has opened in Dobbs Ferry (see page 8), and Mother Earth’s in Poughkeepsie has transformed into Nature’s Harvest, with new owner Omar De La Cruz and general manager David Barillaro (see page 18) putting their hearts and passion into supporting local food producers.

The CBD business continues to expand in our area, with more resources available now than ever before. To learn the newest info about these plant-based healing products, read “Hemp-Derived Cannabidiol: A Primer on the Latest Research,” on page 26. You’ll find a list of local retailers at the end of the article.

Our calendar is starting to grow again too, with more events being planned for the months ahead.  Send us your happenings, news and Earth Day events for the April edition, even if they are virtual. And visit our website,, for more articles and to submit info or post an event to our free online community calendar.  Please join our email list while you’re there. You can also email me news, events and story ideas directly at [email protected]

I’m optimistic about the future and excited to see what our post-pandemic economy will look like, especially with a new focus on sustainability. Hope to see you out and about before too long.

Enjoy the light!