How We Can Occupy Our Food System

PujaWelcomeWeb1-300x216As I begin this writing, I am inspired by a TED talk in which Roger Doiron, of Kitchen Gardeners International spoke about the power of kitchen gardening over diet, health, and our wallets.

In his simple presentation I was moved to see that if we” Occupy” our own food systems, we will naturally have an effect on the world’s supply and practices, as well as redefine the quality of life all people deserve. I have been a part of the gardening momentum for 23 years as one of the founders of Growing Spaces LLC. However, I feel now that it is time for the real Food Revolution called for by Jamie Oliver which is essential for health AND also the need to take back our power from Big Food.

My husband and I had personal journeys through the discovery that food is a preventative medicine before we even met 27 years ago.  My journey included working in the Virginia Beach Clinic of the Association for Research and Enlightenment one summer, where the works of Edgar Cayce pointed to “toxicity” as the base of all disease.  When I was 19, starting my first non-profit called Life Arts Incorporated  I was motivated by a quote from Gina Cerminara who said in her book The World Within that “future medical clinics would treat and teach the Whole person.”  My mother was an Adele Davis fan who was dismayed that nutrition wasn’t taught in medical schools. Our Mid-Western background included Victory Gardens for everyone and she was adept at finding natural remedies and non-invasive therapies for illness. Since my marriage to Udgar Parsons, I learned to deal with hypoglycemia, yeast infections, flu, colds, muscle soreness, sports injury and digestion without allopathic medicine, due to our heightened physical sensitivity, so our personal practices are FOUNDED on good nutrition.  Our visits to Optimum Health Institute in Austin, Texas taught us how to reclaim vitality though a raw green diet and that alkalizing the system leads one back to stability.  We have learned that cancer stops growing the minute the body becomes alkaline and diseases of all kinds halt their growth when fresh food is the basis of nutrition. In all this, we became conscious of the power in food  to destroy or to enhance one’s Life Force.

As greenhouse providers we have also learned about the importance of soil, beneficial insects, and proper organic seeds.  REAL nutrition means participating in the gifts of nature that are ours to learn when Nature becomes our Teacher.  In 1974 in my thesis, I remember quoting Alan Watts who said, “We don’t come INTO this world at all, we come OUT of it.” He pointed to our dependence on all these things and our misconception that man has dominion over nature.

Now, in 2012, I am aware that an added element is the FACT that Big Agra or Big Food is mindlessly affecting the health of our people and our planet, due to the methods that are motivated purely  by the intention to build profit.  In response, Roger Doiron is the founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, says he has a “subversive plot” in encouraging us to create kitchen gardens to reclaim the power over our food, in numbers.  Like the Occupy Movement, his suggests that as we use our food as a “gateway” we will find freedom in cooking, preservation and learning about the importance of it. I wholeheartedly agree.

Perhaps it is time to educate ourselves about the macrocosm we have as a planet, and begin to educate one another to bring awareness to these facts. I am seeing that as I attempt to help provide healthy food practices through gardening, I am also helping to solve a much bigger problem, and choice that affects us all. Every little movement and choice makes a difference.

Small actually IS beautiful, and if we each take control of our own diets, we can affect our own health and the health of the larger community. Control of our food supply will have widespread ramifications beyond which we can barely comprehend at the moment.  Most people are so unaware of the high cost of low cost food in medical treatment and the vicious cycles of degradation that they haven’t begun to consider what this change could do to help us in our world.  Don’t get me started…..I plan to help folks educate themselves and continue to “gain ground,” both literally and symbolically.

Puja Dhyan
CEO/Founder at Growing Spaces LLC

From Kitchen Gardeners UNITE! website –

The Challenge: Feed more people healthier food while preserving and enhancing the health of the planet.

Our Solution:  Harness the power of people who grow their own nutritious, delicious, and sustainable food to help others do the same.

We are a nonprofit community of 20,000 kitchen gardeners from over 100 countries.


Big Food Must Go: Why We Need to Radically Change the Way We Eat

by Christopher D. Cook, author of Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis (New Press). He has also written for Harper’s, the Economist, the Los Angeles Times and the Christian Science Monitor.
His Web site is

Occupy has opened a national dialogue about inequality and the dangers of surrendering our basic life-support systems over to corporate control… Good, healthy, affordable food is a basic human right that has been interfered with in the current capitalistic food system… Beyond any aesthetic concerns about local versus multinational, or slow food versus fast food, the well-documented reality is that Big Food has attained phenomenal and destructive power over what we eat — our diets, our health and the planet.

Consider a few quick facts:

  • Four corporations, led by Walmart, control more than half of grocery sales. Walmart alone gets more than one quarter of every grocery dollar spent in the U.S.
  • Three companies — Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta — own 47 percent of the world’s seeds. And they own 65 percent of the global proprietary maize market.
  • Nearly every major commodity — wheat, corn, soy — is controlled by just four corporations.
  • Just four corporations control more than 80 percent of all our meat supply.
  • According to USDA statistics, America loses more than 17,000 farmers a year — one every half an hour.

This corporate occupation of our food isn’t just unfair and wrong; it’s impractical and destructive. It’s ruining farmers, the land and our future food supply.


Another Great Link with More Information is:

1 Comment

  • oh my goodness. That is amazing that we give up that much control on our food. We have to have food to live. I am just stunded.

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