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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Letter from Co-Publishers

Kendra & Jacqueline, Co-publishers

Trees, flowers, herbs and garden plants have always felt like kin, a communal part of the natural world in which I feel content and alive. The foliage of the Earth exudes beauty and transmits vitality in various ways, rich sources of nutrients and natural extensions of sunshine and fresh air. Fruits and vegetables have become more of my dietary mainstay, resulting in improvements in health and energy.

People everywhere are moving toward plant-based foods, adding the colors of the rainbow to enhance their health and expand their culinary horizons. In this issue, writer April Thompson shares the secrets of making this a seamless transition in “The Roots of Good Health: Thriving on a Plant-Based Diet.” Plant-based menu choices are emerging at mainstream restaurants, and vegan and vegetarian cafes, restaurants and festivals are popping up with increasing popularity. We are becoming more invested in the quality of our food and where and how it is grown – avoiding pesticides and leaning more towards organic and nutrient-rich choices.

We are fortunate to live in a vibrant and verdant region of the country, with access to fresh fruits and vegetables sourced directly from local farms. As one of the sponsors of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) conference recently held in Lancaster, we had the opportunity to interact with the current generation of PA farmers, an increasingly diverse community of young and old seeking connection and education on topics such as ensuring nutrient-density in their vegetable crops, no-till farming, organic weed control, changing food policy, and making farming sustainable. Keynote speaker Josh Tickell–– director, author, activist and thought leader––offered an interesting suggestion of using social media as social activism; showing the world where true food comes from by telling a new food story or a soil story by taking selfies with farmed food from markets, farmers and farm stands.

A noticeable presence in the PASA conference this year was the representation of CBD and hemp farming and production. Growing up in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, I was often mystified as to why hemp with its many uses was banished. In “Pennsylvania Returns to a Strong Foundational Crop; The Reemergence of Local Hemp Production,” our editor, Gisele Rinaldi Siebold, illuminates the story of hemp’s return to our region, now among the top producers in the state.

The new freedom to cultivate hemp has fueled high hopes among farmers across the country, agricultural researchers, manufacturers and consumers for its use in a host of fiber-based products and its potential to combat climate change. Julie Peterson enlightens with “Hemp Gets Hot: Meet the Hardest Working Plant on the Planet.” You’ll find this and more in our new “Plant-Based Health & Wellness” section, created to educate and highlight the healing powers of hemp and other plants as well as plant-based products.

Education is the key to empowering ourselves to care for our bodies, our families, our pets and our planet.


May the sun shine upon us as we dream of warmer days, digging our hands in the dirt, feeling good, living simply, and laughing more.

Jacqueline Mast and Kendra Campbell, Co-Publishers