Letter from Publisher




Shannon Knight

Agriculture takes center stage this month with fresh perspectives on where and how we produce our food these days—and why it matters. In “Crops in the City: Urban Agriculture Breaks New Ground,” writer April Thompson profiles some of the noteworthy pioneers that are forging a path to organic city farming on a commercial scale—tapping into new technologies and markets and turning challenges like dealing with space constraints into innovative opportunities. Learn how these enterprising entrepreneurs have found their niche on rooftops, in vertical tower gardens and abandoned warehouses in former food deserts, reconnecting urbanites to their food sources while bettering the environment, communities, diets and health.

 

Meantime, budding backyard growers can get a boost from a small army of experts planted in nearly every county in the nation, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Help for Home Gardeners: Extension Agents at Your Service” details the resources available, including low- or no-cost soil testing, the latest research, handbooks on a variety of local gardening topics and workshops on everything from making rain barrels and creating rain gardens to implementing eco-friendly pest control, cultivating native plants and employing best practices for organic gardening.

 

July is an ideal time to add a healthy dose of fresh, organic herbs to a home garden for cool salads, luscious smoothies and other hot-weather eats and treats. Herbs are not only a flavorful addition to any meal, they’re also chock-full of health benefits, from lowering blood pressure and improving mineral balance to increasing immune support, hydration, energy and healthy skin. Discover the best ones to choose for this time of year in “Summer Eating: The Herbal Connection.”

 

Remember when kids were once shooed out the door to play and told not to return until mealtime? In “The Pure Joy of Play: Why Kids Need Unstructured Fun,” writer Ronica A. O'Hara reminisces about those bygone days and presents compelling evidence that free play is so important to children that pediatricians are actually writing prescriptions for it.

 

Such is the power of play, power being a recurring theme for July: There is also the power of the vagus nerve, a “superhighway” that connects the gut-brain axis; the power of forest bathing, which renews mind and body; and the transformational power of dreams.

 

Be well in love and peace,

 

Shannon Knight

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