Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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On the farm: a season for healing

Samantha Tengelitsch - May 24th, 2007
As a child, my family lived across from a cherry orchard that stretched out before our house in all directions. It swallowed the land and touched the horizon. I found endless fascination in watching tractors and workers weaving in and out of rows, moving around the evenly spaced trees dotted with blossoms in the spring and
vibrant red cherries in the heat of summer.
Seated cross-legged between the two towering maples on our front lawn, I felt the sole witness to the magic of what made up a farm. As a young child, the men and women and the machines seemed to appear magically out of the infinite rows. At the end of the day, they would disappear with equal mystery into the depths of the orchard. And to discover for myself, as I eventually, inevitably did, the flavor of a freshly ripe cherry, was something akin to discovering a treasure in my own backyard.
Two years ago, following the death of a young Cherry Queen contestant to an
aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), I began researching the correlation between NHL and agricultural practices in Northern Michigan. I felt enormous inner-conflict when I discovered organophosphates, used commonly in cherry and apple orchards, and organochlorines were linked to several forms of soft tissue cancers. NHL is the leading cancer associated with pesticides, and in a heavily agricultural area, researchers typically see an increased incidence of these forms of cancer.
My own family (I have three young children) so enjoyed picking cherries out at the farm where I once lived. Our memories of this time are priceless. After my research and diagnosis one year later with the very same cancer I had spent the previous year researching, we stopped picking cherries at the conventional farm and instead purchased from an organic farm through the local Oryana cooperative. Still, my love of the farm and farming was very much alive and nothing could substitute the experience of tasting a freshly ripe cherry right off the tree, or the pleasure of being present on the farm. It was with great sorrow we let this experience go.
Earlier this spring, I began working at the Eco Learning Center, a few miles south of Suttons Bay on Bingham Rd. We’ve spent summers working there in the past, but the last two years were such a flurry of activity, we hadn’t so much as visited the farm. About a month ago, Erick, the girls and I walked up the winding road, past the vineyard and discovered something entirely new. The center had taken on a massive project: To grow apples, plums, cherries, apricots, currants and other berries, using the principles of biodynamics.
Rather than plant rows of trees, plantings occur in guilds, or companion groupings, which create an environment of health and well-being for the tree and those who work on the farm. There are still rows, but they are spaced differently than in the conventional orchard. I won’t go into great detail (you can see it for yourself), but I am thrilled to be learning about the principles of biodynamics and permaculture together in such a beautiful, healing and sacred place.
Cancer shook me to the core, but I am grateful for the experience. It truly made me a better person. And now it is time for me to do some healing; both physically and emotionally, getting back to the place I loved most as a child; rediscovering and reclaiming the magic of the orchard.

-- In healing and in wellness, Samantha Tengelitsch & family
 
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