Food: The Key to Rural Urban Connectivity

By Sarah Dobec, R.H.N.

Connection. It happens everyday. Sometimes it’s when you finally figure out how to assemble the shelf, or perhaps when you realize that your new boss is your neighbour’s brother-in-law or when you learn a life’s lesson. Oprah might call it an “ah ha moment”.

Then there is the connection we make with people, nature and the world around us. It might be empathy for another person or the feeling of restfulness we experience when we spend time in nature. When we start to pay attention, connections are what make the world go round.

As a Holistic Nutritionist I spend a lot of time making food and health connections; home soup is healthier than canned or that sauerkraut has a probiotic content. I’m amazed everyday at how food can truly heal the body. But there is a whole other level of connection to be made in regards to our food. I might buy cabbage for its liver supportive properties but who grew the cabbage? Who made all this fresh, healing food available to me?

One of the most important rural urban connections is our food. We can grow some food in the city but the majority of the food available to us is coming from rural communities. This food is grown by families much like our own. These are people who choose farming as their occupation. They have agricultural skills that the average city dweller does not. Without sounding too dramatic, our life depends on them!

The buzz lately is to “know your farmer”. We spend good effort to choose the right doctor or real estate agent but how often do we think about our farmer? While knowing all our food suppliers might be challenging, maybe we could spend some effort knowing our “type” of farmer? Who is growing your food in the safest, healthiest, most sustainable way? This is where the certified organic food system is a tool for us ‘city folk’. By understanding what is supported and prohibited in the organic food system we champion a farmer who has made the choice to grow food without the use of chemicals and toxic inputs.

This choice is a three-fold connection – our health, our environment and a farmer. When a connection is created through our choices it fosters well-being and a sense of control.


Sarah Dobec is a Holistic Nutritionist and the Education Outreach Coordinator at The Big Carrot Natural Health Food Market. She spent a summer interning on an organic farm and experienced everything from seed to harvest and all the weeding in between.


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