by Karen Voelkening-Behegan
November 2012 was a big month for the Pasadena CA Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Not only did the annual Wise Traditions conference come to California, but 17 of us from our chapter attended. On the right is our chapter photo at the conference with Sally Fallon Morell, President, Treasurer and Co-Founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, author of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and editor of the Wise Traditions journal. Out of the 17 of us who attended the conference, not everyone made it to the photo opportunity, but at least 7 contributed to a group
presentation about the conference
at our November potluck dinner
|Sally Fallon Morell with Jolie Assina
at the Coconut Cow Exhibit
at the 2012 Wise Traditions Conference
At the chapter meeting, after announcements were made, Chapter Leader Karen Voelkening-Behegan started off the evening with a story about her encounter with fellow chapter member and conference exhibitor Jolie Assina of Coconut Cow, and Sally Fallon. At the Coconut Cow exhibit at the conference, Sally Fallon showed great interest in Jolie’s upcoming talk at our chapter meeting in January about the health benefits and politics of tropical oils.
Three of our members who attended the conference, Ram Basu, Jenn Hawley, and Elaina Luther, helped host the exhibit for the Raw Milk Institute (RawMI) at the conference, and gave us an update on the status of RawMI at our potluck dinner meeting. As RawMI Board Members Ram and Elaina explained, The Raw Milk Institute now has its first farmer member with several more in line to join, many out of the state of Oregon. Some benefits of joining the Institute include: improvements in the quality and safety of raw milk, more consumer interest in the product, and better insurance rates for farmers who produce raw milk, to name a few.
|Sally Fallon Morell with Gladys Batan|
One of our newer members, Gladys Batan, made us a Power Point presentation of lessons learned from the conference, including some innovative slides illustrating how food in this country is primarily a financial commodity, grown without any mind to nutrition. She then went over some of the main points from Sally Fallon’s all-day lectures about traditional diets and how they enhance our health and well-being. Gladys also showed us some photos from the “Native Ways” track of the conference, including highlights from the “Acorn Lady” who demonstrated how native Californians prepared foods from locally-gathered acorns.
Next, Monica Ford, aka Real Food Devote, gave us a nice overview of her time at the conference, including some photos of her debut as a Conference Presenter. Congrats to Monica on a job well done addressing a full audience on how to start and run a real food business! Monica hopes that soon we will all be able to travel anywhere in the USA and find wholesome, healthy, traditionally-prepared foods wherever we go. Monica also shared some beautiful photos of her trip to Chaffin Family Orchards.
Aaron Zober, host of the local radio show “The Appropriate Omnivore” spoke next and shared his photos of many of the exhibitors and presenters at the conference, including several that he interviewed for his show. To top off the evening, Aaron followed up with some mouth-watering images of the meals served at the conference, with enticing descriptions of the beautifully prepared foods made with fresh, locally and sustainably grown ingredients.
It was fun to relive the excitement of the conference, and hear about the parts we all missed. The annual Wise Traditions conference has become so large now that it offers at least 4-5 different tracks at any given moment, every day. Some of the tracks for this year’s conference included: Nourishing Traditional Diets, Gut & Psychology Syndrome, Nutrition & Behavior, the Science of Farming, Traditional Cooking, Native Ways, Wise Entrepreneurs, Wellness, and Nutrition. The conference really explores all the connections between our foods, our environment, and our bodies; from growing the crops & raising the animals, to harvesting the food products, preparing and serving them, consuming them, and reaping their health benefits.
Though we didn’t have time to adequately discuss the conference’s theme, “Nutrition and Behavior,” rest assured that the message rang loud and clear throughout many of the scientific lectures at the conference. Every theme-based lecture at the conference highlighted the importance of certain nutrients for their critical roles in mental health. Not surprisingly, the declining state of mental health and happiness in the western world today can be directly traced to deficiencies in these nutrients, all of which are plentiful in traditional diets. Consistently we were shown that the foods we need to eat for good mental health include whole animals with the skin, bones, organs, and fats, raw dairy, fermented foods, sprouted nuts, seeds, and grains, and even tropical oils. As Dr. Weston A. Price observed, the people he encountered consuming traditional diets were not only stronger and healthier in general, they also had brighter, calmer, and more cheerful dispositions, Their babies didn’t cry as much, and violent crimes and mental illness were unheard of. In fact, in many of these cultures, there was no need to incarcerate anyone, so prisons simply did not exist.
Near the end of our chapter meeting, important mention was also given to the inspiring Closing Ceremony of the conference when Jeffery Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology highlighted how far we’ve come in the battle to label foods containing genetically modified organisms or GMOs. Though Prop 37 in California didn’t pass, it nearly passed, and even more importantly, it inspired many other states to start their own initiatives. As far as Jeffrey is concerned, we may have lost this one battle, but we certainly are winning the war against GMOs, and all future generations of humans, plants, and animals will thank us for our efforts. What an inspiring ending to a truly awesome conference!
As the leader of this chapter, I am proud to be part of such an active community that is truly embracing the lessons of Dr. Weston A. Price and the foundation in his name. Clearly, participation in this movement is growing in the Pasadena area, as more and more people seek local and traditional foods, start businesses, and use traditional foods to improve their health. If our growing attendance at the conferences is any measure, then we’re surely on the right track to a healthier and more sustainable future. In 2008, the last time the conference was held in California, our chapter was just an idea, with a few Pasadena area attendees who didn’t know each other. Last year at the conference in Dallas, maybe 5 of us attended and brought home some great experiences to share with our fellow members. This year our attendance rose to 17, many of whom were active participants in the conference, volunteering, representing great organizations like the Raw Milk Institute, presenting, and exhibiting.
In fact, by being active participants at the conference, we’re also actively increasing our area’s knowledge of this health-giving, science-based, ecologically-sustainable, and delicious lifestyle. By supporting local farmers and traditional food businesses, we’re increasing our area’s demand for traditional foods and inspiring others to do the same. Let’s hope that by the next time the Wise Traditions conference comes to California, we’ll be able to boast even more traditional farms and food businesses in our area, a greater knowledge base, and even better attendance! ( … not to mention a healthier and happier community!)
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2012 Wise Traditions conference and supported the mission of the Weston A. Price Foundation this year!
~ Your Chapter Leader, Karen