With Autumn

autumn immune system nutrition Bill Mollison Samhain Krysia Soutar

Be ‘In-Tune’ with Nature

Krysia Soutar

Autumn is now upon us, as I look out of my window I see a mass of golden leaves as the trees in our local woodland have changed colour from green to orange. In our temperate climate, trees are dropping their leaves as they are not needed now; winter is approaching with a dimming of sunlight. We feel this change and we too can let go of things and embrace change, new ideas and thoughts that can transform our lives. There is a lull and an anticipation of events yet unseen.

It is a time when we can connect with our ancestors and colleagues who have passed from this life into the spiritual world, We can light a candle and thank them, remembering their dreams and wishes for us, and for all of humanity and the planet. There is a thin veil between us now and we can ask for guidance and help to carry on our journey here on earth, especially during these very scary and difficult times. It is a good time to pray for world peace and to allow any feelings of grief to come and then let it go.

Prayer for peace on earth

Michio Kushi was a visionary educator/philosopher. I attended some of his lectures at the East - West Centre in London in the 1980’s. He was in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped, His vision was for world peace and to uplift the human spirit through self-reflection and by adopting a diet of natural foods.



During this season we can look after our Lungs and Large Intestines as they are connected to the downward energy of the season. We may get depressed at this time of year so it is important to move our bodies and go out in nature for awhile. To keep your yourself cheery, go out for a walk in nature, sing a happy tune and breathe deeply, especially around trees. This will help re- oxygenate the blood and you will take in microbial life forms from the air around you. Hey presto, you feel better and brighter!

Mulch the garden within

Today, the mass production and marketing of our food along with the proliferation of ready made meals has taken us further away from our food source and thus far from nature itself. In order to regain our connection with our food we need to re-look at more local and regional ways of supplying our food and return to home cooking using natural foods, uncontaminated, and as close as possible to were we live.

In his book on Human Nutrition Bill Mollison was concerned about the loss of knowledge from traditional cultures about the importance of ferments in food processing and recipes. His work with Permaculture brought him into close contact with village and traditional societies worldwide. (You can buy the book direct from the publishers Tagari. It has become apparent that, wherever people still retained their traditional methods of food preparation, great attention had been paid to the nutritional basis of agriculture.

“As McDonalds and fast food chains proliferate and supersede the foods of different world cultures, there is a danger that traditional seeds, customs, dress, and behaviour have been lost.”.

Bill Mollison Book of ferment and human nutrition
Bill Mollison “My trust is that this book will help people take over
their own food processing and
improve regional and local nutrition."

He considered the study of traditional ways to be as imperative as preserving seeds and recipes. He says:

“And just as we need to bring root inoculants with trees to ensure their nutrition. I believe that we need to bring traditional ferment and cooking methods with any new foods, for our own nutrition.”

He was trying to point us in the right direction. We are not only losing knowledge of foods to feed our inner world of microbes, we are also losing the diversity of our own inner micro-ecosystem, which has helped to build our immunity to diseases over decades.

I have written before about the importance of our inner terrain and the microbes that live in it, and also about its importance at birth. In their bookThe microbiome effect, Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford cite Dr Maria Gloria Dominguez Bello who reported in Science Advances in April 2015 that members of an isolated American indigenous group in Venezuela have the most diverse microbiome ever discovered in humans:

“When we compare our microbiome in the West with those from isolated peoples living in the jungles of South America, we estimate that we have lost about a third of the diversity of our microbes."

There is growing evidence that we are degrading as a species. According to Dr Martin Blaser, Director of the Human Microbiome project at New York University:

"Our internal ecosystem is degrading over time, generation after generation, that we are stepping down, that each generation is being born with less diversity than the one before.”

This does not look good for the future of our species.

Permaculture design for regeneration of our human micro-ecosystem:

Just as we are helping to regenerate the soils, we also need to regenerate ourselves. This is a good focus for design, the door is wide open; the information is out there. We just need to acknowledge the problem then design for a new way of living that supports life, especially our microbial life, as the permaculture ethics ask of us.

Here are some of my ideas. If the problem is the loss of diversity within the human biome, and degradation and loss of immunity as a species, then the solution is to:

  • design to regenerate the biome within
  • start with the protection and nurturing of the embryo and pregnant mother
  • study the work of the microbione effect by Toni Harman and Alex Wexford
  • implement the new research and ensure newborn is ‘seed and feed’ during delivery
  • educate all young people and prospective parents about the importance of this work
  • make changes in food production, processes, cooking methods, preservation of ferments in foods. to ensure humans have a diverse input of probiotics
  • avoid overuse of antibiotics by medical profession, which leads to resistance and disease
  • avoid use of antibiotics wherever possible, instead use other approaches such as Herbal Medicine
  • avoid antibiotics in animal welfare and in food production systems, which enter our food chain and cause problems with our health
  • buy from local farmers who use pasture systems and natural agriculture, without using any antibiotics.

I will leave it here, there are a lot of design opportunities here for people who are interested in this topic. I think Bill Mollison would be very pleased if we attempt to address the problems and help to grow a culture of people who have resilience both within and without.

homemade beetroot pickles
Ready for winter: beetroot pickled in ferment-rich cider vinegar

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