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Soul food

Heron's Eye Communications co-founder Sandy Long attended the Sullivan County Food Raiser at the Catskill Distillery in Bethel, NY, one of several venues where events were held simultaneously across the county.
TRR photos by Jonathan Fox

February 6, 2013

Living on a restricted diet is annoying. One would think that I’d be accustomed to it by now, since it’s been almost two decades of reading labels, asking the right questions and following rules, but still, I have my moments. Seeking a simpler, less stressful way of life, I moved to the Catskills. I’m unsure what effect I thought this change would have on my intestinal tract, but my gut instinct directed me toward the Upper Delaware Valley, and lo and behold, my health has improved. While it’s certainly true that I have greater access to farm-raised foods (www.sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org), and I’ve learned a lot about how what I eat affects my body, the real surprise has been how the region I now call home feeds the soul.

Nutrition comes in many forms and literally means “to feed and nourish,” which I’ve come to realize includes my mental state as well. Aside from the benefits of fresh air, organic food and living in harmony with nature, being an active member of the community has nourished me in countless ways, and I’m more grateful for little things that I took for granted in the asphalt jungle; things that were eating away at me, one neuron at a time. “It’s a simpler way of life” I explain to my friends, who still question my decision, “but that doesn’t mean that there are no problems. The difference is that I feel less alone when the going gets tough.”

Big city living is (IMHO) just not as conducive to lending a helping hand, while here in the country it’s a way of life. This past weekend exemplified the spirit of community in the form of the fifth annual Great Sullivan County Food Raiser (www.facebook.com/SCCommunityUnity), sponsored by Sullivan County Community Unity and the Catskill Distillery’s Stacy & Friends benefiting food pantries throughout the county, raising money, awareness and spirits for those in need. The event, which takes place in multiple locations simultaneously, enriches the soul, while entertaining the masses and raising much needed funds.