Feeding the Body and Nourishing the Soul
This chapter discusses the activities of gardening and foraging that are part of the dacha lifestyle and investigates how the value which Russians place on “natural foods” reveals concerns with personal satisfaction, social well-being, and spirituality. Russians' natural food practices present an intriguing alternative to other popular models of natural foods and organics. Slow Food promotes a regressive vision of economic development that is at odds with the realities of Russia's market. The roots of “natural foods” in Russian landscape that are both physical and symbolic are explained. At dacha communities along the river, residents continued to drink the tap water because they trusted it to be naturally clean. Natural foods are credited with fostering internal balance and harmony, and are also the conduits through which Russians articulate their most personal feelings of intimacy with the natural realm, often in ways that convey a nature-centered form of spirituality.
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