Chanterelle MushroomsMy coworker Chris recently brought me a bounty of chanterelle mushrooms he had foraged in the Washington woods. An avid rock climber, he was squeezing in some last minute adventures as the Pacific Northwest makes its way from autumn to winter. It got me thinking about the rhythm of life and the seasons harvest of not only mushrooms, but greens, squash, pomegranates, and citrus. Here in Bellingham, the days are getting shorter, hats and scarves are coming out, and appetites are turning to hearty soups and stews as everyone has the urge to do, do, do before they nest, nest, nest.

Call it Seasonal Food for the Soul, that wonderful something that happens when you synchronize your cooking and your life to the rhythms of nature. Few things are as relaxing and rewarding as making a meal for others — especially when you are intentional and present in your actions. For me, fall and winter are the time of year when I slow down, stay in, cook, craft, and make time for those who are special in my life.

This time of year is all about sharing and gratitude, so it makes sense that the weather makes us want to stay home. As the days grow shorter, we open our hearts and homes for meals, memories and moments. This slowed down pulse of life is the sound of your heartbeat harmonizing with nature’s heartbeat. The relaxed rhythm lets us look around and appreciate all that surrounds us. We entertain more — from the simple to the extravagant — sometimes looking for recipes to cook from scratch and other times, just wanting something simple to whip up as company arrives and the holidays kick into gear.

Food is the primary means of expression during the holiday season at my house. It’s a time to create meals that celebrate all that food has to offer. In addition to purchasing organic produce, I want to make sure I’m serving my friends and family the absolute best my grocer has to offer…and I am not alone.

Even before I joined the Non-GMO Project, I was an avid label reader, foodie and committed purchaser of non-GMO products. I am so honored to be part of an organization dedicated to empowering consumers to know what’s in our food. I’m proud to report the Non-GMO Project Verified seal is now seen on more than 22,000 products, resulting in over $8 billion in sales annually. This is due in a large part to you supporting transparency every time you are in the store.

Non-GMO Month 2014 had over 2000 retailers across North America celebrating the right to know what’s in our food. Special events, film screenings, sales, and 5% donation days — these stores engaged their customers by showcasing their commitment to provide non-GMO choices in every aisle. This annual event also allows teams to get creative with their displays:

Chico Natural Foods Non-GMO Month Display

It’s truly inspiring to see the passion behind such amazing merchandising!

Good Earth Non-GMO Month Display

Over 90% of Americans want GMO labeling, across political categories, which traditionally serve to divide us: Democrats (93%), Independents (90%), and Republicans (89%). For so long, food has united us; it is heartwarming to know we are now united for food.

So this holiday season, give thanks to your neighbors, food suppliers and retailers. Together, we all are building a safer, more transparent food supply for generations to come. This grassroots movement has sparked true change in the industry — and that is the best gift ever.

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