We talk so much about local food and its importance to environmental, food sovereignty and health concerns. I am reading this book about permaculture and it brought up an interesting point that is a slightly different way of thinking about this issue. Here is the quote:
“A bioregion is defined as any area,small or large, that has a clearly recognizable identity. Many factors contribute to this identity: geological structure, soil, climate, types of vegetation, history, culture, ‘atmosphere,’ and magnetic and spiritual forces. Some of the world’s most notable bioregions can boast well-known ‘regional’ writers, painters, musicians, and craftspeople who, its human inhabitants. Among outstanding examples of links between art and earth are the novels of Hardy and the landscape of ‘Wessex,’ the paintings of Constable and the landscape of the Essex-Suffolk border, and the operas of Janacek and the Moravian forest. In many parts of Europe, Asia, and Latin America, village communities can be recognized by the costumes, songs and dances of their inhabitants, many of them inspired by features of the environment. The patterns of plants of permaculture plots, forest gardens, and other forms of land-working should also reflect the character of their bioregions. Those who work them are most likely to benefit if their diets consist largely of the plants that contain the minerals and other nutrients peculiar to local soils, and if they subsist as much as possible on local resources, thereby giving jobs to their neighbors and minimizing the polluting effects of mechanical transport. Such people—rooted or ‘hefted,’ to use the Scottish term, to their bioregional soils—enjoy a sense of psychological security unknown to restless city-dwellers.
Both the Highland clan and the Native American tribe are examples of bioregional organisms. The relationship of a member of a clan or tribe to her or his duthus (the Gaelic term for communal land) has an intense and poignantly beautiful quality. The essence of Amerindian religion lies in the effort to unify with soil, the human psyche with the rocks and rivers, the trees and wildlife of the natural environment.”
Robert Hart in “Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape.” 1991 Chelsea Green Publishing, pages 14-15.