I came across Earthsprout recently, when deep into Rawvember (30 days of raw food) I went looking for some inspiration. A website built around raw and healthy recipes, it’s creator, Elenore Bendel Zahn, brings to it a heart and joy and sweetness that is quite as nourishing as her beautifully innovative food. At the core of Elenore’s work is a wellspring of love and respect for the earth that spills over into every aspect of it; quite apart from her understanding of food and nutrition, she’s a dedicated gardener, a talented photographer and a quiet sage.
Thanks to the small miracle of Skype, I spoke to Elenore as she looked out onto a pristine snowscape from the window of her little house in the woods, in Sweden. “I’ve been travelling all over the world and just a year ago I landed here back at my roots,” she says. For the past 5 or so years I’ve known very strongly what my calling in this life is: to spread life and love and ecstatic happiness: supporting both people and this earth through building the connection between them. Not necessarily to heal- (because everyone will have their own experience in their own way) but to support with love and light more connectedness with this wonderful planet that we are so privileged to live on and with. That’s both my work and what’s at the core of my heart. I’m not able to separate it”.
This kind of certainty and suchness is uncommon in one so young- Elenore is just 23 years old -but her dream grew steadily out of a sudden realization that she needed to be a gardener. “I remember it so clearly,” she says. “It was a day in May- everything was sprouting and I sat outside and the thought came pretty much out of nowhere: ….I’m going to be a gardener… I’m going to build a vegetable garden. I was pretty surprised when that idea came, but it was so profound and so changing and I knew I would spend my life doing that. My fascination with what I would grow began.”
And from here, it was a happy hop, skip and a leap into the wonderful world of food. “Growing the things, then eating them – realizing how crazy tasty they are and how amazingly nutritious, I was inspired to start a tiny little food blog. Two years ago, when I moved to Spain for a year, after my organic gardening training- that’s when everything just got roots. I understood in what way I could combine my love for the earth and gardening with my inspiration for raw foods and creating recipes. I would never have guessed that when I started with my little food blog that it would turn into this wonderful platform.”
“Gardening and food,” Elenore says- “is a beautiful dance between people and the earth- we take care of each other, we bounce energy back and forth between us. Through food we can build a relationship with ourselves and the earth, and that’s where the connectedness can be allowed back into our lives. “And food,” she says, “ Is a great way to reach out to people. We love good food!”
Elenore’s own food choices reflect this appreciation of down to earth wholesomeness; “I’m actually very simple while making food. Maybe a few of my recipes can look a bit much, like a big experiment! but I’m very much for very clean, very simple, natural food- letting the ingredients speak for themselves.” Her mainly raw, organic and vegan diet keeps it natural, kind and close to the ground. She says, “The way I eat has come from what I learnt at university and studying nutrition and gardening, and the feeling that I don’t want to support anything that goes against Mother Earth. I want to support health, and I want to support bliss and I want to support people being able to live at their fullest.”
Elenore studied Natural Nutrition at the university in Sweden and the understanding that food can be our medicine and our means for healing and growth as well as our grounding began to inform her work too. “Looking at what’s in the traditional home remedies- it’s carrots, nettles, tomatoes, spices- pure stuff!” she says. Elenore’s extraordinary recipes always come with an informative tribute to one of the main ingredients. But one of the things I find most appealing about her posts is the fusion of all her loves: food, nutrition, gardening and photography, with everyday wisdom, a commentary on simple living, celebration, and the incredibly rich experience of being human.
“If I want to be a part of making this world a better place,” Elenore says, “I can only ever speak from my own heart, from my own truth. That’s the only place from which we can provide pure true inspiration that can touch other peoples hearts.” Her activism for the earth is of the gentler, more joyous kind, based in positivity, gratitude and wonder: “I focus on the good things- I focus on the things we can actually do every day, every moment, that will make change,” says Elenore. “And, everything is worth gold!- even the a tiniest little step towards supporting your own health and the health of the planet.” Small changes in our daily habits, such as choosing (or growing!) organic food over the factory farmed, GMO or chemically grown varieties, can make our personal footprint dramatically lighter.
“Through Earthsprout, I can inspire people to make recipes and maybe create a little vegetable garden, perhaps even collect their own seeds. This is not going backwards but going to centre! Even just taking a split second to actually look at the sun, or a leaf and in that moment letting there be a relationship between you and nature,” has powerful potential for our reconnection with the earth, from which great changes may grow.
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