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Pauma Valley’s Secret to Healthy Eating

Pauma tribal member Claude Devers, left, shows his grandson, Torin Chavez, center, and a friend the basics of organic farming. Photo: Lisa Gisczinski, Elle Photography for Tierra Miguel Foundation

PAUMA VALLEY — Eating healthy is easier than you might think: Go organic. It improves not only your diet but also your environment and, ultimately, your health. Today, you’ll find more organic produce at increasingly lower prices, and your children can learn about organic food as early as elementary school — thanks in part to people like the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians.

In the spirit of better health and the empowerment of future generations, the Pauma tribe began the process of organically certifying the fruit grown on and near its reservation in early 2008. Instead of sourcing fruit from distant locations, its casino now uses citrus and avocados from its 135-acre grove.

“It’s better for the environment,” said Water Master Miguel Hernandez, a tribal member who manages the grove. “Plus, the fewer pesticides and fertilizers we use, the less gets into the groundwater.”

Complete Story (p. 5A)

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