Health Starts on the Farm

The Food as Medicine classes I have been offering since 2011 are an important aspect of what we do on the farm. I can feel the impending busyness of the growing season ahead and I know that once plants are in the ground our focus will be on growing things well and with great care.  However, in these winter months I am always reminded of the big picture of why we are doing all of this, why so many farmers work tirelessly for longs days and low pay. The answer is health.

In her book Farmacology, Daphne Miller, M.D., makes many great points about how farms, ecosystem health and personal health are similar and intrinsically linked. She writes that the “professions of farming and medicine grew out of a shared goal: to sustain individuals and communities by supporting the workings of nature and intervening—oh so judiciously—in the cycle of birth, growth, death, and decay.”  Farmers are a sort of healer in many ways since the quality of what they produce can have such a profound impact on our everyday wellness.

As a teacher at heart, I am feeling called to expand our Food as Medicine curriculum and also offer one-on-one health consulting sessions on the farm.  We are entering a new food era and I believe there is a need for everyone to take greater responsibility for where their food comes from, how it is produced and to acknowledge the importance of food quality in everything we consume.  There is so much to know and understand about local foods, differences between large and small-scale organic foods, wild harvesting and herbs that it is often hard to process and integrate all of that information at once.  Furthermore, each individual’s relationship to food and the natural world is deeply personal and there is a lot to learn about how food production affects our land, our bodies and our spirit.

There will be another Food as Medicine class in October 2015 and I will provide more information on that soon as well as advanced course offerings on this topic. My major growing project this year is a baby, so the course is happening later this year.  Also, if you are interested in a health consultation on the farm, check out our Farm Hands Healing service.

Finally, I wanted to share this article by functional medical nutritionist and researcher, Deanna Minich, Ph.D.  It encapsulates a lot of my winter thoughts about connections between food quality and health and the need for holistic perspectives on both nutrition and farming.

I hope you have enjoyed this sunny end to winter. Let’s pray for a little more mountain snowpack and a luscious growing season ahead.