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Normalities, Not Anomalies

Modern Farming systems are regrettably unhealthy by choice. Fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides are no more than medications applied to compensate for practices that harm soil life. The resulting harvest may be ‘productive’, but the food itself lacks meaningful nourishment by half, and offers even less in the way of antioxidants needed by our bodies to ward degenerative disease. On the other hand, dealing with countless symptoms spurred on by empty foods has become quite the boon for modern medicines. All comes round when we realize that parallels exist between human health and plant health.” - Michael Phillips (Mycorrhizal Planet)


12 years ago, I remember like yesterday, sitting in a human resources class that I was required to attend to fulfill the basic requirements to finish out the dietitian program at California State University in Long Beach, California. The professor brought a guest speaker for that specific class, who happened to be the head dietitian at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. She was talking specifically about the importance of having dietitians in hospitals and was touting the development of a children's cancer village at Long Beach Memorial Hospital that was at the time being built. Something just didn't sit right after her speech about needing dietitians at the new cancer village. So naturally, I raised my hand and asked, “As dietitians, shouldn't we be more concerned with helping the population prevent cancer through eating healthy and living healthy lifestyles so they don't get to the point of disease and cancer and end up in a cancer village in the first place?” The guest speaker just looked at me with a perplexed and irritated gaze, and kept on talking and disregarded my question. At that point, I packed up my satchel and walked out of the class.


Currently, according to the home page of the Millers Children’s Hospital of Long Beach, each year, more than 15,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer. More than 15,000 children!!!! Are you kidding me? Cancer and disease has been a normality in our society, not an anomaly. Why? How can we pinpoint the root causes of these cancers and diseases? I’d like to go way deep to find the issues, and although I am still researching, soil health seems to hold a lot of the mysteries. As the late agriculture professor Henry Cantrell Wallace once said, “nations endure only as long as their top soil.” (quoted in The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird)


So look where we are now; one of the most unhealthy nations on the globe and it seems our country is in turmoil from within. The U.S. once had some of the richest topsoil in the breadbasket of the interior until the industrial revolution modernized machinery and the use of more chemicals on fields and forests of mono cropped plantings became more broadly acceptance. All the death chemicals (chemicals ending with -ide) being used to produce the conventional foods that we eat in our country are literally killing the soil, soil life, microorganisms, and fungi, to name a few. They are leading to the degeneration of our nation’s health. Like the grandfather of organic agriculture, Sir Albert Howard once explained in The Soil & Health, in order to achieve optimum health, it starts with the soil first and foremost. In order to have healthy plants, we need healthy soil, in order to have healthy animals, we need healthy plants, in order to have healthy humans, we need healthy animals. Again and again, it starts with the soil.


It's time that we start taking our health in our own hands. If we start focusing on the soil and making strides to build the foundation of health under our feet, then we can make these healthy choices a normality in our society. The best way to invest in our future generations is to start now, taking accountability, responsibility, and investing in our topsoil to bring nourishment back into the the food supply and stop stuffing the bank accounts of the medical professionals, chemical companies, and big pharma with poor decisions and inaction. The time is now to create a new normality of health and wellness.


So let me give you some direction for how to create your new normality in your food shed. If you are in the city, you can start composting your food scraps and use it to grow vegetables in small spaces. You can also support a community garden or local farmers in your area as well as farmers markets. For those who live in the suburbs, there are more possibilities and opportunities to not only grow food for yourself but to start market gardens in leasing out your lawns for up and coming farmers alleviating the need to shop in grocery stores. You can see this model working first hand through Jim Kovaleski (https://www.thegrassfedmarketgarden.com/) in South Florida & Maine. People who live in rural communities have even more opportunities for all items outlined above to grow in larger scale production systems to supply healthy food to their local communities while continuing to focus on soil regeneration.


If you are new to growing food, farming, homesteading, etc, please note that on October 15, 2022, I will be hosting the Abundant Garden Design, Layout, and Management Workshop at Full Circle Farm. Details and registration can be found here.


If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop us a line at support@southernedgeagroforestry.com.


Cheers!

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