Farmers must take greater role in preventative medicine

Danielle Broida

America is ill. Consumption is the most insidious disease plaguing our nation. What we consume nutritionally and pharmaceutically are rarely ever discussed in a single conversation. Food and medicine are on two ends of a spectrum, arranged and marketed highly distanced from one another, abstracting any obvious affiliation of the two.

But there is nothing more integral to the health of our bodies than what we consume. To that end, small-scale, organic farmers must replace practitioners as the real healers of our day.

America is the most unhealthy nation in the world. We don’t eat real food. Instead of eating what our bodies evolved to consume, we open a bag of chips, stuffing our stomachs with empty carbohydrate fillers (dextrin, maltodextrin, dextrose), partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and a handful of artificial flavors. To wash it down, we grab a drink, freshly brewed with high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar. Apparently we’ve traded health and nutrition for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. 

We are also the most highly medicated nation in the world. Whether you have a clear problem or not, our society prescribes “You need this!” commercials and advertisements. The meds won’t cure, but promise to mask symptoms. If they do cure, there becomes no need to return and refill. A continuous cycle of prescribed sickness has been created, followed by illusional recovery. Consumers become increasingly unhealthy while producers rake in cash.

What the hell does organic farming and local food have to do with cancer, strokes, arthritis or diabetes? Whether it’s for energy, sustenance, nutrition or healing, we are what we eat. By eating real, organic food you avoid chomping into the 400+ chemicals commonly used in synthetic fertilizers; stop supporting genetically modified organisms; reduce the amount of food additives and colorings ingested; increase the amount of beneficial vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants consumed; and significantly lower the potential for serious illnesses.  If we feed ourselves real food, not produce sprayed with poison and highly processed “snacks” resembling nothing you could recreate, we can look at the reality of what it means to be healthy.

Small-scale, organic farmers spend their lives working to feed people real food. They are producing the food our bodies evolved to consume. Such sustainable harvests will nurture, sustain and fill us with the nutrition we require. To function, perform and live in the highest mental and physical state possible directly correlates to what we consume for sustenance. A healthy life means healthy food. Healthy food is real food, produced by small-scale, well-intentioned, organic farmers.

We then must ask ourselves, “Who and what is truly healing our bodies today?” Doctors and farmers alike steward health, of soil and bodies. Our culture has a tendency to box people in specific roles, negating the possibility of integration between seemingly distinct fields. I think it’s time to break down the walls dividing the people producing our food and medications, closing the consumption gap. Farmers are the real healers of our time.