Farming Matters – FEB 15, 2021


A Great Big Family of Health Nuts!

This is my first Farming Matter’s blog of 2021.  I apologize for being absent so long but … COVID.  We’ve done OK this past year and are proud of how well Yellow Stonehouse Farm dealt with the pandemic – implementing distancing and sanitation protocols, adding washing stations and then, silver lining, getting to know all the many new CSA members who joined our farm.  It’s been challenging but rewarding and an unexpected joy to welcome so many new families and children as they discover the delights of Yellow Stonehouse Farm. 

Rather than rehash the past, let’s explore the thing that’s obliterated all other issues for me:  Health. Humanity spent an entire year as a planet focusing on it.  We’ve all learned that health is at the core of it all.  We all need to be healthy; we want our loved ones to be healthy, families & friends included and we are willing to do what has to be done to keep ourselves healthy!  Plus – we’ve learned that a lot of us are willing to sacrifice, inconvenience ourselves, consider others, try new things and collaborate to be healthy.  We’ve become a great big human family of health nuts!

This is great news – for me the organic farmer and the budding herbalist, the healthy chef and owner of a vibrant and growing organic farm, and also the environmentalist, citizen, and aspiring humanitarian.

My experience has been most of us don’t think about our health until it’s threatened or we find ourselves unhealthy.  And for many of us, the unhealthy habits we are practicing, often for convenience alone – don’t have an immediate impact, so we ignore it.  This is unfortunate, because negative health impacts are cumulative and create the real life experience of the boiling frog – we persevere in unhealthy behavior in an increasingly toxic environment until it boils over and we die from it.  This is the cause of so many of our lifestyle diseases – diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease worsened by environmental stressors such as air & water pollution, plastics, toxic chemicals, industrial and processed food.  The cumulative effects push many of us into poor health, but so gradually that until we hit a crisis, we find them easy to ignore.

But during COVID, we experienced a health crisis that didn’t make most of us sick (though the numbers infected are atrocious), yet many of us made immediate and wise decisions proactively to change our lives to protect our health.  We interrupted our lives, WOW – amazing – before we were sick to stay HEALTHY.  Let’s do it some more!!!

Let’s make positive life-style changes that keep us healthy but will also address some of the dangerous health threats that are harder to see.  Lets:

  1. Eat more vegetables and grains to balance our diet and help maintain our weight and blood sugar.  Join a CSA, become a vegetarian or eat a meatless meal once or twice a week, avoid processed food, additives and industrially produced animal products.
  2. Go a step further and eliminate the pesticides and herbicides that impact the quality of the food we eat and kill off pollinators and other beneficial insects, soil microbes, wild plants, birds and amphibians.  Eat organically, reduce plastic use, recycle, don’t use herbicides or pesticides at home.
  3. Exercise – walk, hike, play a sport, garden, do yoga, whatever gets you moving.
  4. Work with, advocate and convince Industry that toxic, cancer causing, endocrine interrupting chemicals are bad for all of us and that it’s better to reduce profits than sacrifice health.
  5. Reduce our carbon footprint – support local farms, drive less, reduce petroleum consumption, install solar, walk more.  Recycle, reduce plastic use, support a carbon tax,
  6. Protect our water – clean water is becoming more precious and scarce.  Rather than ignore the long-term damage we are causing by careless regulation, excessive extraction, inefficient usage – often for short term financial gain – let’s treat it like the scare resource it is.  Maintain open space, parks and forests, irrigate using drip, water at night, don’t buy water in plastic bottles, lobby your local government to keep your town green and preserve the environment.
  7. Protect our air – so many industries and careless developers allow pollutants that seep into the air, increasing greenhouse gases, and exacerbate the warming of the planet.  Support climate change mitigation, maintain forests and farmland, reduce impervious surfaces that increase the concentration of pollutants in run-off.

The idealistic environmentalist is writing this now, but the pragmatist in me has seen what we can do if we understand threats to our health.  The entire world, the planet, needs to be healthy if humanity is to be healthy.  Let’s all work together to make it so.