Tennesee’s health care industry recently reported a $37,000,000,000 contribution to the economy last year. At the same time Tennessee spent $2,000,000,000 on food. We used to spend a lot more on food and less on health care. They have an inverse relationship, when one goes down the other goes up.
A new CSA member once commented that all the vegetables were causing them to eat at home more. They kind of missed going out to eat and the treats from the grocery store. But by the end of the summer they noticed that neither they nor their children had gotten sick once, and this had never happened before.
Other CSA members tell me their lives have been saved by our food. Doctors will prescribe eating organically in certain sensitive health conditions. An old adage is to let food be your medicine.
I attribute this to the invisible world of microbes. A teaspoon of soil can have a million bacteria in it, or a thousand times that many. I strive for the latter, “the more the merrier” I say.
Ninety percent of the DNA in our bodies does not belong to us, but to other species. These are the microbes who live off of us and our bodily secretions. As their host, they have a vested interest in keeping us healthy and secreting.
In the soil a similar thing is going on, as root exudates feed soil microbes who in turn keep the plants healthy. An important part of our farming practices is creating a vibrant clay humus complex through composting. We use herbs which have undergone a transformation in an animals organ, but in very small, homeopathic doses. These preparations are put into compost piles, which get spread on the cropland.
The food grown on these fields tastes pretty good. A surprising thing our interns learn is how their bodies feel when they live on this. We don’t use grocery stores or restaurants for our nutrition.
Food isn’t all, though. We love good water, straight from the farm’s springs or wells. Fresh air is inhaled often, too, except when I’m tractoring or we are mulching. We also get a lof of exercise.
Nutrition comes through our sense, too. What we see, hear, touch and smell becomes part of us. Currents of light and sound continually pass through us. Enthusiasm mediates this, as a 93-year-old man explained one time.
I asked Cordell to tell Ryan, who was eight, the secrets to a long, healthy life. “Good garden food, exercise, fresh air and spring water”, he said, “but that’s not all. You have to have something you love to do, and I always look forward to the weekend when my friends and I get together to play music”.
We play music, too. Almost every Friday night friends come over to pick a few tunes and fill the air with songs. On a farm there are no days off because of their position in the week, we take off on rainy days instead. When someone mentioned something to one of our interns, Chris, about a weekend, he replied, “the only way we know it’s the weekend is it’s the days after the music party”.
Tennessee has lots of great music, but is neglecting other aspects of good health. of our 2 billion food dollars, 99% of it goes to unhealthy imported food-like products, while we are surrounded by abandoned but potentially productive farmland. it is so exciting to have so much work ahead of us, and to think of how healthy we and our environment will be when we spend 18 times as much on farm fresh food as we do at the doctors office.