What’s the highest potential of organic agriculture? Can organic foods support better health?
“Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”
This is not my idea. I am sure Hippocrates learned this from his teachers, who were students of their own already ancient medical tradition.
In our modern age, I would add this: All food has medical effects, but not all food is effective medicine.
This is part of why I farm: because I believe food must be grown and handled with its medicinal potential in mind.
I try to consider everything, from simple stuff like freshness and careful handling, to more complex issues, such as plant and animal nutrition.
I believe that healthy crops and healthy livestock make the best medicine for people.
Taste is one of the best guides. Fresh vegetables taste better, and also have the most nutrients. Pasture-raised eggs taste better, and have a lot more vitamins and minerals than eggs from barn-raised or caged hens. The same is true for pastured meats and poultry.
Organic practices are absolutely necessary, because organic techniques provide complete nutrition for crops and livestock. It’s only when crops are truly healthy that they start to produce medicine.
There should be a lot more research into the medicinal value of basic foods. Strangely enough, some of the best research I have seen is about farms, not humans: Agri-Dynamics of Martins Creek, PA has done great research on the therapeutic properties and nutrient density of crops grown in different conditions. They also sell herbal medicines for livestock, and I’ve had great results with their products.
The Weston A. Price Foundation also has a lot to offer. I recommend WAPF founder Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions and The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care to everyone I know. They are among the most important books I have ever owned.
WAPF does independent original research on the benefits of organic foods, particularly traditional foods (often lost in our modern diet) and pasture-raised meats and dairy. Their quarterly member newsletter is excellent.
This research is absolutely necessary. However, I’m a farmer, and I’m most interested in the practical application of these ideas.
Not just because it tastes good. That’s just one of the benefits.