Can You Identify this Beautiful Creature?
If you happened to miss last weeks email, go to our website, click on the Publishing Blog, and read it. It is important! It sets the stage for our discussion for the next couple of week on Via Campesina, Food Sovereignty, Eco-agricultural farming and Permaculture; together embodying a viable way to feed the 800 million starving people around the world, and a means to correct the debilitating effects of bad food and obesity for over a billion people, and rising.
It’s late Spring, and Summer is almost here. Is it not a perfect time for an experiment? The experiment of growing our own food! Yes, you heard me right. So lets talk about it.
I’m reminded of the Robert Frost poem, A Road Not Taken. In the last line it goes, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
I will be the first to admit that I am definitely not a farmer, not even a gardener. We live in the suburbs of Seattle. We have plants, lots of them, but not the kind that can produce anything edible. How about you?
Michael Pollan in his recent book, In Defense of Food, tells of an experiment in 1982 conducted with a group of ten middle-aged, overweight, diabetic Aborigines living in settlements near the town of Derby, Western Australia. Diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, they all agreed to leave the city life and their diet of white flour, sugar, rice, pop, alcohol, powdered milk, cheap meat, potatoes, onions, and some fresh fruits and vegetables, for a seven week period back to the bush, where their diet consisted of seafood, birds, kangaroo, turtle, crocodile, yams, figs and bush honey.
After the seven-week period, all had lost weight—an average of 17.9 pounds, their blood pressure dropped and their triglycerides fell within normal ranges. In short, all of the metabolic abnormalities of type II diabetes had disappeared.
This is the modern day version of the kind of scene vividly described by Dr. Weston Price as he traveled the world in the 30s, studying and photographing the deleterious effects of processed foods and synthetic farming methods on indigenous peoples. Called the Charles Darwin of Nutrition, he recorded his findings in his classis volume, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (1939).
A quote from Dr. Price:
These primitives with their fine bodies, homogeneous reproduction, emotional stability and freedom from degenerative ills stand forth in sharp contrast to those subsisting on the impoverished foods of civilization – sugar, white flour, pasteurized milk and convenience foods filled with extenders and additives.
My own two-year experience in the Peace Corps from 1966 to 1968 as a public health official in Micronesia, which I mentioned in last week’s email, confirms the power of fresh vital whole foods consumed as the main diet for a people to maintain robust health. My disease survey, analysis and life lived with the Yapese Islanders showed a virtual non-existence of the chronic degenerative diseases plaguing the world today.
The recipe for the DeEvolution of our Planet is simple: we add the consumption of bad food to the increasing toxic load from the industro-agricultural corruption of the environment, we then mix the high stress of life today and the jet traveling interchange of virulent pathogens, and arrive to the demise of the human species.
Is there a way out of this de-evolutionary dilemma? There is, and Cuba provides an example. The people of Cuba have done some amazing things when it comes to securing their self- sufficiency regarding food; the people, not the government, pulled themselves out of some desperate straights by employing agro-ecological farming. We will take a closer look at their example next week.
So how can concepts and associations such as eco-agriculture, food sovereignty, Via Campesina and Permaculture radically change the world for the good?
Here’s a brief definition of each:
Via Campesina- The Peasant Way (La Via Campesina) is a social movement representing as many as 150 million people worldwide. “We are the international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We defend the values and the basic interests of our members. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Our members are from 56 countries from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.” (La Via Campesina website)
Food Sovereignty- “is the peoples’, countries, or state unions’ right to define their agricultural and food policy, without any dumping… of food from other countries. It includes the right of farmers and peasants to produce food, and the right of consumers to be able to decide what they consume, and how and by whom it is produced… And with the recognition of the rights of women, who play a major role in agricultural production and in food.” (Patel, 2008, p. 302)
Eco-agricultural farming- a farming philosophy that farms with nature, developing and maintaining soil fertility, producing a wide range of crops, and matching the farming to the needs, climate, geography, biodiversity and aspirations of a particular place and community. It’s an approach that develops deep local expertise, and means that farmers aren’t disposable and
Permaculture– The word “permaculture” was coined in 1978 by Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist, and one of his students, David Holmgren. It is a contraction of “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.” Permaculture is about designing ecological human habitats and food production systems. It is a land use and community building movement, which strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, and water into stable, productive communities. The focus is not on these elements themselves, but rather on the relationships created among them by the way we place them in the landscape. This synergy is further enhanced by mimicking patterns found in nature.
Next week we will discuss why each of the organizations was born, and how beautifully they contribute to the solution of poverty and hunger in our world. We have much to learn from them! Our mission is to join in their efforts to create a just, healthy and viable globe. Sounds lofty? I know, but we need to start thinking big, and act small (at first) to save our planet. I am going to buy some tomato plants at the farmers market this week. We already have a square pot filled with herbs on our deck. It is a start. How about you?
Great combination of food to protect and heal our brain, gut, heart, bladder and prostrate. And yes, it is food!
Triple Berry Probiotic + Cranberry Pomegranate Synbiotic: take one teaspoon and one capsule daily. Look at the fabulous selection of high active fruits you will be consuming (wild blueberry, sweat cherry, raspberry, cranberry extract and pomegranate extract), plus good bugs (L. acidophilus– two strains, B. longum– 2 strains and L casei), supernatant (the metabolites of L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus and B. infantis) and great fiber (inulin and D-mannose). The bug count coming in daily with this dosage pattern would be 23 billion per day.
The Last Quiz Answer: Someone
Michael Pollan visits Google’s Mountain View, CA
headquarters to discuss his book, “In Defense of Food.”