In Food

Healthy Food Manifesto

Posted by: on Feb 12, 2012 | One Comment

One of my favorite quotes is from Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This quote resonates with me because I firmly believe our diet intimately affects our health. Nature offers all the ingredients we could possibly need to live full and happy lives. What we eat directly impacts our bodies as well as the world around us. When we nurture the natural food system (not the conventional food system we have been so focused on), we create healthier people, places, plants, and animals. Sustainable community food systems begin with healthy people, communities, local economies, and environments. Along with water and shelter, food is our most basic need. However, not all food is created equal. And Americans are beginning to recognize the conventional food system is not as healthy, safe, or sustainable as we believed.

The current industrial food system relies heavily on chemical inputs including pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. As demonstrated in 1962 by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring (a book I highly recommend), these chemical inputs leech into our food and water supply, making both our environment and us sick. Even today after DDT and other chemicals were banned, twenty percent of the approved pesticides are carcinogenic in humans (Hopp, 2007)*. In fact, we have a war on cancer and our country is experiencing an obesity epidemic. I believe both of these as well as other chronic and diet-related diseases can be combated with a new, sustainable community food system.

Furthermore, the prevailing food system handles and produces animals as if they were simple non-living commodities. Cows, hogs, and chickens are crammed into Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). They are overfed on an unnatural diet of corn, wheat, soy, and non-therapeutic antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistant bacteria, further endangering human health. Our lack of respect for fellow living beings damages our integrity as a society and hampers our progress. Fortunately, we are beginning to recognize the benefits and possibilities of more humane treatment.

If we eat fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables grown locally when possible with limited chemical inputs and limited transportation, we care for our bodies, promote a healthy environment, a strong and vibrant local economy, and a resilient community. Eating a healthy diet supports a healthy planet.

*Hopp, S. (2007). Loosing the bug arms race. Animal, vegetable, miracle: A year of food life. HarperCollins: New York, NY. (164-165).

1 Comment

  1. Betsy Rogers
    February 20, 2012

    I Love that quote too!
    But I confess that I am never going to give up tea or chocolate (With the Sugar!)


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