Could small-scale farming transform our healthcare system?

Emily Woody
As many of you know from our last newsletter, we recently both got sick, especially Nathan.

Getting sick had me thinking a lot about our health care system. I think it's amazing that we as a culture have decided that everyone deserves access to affordable medicine for when we fall ill. But how much of that money goes toward preventing sickness or maintaining a healthy body and mind?

I think we can all agree that the fundamentals of health are sleep, exercise and diet. The first two are free but we all need to pay for food. And if diet is at the foundation of a healthy body and mind, then shouldn't our health care system subsidize healthy food? If access to a healthy diet isn't a part of health care and the only time we get access to medicine is when we're sick, then we don't really have health care. We have sick care. Is healthy food not medicine? Does it not prevent us from getting sick?

If many of the chronic diseases we see today are largely due to a poor diet, couldn't we save an immense amount of money by simply making fresh whole foods more affordable and accessible? What if we invested some of our health care budget toward buying land for aspiring farmers, who have a passion for building fertile soil, and growing nutrients-dense produce and protein, which could then be distributed to the local community. Would that not prevent more diseases better than any pharmaceutical?

If a healthy diet is at the foundation of a healthy body and mind, then instead of spending money on building more pharmacies, maybe we should start building more farm-acies. Maybe instead of prescribing pills we should start prescribing produce and protein.

It seems to me that regenerative farmers and soil scientists should be included in our healthcare system just as much as doctors and pharmacists.

Farmers can keep us healthy while doctors treat us when we're sick. If we remove farmers and access to affordable fresh food then we're doomed to chronic sickness, which is exactly what we're seeing today.

Imagine if the situation was backwards and farmers and diet were the only legitimate part of health care. Imagine you suddenly got really sick. You were rushed to the hospital for treatment and once the doctors assessed your symptoms, they prescribed you an apple instead of antibiotics.

This is basically what our current health care system does but in reverse. We develop diseases cause by long-term nutrient deficiencies caused by a poor diet. Instead of being given access to affordable healthy food, we're giving pills to mask our symptoms or an unnecessary surgery.

I hope that the healthcare system of the future can become more holistic and inclusive. Not all diseases can be solved through diet, and not all diseases can be solved through pharmaceuticals. We need doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists, herbalist, farmers and soil scientists all working in tandem to have a true health care system.