Friday, December 21, 2012

A farmer in a Mercedez?

Joel Salatin once said he is waiting for the day when its ok for a farmer to drive a Mercedez. While this seems an odd concept at first glance... look a bit deeper.
Does anyone cringe when a medical doctor drives by in an expensive car or lives in an expensive house? Of course not. These are seen as status symbols, compensation for a job well done. The doctor has dedicated his life to helping others and deserves the fruits of his labors and sacrifice. His lifestyle is admired as success.
Now let's consider a bit deeper. Medical treatment is largely used to correct what is wrong. We go to the doctor primarily when we have a problem, and he offers fixes to restore us to health. Admirable to say the least. Let's ask the question ... what caused the problem to begin with? How could the problem have been prevented? Regardless of who you tend to believe about nutrition advice.... one thing is constant: all dietary advice is intended to first prevent disease. In short... proper food prevents illness to the extent it is preventable.
Add to this thought the realization that the ability of food to do this is largely in how that food is produced. The nutritional and toxic content of any food is more dependent on how that food was raised than which type of food it is. As example I point to the many tests on eggs showing a 5 to 10x difference in nutritional content depending on the feed, breed, and living conditions of the chicken. Even the long standing debate about organic vs conventional produce admits that conventional has much higher levels of poison inside. The debate is how much that affects the consumer, there is no denying the presence of the poison in conventional produce. Bottom line... production method and processing matter more than original product.
By extension then, the person or group in charge of producing and packaging food is the first half of the health equation, and the doctor is the second half. Who is this person? Your farmer. He is in charge of preventing disease in your family to the extent possible, just as the doctor is in charge of remedying problems that arise.
Perhaps that is a scary thought? Do you know your farmer? Do you trust him to produce the safest and highest nutrition food possible? Does he go to sleep at night concerned about your family health? How to produce foods that improve health? Or is your farmer a fancy label concerned primarily about profit and shareholders? Who is in charge of providing foods to prevent disease in your family?
I don't mean to imply that a farmer can work miracles and prevent all disease. Just as a doctor has success and failures, so does the farmer. The body is an incredibly complex balance of systems, way more complex than any system that puts robots on mars. Sometimes things happen beyond our control.  There are no guarantees nor absolutes in health.
So, in effect on your family health, the farmer and the doctor are equally important. You could even build the case that farmers have more impact on health through prevention than doctors through repair. After all, proper prevention removes most need for repair.
That being true, why would we not wish the farmer equal compensation for his efforts and sacrifice? The farmers working conditions, hours, demands, training, and risks are no less than a doctor (assuming both are dedicated to helping people stay healthy). Would you rather prevent cancer, or treat it? Both are important but.... prevention is much more attractive.
So I support Joel Salatins notion that farmers should drive Mercedez. That would represent a shift in the American value system to a more balanced approach which would stem the escalating health care crisis. Supporting farming equal to medicine would show a true mature caring for our land and our health. It would restore balance to a world spiraling out of control in the health arena.
Personally we wouldn't invest in expensive autos, but that is a personal choice. We have personally chosen to invest our entire retirement and ongoing funds in building a farm to produce foods that support and restore health. Every week we hear success stories and meet new needs for the products we produce. It is a great financial risk but totally worthwhile if only one more child is helped to recover, and one more cancer prevented. I wish we lived in a world where equal importance and compensation were placed on prevention as well as remedy. That would mean a world free from the bulk of suffering we endure today.
That's what a farmer driving a Mercedez represents.

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