There is a disconnect between people that eat food and people that grow food. And even those that grow food have a disconnect between the food that is grown and the soil that it is grown in. Food just happens to be one of the most important things for life, along with air and water. Agriculture supplies food, so therefore Agriculture should be important. Unfortunately we as a society put very little importance on food, so how can we expect society to put any importance on Agriculture.
True health must begin with Agriculture. Even if you eat package food, it did originally start as a living thing, well parts of it did. So much has happened on the way from living plant or animal to being consumed that it is easy not to realise how it began.
I've recently attended a conference where the speaker was Dr Arden Anderson. He is an American GP, currently owns a medical practice, but he also consults and lectures about sustainable agriculture. There is some interesting youtube clips here. Basically he got sick of treating sick and dying people in his practice, that were sick and dying due to our current food system. Our modern agricultural practices are killing us via the over use of pesticides, herbicides and salt based fertilisers, along with the introduction of genetic modification (GM). These things all destroy the soil food web (soil biome) that convert the trace elements and minerals in the soil into a form that the plant can take up through their roots.
Just like we need a healthy biome in our gut, and on our skin, so does soil and plants. It's the same for the plants that we eat and those that animals eat. According to Dr Anderson there are two factors in our modern agricultural system that are the worst - glysophate (roundup) and genetic modification of plants. It is almost impossible to remove all traces of glysophate out of our food systems. If it has been used on or near any food plants, it will be in that food. In the US, they have even found traces of it in rain water. We don't grow many GM crops in Australia, only canola and cotton seed, so if you eat deep fried food, you will certainly be ingesting GM material as these are the two oils used. Packaged food if it contains American grown corn or soy (and many other gm products) will also contain GM materials. All farming in Australia that is not organic will use glysophate as a regular weed control application.
I could go on forever about glysophate, but if you want to read more, Don Huber is a good place to start.
We don't necessarily have to eat organic to be healthy, we just need to make sure that it hasn't been grown any where near where glysophate was used.
When I was a kid we ate a lot of baked goods - home baked, and yes we used white sugar and white flour. We didn't eat a lot of veggies and certainly not many different ones. We ate deserts every night and we were healthy and skinny. Now a days, to be considered a healthy diet, we use unrefined sugars, wholemeal flours and whole grains (if any grains at all), nuts and seeds, many different vegetables (with as many different colours as possible) and certainly stay away from all those carbs in cakes and bickies. The difference was that those foods were grown without herbicides and pesticides, or certainly without the constant applications that modern crops get today. The soil would have been a lot healthier because of this, so therefore the plants would be healthier. And we were certainly a lot healthier.
He actually doesn't lecture on organic farming. His main thing is that we need to get the minerals back into the soil, in a balanced form, stop using glysophate and start feeding the soil so that the biology return and can thrive. Unfortunately organic farming can be too restrictive and doesn't allow some things that are perfectly safe, just haven't been organic certified. The only thing that organic certification assures you of, is that it won't have had glysophate in the system. It's called Biological Farming. Farmers should be getting paid more for growing food that is high in nutrition. Another reason to ask your farmers about their farming methods - but you need to know your farmer to ask those questions.
My next post will be the way Dr Anderson suggest we should eat, which has a few challenges for me!