Natural Solutions - - Publisher's Note - Dick Benson

et food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” said Hip­pocrates nearly 2,400 years ago. Through­out hu­man his­tory, food has been on our minds. In fact, in many parts of the world, a per­son’s day still largely con­sists of gath­er­ing food or col­lect­ing drink­able wa­ter. Ac­cord­ing to the United States De­part­ment of Agriculture, 58 per­cent of the US work­force were clas­si­fied as farm­ers in 1860.

To­day, that fig­ure is less than 3 per­cent—pri­mar­ily be­cause our farms have gen­er­ally shifted to largescale op­er­a­tions. The mod­ern farmer of­ten raises crops on fields span­ning thou­sands of acres, with cat­tle herds num­ber­ing in the thou­sands and poul­try barns larger than foot­ball fields. Tech­nol­ogy has al­lowed farm­ers to in­crease yields and feed more mouths with a smaller la­bor force. Such ad­vance­ments might lead you to con­clude that all is well with our food sup­ply.

Un­for­tu­nately, this is not the case. The farm­ing tech­niques used to­day, which have changed dra­mat­i­cally over the last 50 years, of­ten strip the soil of needed min­er­als. Ask any per­son who lives near or drives past a fac­tory-style poul­try farm, and they will tell you the smell can be over­whelm­ing. (Not that the smell of ma­nure on a fam­ily farm is any sweeter—it’s just less po­tent.) Pes­ti­cides are another big is­sue fac­ing these large farms. These chem­i­cals suc­cess­fully kill weeds and in­sects, but farm­ers pay lit­tle at­ten­tion to what the tox­ins do when they are ab­sorbed into the crops.

How have all these changes af­fected the food sup­ply and our en­vi­ron­ment? Many ex­perts claim that health is­sues such as autism spec­trum disor­der, at­ten­tion deficit disor­der, au­toim­mune con­di­tions, and Alzheimer’s dis­ease (to name a few) are a di­rect re­sult of the types of foods we con­sume. Yet many claim that mass-pro­duced food is cheaper and bet­ter for you—but is it re­ally?

We should re­fo­cus our val­ues on health and well-be­ing and re­turn to the age when farm­ing pro­moted not only healthy eating, but also com­mu­nity val­ues. Farm­ers’ mar­kets, county and state fairs, and cook-offs have a long tra­di­tion of al­low­ing farm­ers and pro­duc­ers to dis­play their suc­cesses. Our own Min­ne­sota State Fair still in­cludes 4-H con­tests where youth can dis­play their farm­ing ac­com­plish­ments. And the par­tic­i­pants at these events are gen­er­ally fam­ily or hobby farm­ers who value their re­la­tion­ships with the foods they pro­duce.

We hope you find this spe­cial is­sue on the im­por­tance of clean eating in­for­ma­tive and help­ful as you con­tinue to ex­per­i­ment with new home-cooked cre­ations. If you try one of our recipes, post a photo of your fi­nal prod­uct on Face­book or Twit­ter with the hash­tag #CleanEat­ingNS. We will be se­lect­ing win­ners to re­ceive a spe­cial sam­ple pack­age of de­li­cious, healthy food.

Thanks for your sup­port!

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