I had a mental illness. A top New York City doctor told me I needed to be medicated for the rest of my life and I’d probably get sicker. I had been on medication for ten years and followed all the therapies to the “T”. And yet honestly nothing in my life was getting better. I took 7 years to graduate from college, I was showing up late and leaving work early, I was lucky if my relationships lasted longer than a week and my digestion was shaky. I wasn’t terribly struggling but I wasn’t healthy either. I was sick of having non-sickness. I wanted to have a happier, healthier life.
I studied mental health and most of the mental health doctors felt the same way: mental illness is a lifelong struggle. Not everyone’s view of mental health, or health in general, is so bleak. People have cured all degenerative diseases with a combination of diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes. Long story short, I am now one of those people. I have been off medication for two years, I have worked very hard at understanding and practicing healthy living. My quality of life has grown everyday. I love my job and my wife and I can honestly say I am happy. My only problem is monopolizing conversations with the importance of health.
I got into agriculture because it is one of the quickest, least regulated, and most effective ways to practice medicine without a license. How our food is grown affects our health. Food is an area we can control. If we optimize soil health we optimize the health of our food. By adding the missing soil minerals we are one step closer to soil health. Each mineral in the soil plays a vital role in the health of the food chain it cycles through. We are somewhat aware of mineral deficiencies. We are even less aware what optimal health looks like.
Disease, insects and weeds are signs of imbalance. In plants it often starts in the soil. However, companies still focus on maintaining not-disease. Round-Up, the chemical which showers 90% of our corn and soy bean fields, is a mineral chelator, a binder. Round-Up is an herbicide but it doesn’t kill plants. Round-Up binds so many of the plants’ essential minerals that a soil pathogen, fusarium, finds the mess and delivers the deathblow. Unless, however, it is a Round-Up Ready GMO plant then the mineral imbalance goes unnoticed by Nature and us. That plant has been engineered to be resistant to fusarium, nature’s indicator of the poorest health. It hasn’t been engineered to replace those essential missing minerals though. Round-Up does the opposite of what we need for health! We don’t ensure health with the absence of disease, insects or weeds. The bill of health is pushed to someone who will have to pay it later. I knew this because the same model is applied to mental illness. I was in a state of non-sickness for over ten years. Only when I started managing for health did my illness stop expressing itself.
Mob-Grazing, permaculture and mineral balanced agriculture improve universal conditions of land health. Those land health conditions are more stable soil organic matter (carbon sequestration), better mineral balances, balanced diversity, better water quality, and healthier plants, animals and people. Mob-grazing mimics the buffalo. Permaculture mimics forests. Mineral balancing mimics glaciation, volcanoes and flooding; minerals are added back to land. I hold these natural forms of agriculture that heal land while producing food to be of the highest standard. We should be thankful to have them on our land. Growing food in accordance with Nature is not just possible it is the only way. The condition of our environment demands it.
Granted, chemicals gave us some time to think. I would have been dead at a young age without my medication keeping me not mentally ill. However, in our new role we are co-creators. We weren’t kicked out of the Garden of Eden to live amongst “thorns and thistles” and spray them with Round-Up. We address the soil imbalance, add a little calcium and work with Nature to re-enter the Garden of Eden.