Is there still time to save the planet, and ourselves?
The time is now — this
is it, people; we can
change the world.
OC TOBER IS ONE of my favorite months in Marin. The weather is till warm, there is a hint of the holidays in the air and the 49ers
have a chance to be great again.
Harvest is also on my mind, thanks to wine
country events, forays to farmers markets
and, recently, my experience at Futurewell, a
daylong symposium in Tomales where well-known speakers from around the country
discussed future well-being. After just a
couple hours at the aptly named event, I felt
encouraged, actually more like frothed up
to the point of evangelism. The time is now
— this is it, people; we can change the world.
Bear with me as I sort through what I learned.
The answer to wellness is simple: it’s the
soil, stupid. The new (to me) buzzword is
regenerative agriculture. What is it? Growing
food and textile crops with a nod to pre–World
War II harvesting techniques (as in sans
chemicals and monocrops). The summit conveniently took place at Stemple Creek Ranch,
a fourth-generation operation that’s now
a thriving example of the benefits of these
methods. Those organic and biodynamic practices also figured prominently in The Biggest
Little Farm, the award-winning documentary
about director John Chester and his wife’s
rocky eight-year effort to grow food from the
land the old-fashioned way.
In one of the day’s first discussions,
Finian Makepeace (I googled; that’s his real
name) physically demonstrated connections
between agriculture, conservation, soil health
and gut health — using actual soil. Makepeace
has a website, kisstheground.com, that presents findings from in-depth research on the
pluses of regenerative agriculture, offers a free
downloadable curriculum for educators and
provides information on businesses to support
that are following these guidelines.
After his talk came a panel discussion
that included Dr. Zack Bush, who special-
izes in internal medicine, endocrinology
and metabolism, and hospice palliative care.
When he was introduced I thought, “Oh
geez, here comes the sales pitch for his line of
supplements.” Au contraire: he continued the
conversation about soil health as it relates to
our bodies. He explained the effect of glypho-sate (the controversial ingredient in pesticides
like Roundup) on the microbes in our guts and
told of studies indicating its links to cancer,
gluten sensitivity and neurological disorders. He didn’t talk doom and gloom or try to
sell a quick fix-pill; instead, he talked about
how powerful our bodies are in promoting
regeneration when given the chance. He also
explained how while we think of genetics as
being passed down from our parents, the good
news is we can actually influence our genetics
through the food choices we make.
Like many people, I often feel helpless
when I think about the future of the planet.
My daughters talk about raising kids together,
about where they will live and encourage me
to not move to so I can be that crazy grandma
who lives on a houseboat. I force myself to
think positive thoughts about how the climate
will calm down, insidious diseases like cancer
will have swift and effective cures and basically, I like to think that my daughters can
realize their futures without having to face
these overwhelming environmental threats.
Living in a county like Marin, where there are
so many deeply passionate people who create
businesses aligned with the best sustainable
practices, is inspirational. Urban Remedy,
Navitas Organics, EO Products and Equator
Coffee, to name just a few, are all local companies that make it easier for us to try to live the
best lives we can.
Thank you for reading and riding along
with my new wave of hope. Believe me, I have
lots of room for improvement in my own consumer habits, but I’ve been heartened by the
prospect of regeneration of our soils, bodies
and habits. Cheers to harvest!
Mimi Towle, Editor