What’s the connection between soil and human health? It’s an intriguing question that family physician and author Dr. Daphne Miller discusses in the lecture above and in her book Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing. In the research for the book Miller visited farmers who, as she put it, “farm in the image of nature,” who approach the farm as a living organism.
While she cautioned that there is little research behind the connection between farming practices and health, she suspects that biodiversity on the farm may be an important factor in our well being. To back this idea up she cites:
- Erika von Mutius, who found an intriguing connection between children who grew up on farms and their lack of asthma and allergies later in life.
- Research that is taking an Integrated Pest Management approach to cancer, treating it as a symptom of a lack of internal biodiversity.
- Studies that have shown the higher nutritional value of eggs from chickens raised on pasture.
It seems obvious that there’s a connection between the health of a farm and our own health. Biodiverse soils produce healthier, more nutritious food. And way too much of the food we eat comes from farms where the soil is treated as a sterile growing medium. As Miller notes, “We are the soil.”