Monday, June 28, 2010

Connecting People's Health to the Planet - Alan Wight

This weekend I read an article in the New York Times that talked about a food revolution for low-income people.  Dennis Derryck is the owner of a 92 acre farm in Schoharie County, NY.  He has created a unique community supported agricultural program (CSA) to help provide residents in the Bronx with healthy food.  As some of you may know there is a relationship between poverty, diet, individual / community health, and our environment.  For a variety of reasons, people from all socio-economic backgrounds do not always eat healthy food.  Money, time, knowledge about food and diet, access to unprocessed foods, and personal preference (i.e. culture) can all contribute to unhealthy bodies.  These bodies may then require more “modernized medical treatment” for the resulting diabetes, cancers, kidney failures, obesity, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, and other diet / environmentally induced problems.  Given the state of our medicalized – insurance – doctor – patient – pill - pharmaceutical - hospital - for profit health care system, we all end up paying more money.  Many times the food (if it can be called food at all) that is consumed is also produced, grown, and cultivated in an extremely unsustainable or environmentally damaging way.  Too many chemicals in the forms of growth hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are used in the production process and ultimately end up in our bodies or our rives, lakes, and ocean—only to eventually become part of our biosphere.  This is the link between our personal health and the collective health of our planet.  There are plenty of people like Dennis Derryck already working on community based solutions, primarily dealing with reconnecting people to the soil and their source of their food.  This is a rich area for action research practitioners  who want to work with community members in tackling these health and environmental issues.

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