Hello, and welcome, to Endofite.com!
The first questions you might have when you enter this site include, “What is this place? Is it pronounced “end-o-fight?” or “end-o- fit?” Is this a business? Or a blog? Who’s writing all this stuff? What is food security? What do you mean by “Integrated Health?” What will I gain from reading this blog? Fair questions, all. So let’s get you some answers.
What is this place?
Endofite.com is a website operated by End-O-Fite Enterprises LLC, a home based consulting business I started back in 2013 with the ambitious goal of implementing a food security model that I was writing about with fellow scientists from universities and government agencies around the country. You can read the model by clicking the button below:
[button color=”black” size=”big” link=”http://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/pdf/10.3920/978-90-8686-788-2_10″ target=”blank” ]Advancing an Evergreen Revolution[/button]
Is it pronounced “end-o-fight?” or “end-o- fit?”
The first one. My husband, David, named the business. He’s a marketing director for a state department of agriculture. You wouldn’t want to trust your marketing to a retired government scientist, would you? I left David in charge of the name. He chose a play on the word endophyte, because I had devoted the last decade or so of my research to the study of endophyte ecology, and I believed endophytes were the key to sustainable agriculture, food security, and good nutrition.
Endophytes are microbes that live inside plants. The research I carried out in partnership with the Late Dr. Jerry Barrow was among the first efforts worldwide to reveal that the interdependence between plants and microbes is so complete, that even micropropagated plants, plants growing in otherwise sterile test tubes, require internal microbes for survival. Our work includes what may still be the most complex illustrations of micropropagated plant microbiomes to date. Now, I could talk about endophytes all day long, but one aspect of our work that was exciting enough to inspire a private enterprise involved the discovery that these endophytes could increase plant productivity in harsh environments. In fact, we saw such amazing differences in the productivity of plants with and without our endophytes that we even filed a patent claiming these endophytes conferred heritable traits to crop plants. We believed, and I continue to believe, that we held important keys to an evergreen revolution. So when David chose the name “End-o-Fite,” his intent was to convey two meanings. One was that I would provide assistance with endophyte and other microbially based agricultural practices. The other was that our methods would “end the fight” for sustainable agriculture.
Ironically, as I was developing plans for End-O-Fite Enterprises, I also experienced a major health crisis. I was even told by my doctor that there was nothing that could be done for me, I could not work again, and my condition was permanent. I launched the business anyway, under the worst of conditions, because frankly, I knew I needed something to work towards. But soon after I opened for business, I was involved in a car accident that left me so bedridden that three months past before I could get myself to a doctor to get treated. Needless to say, the fight I needed to bring to an end became my personal fight for survival. As my focus shifted towards personal health, I discovered that the principles I used to improve crop production or restore toxic waste sites were equally effective for restoring personal health. After all, healthy cells are healthy cells, and good food is the best medicine. So we expanded our enterprise to address health concerns that could benefit from restoring healthy microbiomes.
Is this a business? Or is this a blog?
Well, both. I already identified us as a business. I do consulting for growers interested in leveraging soil food webs and microbial dynamics to improve crop production. I offer workshops that teach growers how to examine their own soil microbes. And I help consumers understand the impacts agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals have on their microbiomes and their metabolic potential. But I also write articles. I started blogging during my illness as a way to reassure myself that I was still here. I’ve uploaded many of those articles to this page, without edits, as markers to remind myself how far I have come, and how blessed I am to be here with a story to tell. My goals with the blog are to allow readers a better idea of who I am and what services I can offer. Food security, microbiomes, local food production, and endophytes, all the mainstays of my business, are concepts that are foreign to many. I write intermittently about topics I consider cornerstones of secure food systems: environmental quality, agriculture, health, and diversity (biological, cultural, and economic). In the cultural realm, I consider education and liberty to be the drivers most amenable to changes that can drive entire systems towards prosperous, productive, and sustainable living.
Who’s writing all this stuff?
My name is Mary Lucero. I hold a PhD in molecular biology. I am a retired scientist and educator, and a native New Mexican whose roots in the southwest span centuries. My career in agriculture, environmental science, biotechnology, and education has provided me with a holistic perspective about the factors influencing our current state of declining food security. My long family history in the largest desert of North America has gifted me with a deep cultural and spiritual understanding of the factors that have provided resilience to America’s most ancient cultures. I am passionate about changing the way people think about food, health, and our environment, because I believe I have solutions that can benefit many. I write in the hope that I will connect with others who can influence changes that will restore our food systems.
What is food security?
Food security, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. At End-O-Fite Enterprises LLC, we operate from the perspective that secure food systems are the foundations upon which all prosperity is built. The cornerstones that support this foundation include environmental quality, agricultural production methods, health (human health, ecosystem health…), and diversity. Now, we are NOT the World Health Organization, and we cannot hope to influence all people at all times. But what we can hope for is to use our knowledge to build small corridors of food security that ensure access to safe food for those who choose to work with us.
What do you mean by “Integrated Health?”
Health is by nature interdependent on nutritional, physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, economic, and environmental factors. By addressing these factors holistically, we can better attain the balanced lifestyles that are resilient to dis-ease.
What will I gain from reading this blog?
We are living in a time characterized by many as the brink of ecological collapse. Geologists only recently declared we are experiencing the dawn of the Anthropocene. As we struggle to find our way in this new environment, our health, our relationships, and the food we eat will increasingly become more important to our daily lives then where we go to school or who we choose to work for. The currency that defines us has changed. The solutions I offer may or may not be enough to guide you safely through these dynamic times. Like you, I am new to the Anthropocene. But I am certain that the solutions promoted by our governments and the special interests they serve will not. I invite you to consider my perspectives, share your own comments, and join me in developing tools, ideas, and models that can be used to expand access to safe, natural, and chemically unadulterated food, biologically diverse ecosystems, good physical health, and prosperous economies.