Tomorrow, American’s everywhere will be celebrating independence with back yard barbecues and fireworks displays. We will express gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy, and proclaim ourselves an independent country. Are we?
Certainly citizens of the United States enjoy some relative freedoms. Most of the time we can say what we think, we can write what we like on the internet, hindered only by the natural consequences that stem from how others react to your statements. But freedom is relative, and for many Americans, freedom has been severely compromised.
A major factor reducing freedom of many Americans surrounds our health. Each day, 133 Million Americans (40% of us) struggle with the effects of a chronic illness. Another 20 million Americans are affected by substance addictions. Still others reside near toxic waste sites where the air they breath, the water they drink, or the environment they live in is contaminated in ways that can impact their health. 50.7 million students are attending public schools by government mandate. There, they are sentenced to 12 or more years of service in which they are required to follow orders, told what to think, and conditioned to eating institutionalized processed foods. By the time they graduate, most students have adopted sedentary lifestyles that challenge good health. Even families that are not sick are having to use abandon saving for the future in order to purchase insurance that forces them into a pharmaceutical-based health care system. Funds they might otherwise have invested or utilized on preventive and alternative health options-options that are less destructive to living cells, and less likely to have long term, damaging side effects.
Poor health itself erodes independence in many ways. As health declines, our ability to earn income subsides, our cost of living increases (with or without insurance, healthcare is expensive), and our need for assistance grows. This is why efforts that restore good health in all its dimensions are critical. When we view health holistically, we can stop talking about soil health, environmental health, physical health, nutritional health, mental health, and financial health. We realize it is all just health, and that without good health, our freedom is limited.
“Celebrate independence this summer by buying fresh produce from a farmer in your community.”
We can protect our freedom by supporting healthy people, healthy soils, and healthy local food systems. Buying from local farmers and local businesses who are committed to good health is one way to create a healthier, more independent world. When we support local regenerative farmers, we support efforts that produce nutrient dense food. Food that support healthy people. We also invest our money in our community, vote with our dollar, and support growers whose methods are cleaning our environment. In doing so, we increase our odds of consuming food that restores health.
Community partners like The Extension Team are building networks that connect local farmers to the health and wellness community. It is our belief that these networks will catalyze a movement towards more local food, and more local independence. Talk to any member to learn how you can get involved. And please, celebrate your own independence this summer by buying fresh produce from a farmer in your community.