feed produced with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Further, they can’t use synthetic hormones or antibiotics to pro- mote weight gain. In these ways, organic farmers help protect our food, water, and environment from contamination, and reduce the growing global threat of anti- biotic resistance. Randolph Center, Vermont, dairy

farmers Regina and Brent Beidler dili- gently study and question changes they witness in their immediate environment. Tey monitor what grows in their pas- ture, watch what their cows choose to eat and count the numbers and activities of insects, bees, worms, birds and wildlife. Tey understand that careful land and animal stewardship is key to soil, plant, animal and human health.

Healing Communities More hospitals nationwide are investing in farms and farmers’ markets to boost patient, employee and community health by increasing access to nutrient-dense, fresh, healthful food. One exceptional example is the new partnership between Virginia’s Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) and Augusta Health, an independent, commu- nity-owned nonprofit hospital in Augusta County, Virginia. Te AMI Fellowship program prepares

individuals to become farmers, teachers and ambassadors for health-promoting food systems. “Both AMI and Augusta Health believe that access to excellent health care includes access to healthy food,” explains Sue Erhardt, the institute’s executive director. Te AMI Farm at Augusta Health

initiative will create an onsite production farm and a community venue for food, nutrition and gardening education. Teir goal is to tackle three major local health issues: poor nutrition, low physical activ- ity and overweight; diabetes; and mental health. A Food Farmacy program for those with or at risk for Type 2 diabetes will provide fresh produce prescriptions at an onsite farmstand, as well as cooking classes. Erhardt recalls her life-changing expe-

rience as a teen, hearing American labor leader Cesar Chavez speak about farm

worker exposure to pesticides and related cancer clusters. She’s proud to say, “Te farm project will exemplify sustainable practices for growing vegetables, including organic four-season crops and companion planting, while promoting soil health. “We believe this project will promote a

better quality of life for staff, patients and community members.” Tat’s the power of farming when it’s dedicated to opti- mum health.

Melinda Hemmelgarn is a registered dietitian, writer and Food Sleuth Radio host with KOPN. org, in Columbia, MO. Connect at Food-

Quality Food Science Resources

n Allegheny Mountain Institute:

n Beyond Pesticides Annual Forum pre- sentations:

n Food Sleuth Radio current interviews with Andrew Smith and Sue Erhardt:

n Food Sleuth Radio past interviews with Jim Riddle and David Montgomery:;

n Grassmilk:

n History of soil and human health:

n Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service:;

n Regenerative Health Institute:

n Rodale Institute:

n “Sustaining Life: From Soil Microbiota to Gut Microbiome,” by David Montgomery:

n U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance:

n Vilicus Farms:

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