Tag Archives: farming

The Amish Aren’t as Fit and Healthy as You Might Think


By Valerie Orsoni, founder of LeBootcamp

For an Amish farmer, there’s no need for an intense fitness class! Harnessing the horses, pushing the plow, walking to and from the fields, and carrying heavy loads keeps them in perfect shape. Traditionally, those who work on a farm are fit. However, due to skyrocketing land prices, more and more Amish have to get a regular factory job (in fact, only 10% of Amish households receive their main income from farming). The health results are evident.

I just spent a month visiting an Amish farm and observing the lifestyle for myself. The early assumption would be that we’d find a healthful community, but the reality is that, in many ways, they aren’t.

The rigorous exercise and daily fitness demands of farming are waning. The men are, growing softer, if you will.

Women in this community are usually on the heavier side since they are less intensively active, though they do walk more than the average American woman and are constantly moving around in general. Social activities like canning and quilting keep them busy. Just as in our modern society, those social times always lead to a high consumption of treats and goodies, adding to the expanded waistlines. (more…)

Predicting the Future: We Need More Food and We Need Better Ways to Get It

We often talk (and post) about the upcoming food trends, but usually aren’t looking much farther than the next year. An exciting new project from National Geographic is taking the future of food to a whole new level. They’re taking a look at what the world’s food needs will be nearly 40 years in the future, and what we can do today to maybe ease any future burdens.

  • The projected population of the world in 2050 is more than 9 billion people. It was 7.158 billion as of March 26 according to the United States Census Bureau.
  • It is speculated that we will need to double food production numbers to not only keep up with the growing population, but the increasingly rich diets of countries with growing economies. (more…)

This Lighter Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Croutons Embodies a Local, Fresh Summer

We spent Mother’s Day a little differently this year. My family and I spent the evening at a local farm planting 150 herb seedlings. It felt good to dig in the earth, watch the warm sun set over the vast Kansas prairie, and spend some truly quality time with my husband and daughter.

grilled chicken caesar salad
We left MG Honor Farms with a promise to return and lend our hands to the tomato harvest, and with a lot of fresh greens and veggies. Clint Brauer built the farm on his late grandmother’s land as an homage to her memory. As well, to serve the people of our community, saying, “MGHonor Farms was created to help those who have realized their true priorities, have an option to purchase healthy food for themselves and their families without any herbicides and only organically certified pesticides.”

Every community deserves a resource like this.

kale and greens
The next evening we enjoyed the fresh spring greens and crisp kale in a salad that paid us well for our hard work the night before and reminded us of a promise to enjoy this summer more than any other. Escaping from the confines of winter, a big entree salad that is light and satisfying always feels so refreshing on these warmer days. That’s exactly what we made. (more…)

Dodge’s Farmer Super Bowl Ad Prioritizes Health and Family

  • In a two-minute spot that aired during Super Bowl XLVII, Dodge Ram highlighted the farmers who are the life blood of our nation.
  • The spot featured the real men, women, and even youth who “put in 40 hours by noon on Tuesday,” but also sow and harvest the food that we all consume every day.
  • Paul Harvey narrated the commercial, based on audio of a speech he gave to the Future Farmers of America in 1978.
  • Farmers markets are an affordable and accessible way to not only provide wholesome fresh foods for your family, but also support local farmers and therefore your local economy.
  • The spot shared the beautiful scene of a family gathered around the table for dinner, something that can improve a child’s performance at school and give them greater self esteem. A family dinner can reduce in the incidence of obesity, eating disorders, depression, and substance abuse. (more…)

In Organic We Trust Food Documentary Earns This Skeptic’s Seal of Approval

I’m pretty skeptical when there’s a new food documentary that hits the scene. I’ve been scared in to or out of so many things because of this genre. Since Morgan Spurlock first freaked us all out with Super Size Me, or once the revolution rose up with viewings of Forks Over Knives, I’ve learned to take all these films with a grain of salt and consider the source.

Today, a new food-doc film is being released to the masses. I got an early screening of In Organic We Trust, and reluctantly agreed to watch it and review.

I expected another film assuring me of the horrific dangers of pesticides from the mouth of one hippie farmer and/or some suited lobbyist swearing that those darn hippies are out of their mind, “there’s no need for organics, pesticides won’t hurt you.” About 10 minutes into the film I was impressed, engaged, and intrigued. In Organic We Trust was on to something. (more…)

Is Chipotle’s Softer Approach More Effective Than Scare Tactics? [VIDEO]

Chipotle, the fast casual restaurant known for using local and fresh ingredients got in on the lime light during Sunday’s Grammy Awards too. The Mexican chain aired a two minute commercial depicting the harsh realities of food production and food distribution in the United States. Animated scenes illustrated how the once healthy family farm has turned into a manufacturing plant with bloated unhealthy animals processed more like car parts than food.

The commercial is set to the tune of Willie Nelson covering Coldplay’s song, The Scientist. The chorus lyrics state, “I’m going back to the start.” This also narrates the scene when the farmer is fed up with modern practices and begins to return his farm into what it once was; open fields, not cages, with healthy animals, not medicated overgrown products.

While the message is stark, the ad itself isn’t off putting. The soft song mixed with cute, little, animated animals makes you stop and think without grossing you out or scaring you into vegetarianism. Chipotle has always taken a positive stance with their food. The company’s motto is even “food with integrity.” Chipotle’s sales for 2011 were up 11.2% and net income was up 20%.

Other recent ad campaigns regarding health have recently come under fire for scaring and bullying people into eating healthier. A New York Department of Health ad campaign linking large portions to type 2 diabetes and amputation really got people talking (us included.) Another health campaign by Strong4Life in Georgia started major backlash on Twitter. The obesity ads depicted overweight children with slogans like, “WARNING: It’s hard to be a little girl, if you’re not.” These ads were meant to motivate with fear and even a little sadness.

National Grant Promotes Local Farms, Healthy Eating

October is National Farm to School Month, which was enacted by Congress last year. The concept centers around creating and promoting strong relationships between local farms and schools.

A national grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meant to provide support for not just schools, but businesses and other institutions in promoting the use of locally-grown produce in their cafeterias. The latest school to take advantage of this healthy initiative is the University of Missouri. The state of Missouri has 78 school districts that use locally grown produce. (more…)

15 Reasons Eating Organic Beats All

By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com

1. In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods. Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium.

2. They’re free of neurotoxins-toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neurotoxins.

3. They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies. Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults. Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).


Government Bails Out Chicken Factory Farmers

Chicken in a cageThe demand for chicken in the US is down, and we can only speculate as to why. Many argue that tough economic conditions have caused Americans to decrease their meat consumption and opt for lower-cost foods. Chicken inventories are 13.1 percent higher than they were a year ago, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

In response to the gap between product and demand, the U.S. government is making a special purchase of 40 million dollars worth of chicken products, which will be distributed to school lunch programs and soup kitchens.

“Thanks to prevailing price trends, the government is getting a bargain on high-quality food to help meet the nutritional needs of the clients of these programs, while the industry is getting some relief from excessive inventories,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also praised the deal, saying “it will also provide support to the broiler industry and the many small independent poultry growers that depend on the industry for their livelihood.”


Tomatoland Opens the Curtain on the Dangers of American Agriculture

Something is not ripe with the tomato industry, according to Barry Estabrook’s book, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. Estabrook examines the corruption and hardships of the red and juicy fruit that is often seen atop  many salads.

The fruit best known for being fresh in the summertime finds its way to the produce section each winter thanks to warm, sunny Florida weather. Estabrook writes that approximately one-third of the U.S.’s tomato supply comes from a state where tomatoes do not naturally grow. Florida’s environment is often difficult with a lack of nitrogen in the soil, insect pests, and bacterial and fungal diseases that can threaten the life of a plant. To make up for these disadvantages, tomato growers often spray the tomato farms with chemicals and pesticides, according to Estabrook.

These chemicals are very harmful to the hard-working tomato pickers and their families, who can get sick or have children with several birth defects. Not to mention these chemicals are extremely harmful to consumers, who may be at risk when ingesting the tomatoes. In addition, tomato pickers work very long and taxing hours in the brutal sun. The workers get no paid vacation and no benefits, and some have even been forced into slavery.