On my way to work today

      I’m a landscape design instructor.  That’s where my greatest skill and depth of experience is best realized.  These classes come easy to me and much to my student’s entertainment I approach them with a great deal of zeal and passion.  However on occasion, we design edible gardens, container gardens and rooftop gardens all bumping into topics I also address in the Student Vegetable Gardens.  I desperately want to talk about landscape design in my articles and blogs and I’ve developed a growing list of funny stories and interesting anecdotes to share however I’m struggling to escape the lure of these darn vegetables.  On the surface these are farms with simple farmers who work from dawn to dusk in the dirt.  But, it’s not that simple.

     On my way to work this morning, bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have a topic for my weekly blog I was struck once again by the news that surrounds what we do on the farm.  NPR played two stories consecutively, one on Telomeres and the other on American farmers saying they ‘feed the world’.   I’m only in the truck for 20 minutes- a little news, a lite story or two and off to my desk.  Yet, so topical is the mission of our farm that it’s regularly in the center of our papers and news stations as it was today.

Student Garden's Baskets

Student Garden's Baskets

     Telomeres are the caps on chromosomes.  Likened to the plastic tip on a shoelace that keeps the threads from unraveling.  These telomeres hold together our chromosomes.    In a recent study on aging scientists’ found that longer sturdier telomeres correlate to a longer life span.  More importantly is that the findings suggest not only that we slow the aging process but you can reverse damage done in the past causing you to essentially increase your life expectancy.  You would never guess how one would maintain or increase their telomeres.  In this study they took a group of aging men some living life as usual and the others following new lifestyle changes.  No meds just lifestyle changes.  The test group increased their exercise to walking 30 minutes a day.  They addressed life stress management by meditating or yoga for an hour each day as well as added time spent with family or loved ones.  Lastly they adopted a plant based diet low in refined carbs.  The results were overwhelming.  Increased telomere length was seen in the test group members no mater how aggressively they took to the life adjustments.

     No surprise that these ‘life prescriptions’ are the exact recommendations for some of our leading diseases (Type 2 Diabetes, Hear Disease and Early Stages of Prostate Cancer).  Like in the aging study they are finding that not only can these diseases be prevented with lifestyle changes, but they can also be reversed.  Nothing new I’m sure.  Many advocates, like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, have been writing and teaching this for a long time.  More so, not only is it decreasing our prevalence of disease, and increasing our life span but apparently we feel really good about ourselves.  Resulting in a more intimate marriage and higher self esteem.

     So the Fountain of Youth, this fix-all pill…is green.  I speak from experience.  Which much to my student’s entertainment, I also approach with a great deal of zeal and passion.  Lets face it I’m speaking to the choir you’re all buying a basket of veggies every week.  However, it was a good reminder for me this morning of what I do and why I do it. 

     Now, we grow and sell this green magic medicine so the connection isn’t too hard to place. But, what does that have to do with American farmers ‘feeding the world’?  That, my friend ‘is the rest of the story’.  Check in next week and see.