Is there is a link between Organic food producers - consumers - the environment and Covid19?
Good people, the month of May is here with us and with it the “plague” of Covid19 continues unabated… causing untold misery and unprecedented deaths, everywhere. There is an increasing sense of confusion and despondency. But one thing is clear; Covid19 attacks the immune system and causes it to dysfunction.
Is there anything we can do to strengthen the immune system, which is the first line of defense? At individual, household, community, sub-national and national level?
Yes, there is. “Grow and consume organic foods or purchase from your trusted local farmer or from certified organic outlets and consume organic produce rather than the conventional types.” There is emerging evidence that synthetic chemical free foods, grown locally, consisting of a rich diversity IS “medicine” for Covid19.
Indeed, as early as 431 BC Hippocrates admonished as such:”Let food be thy medicine..”
The month of April is here and with it the Corona virus pandemic is spreading fear and anxiety, globally: This is unprecedented; a pandemic of monumental proportions unfolding right before our eyes.
In recent months Covid 19 has forced us to pose and press the “re-set” button…to ask fundamental questions regarding how humanity may have, inadvertently, caused the emergence of new infections, including the Corona virus. Here below, pertinent questions and evidence based answers.
The month of February, 2020, is here and with it an increased manifestation of existential threats… from “old” to “new” diseases, like diabetes and the coronavirus, respectively.
The question(and answers) that this month’s article seeks to address is; how much are modern foods, consisting of highly processed and devoid of essential nutrients are contributing to an increase in “old” and “new” diseases, as exemplified by diabetes and the coronavirus?
To set the stage and capture your attention, here is a video presentation from Dr. Hans Diehl, a holistic public health researcher who has, using time trend analysis, graphically, demonstrated that current lifestyles, including “toxic foods” are key risk factors for diabetes and almost all other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). He goes further to provide on-going research evidence, demonstrating that diabetes can be reversed using dietary approaches. In addition, the evidence proves that diabetes is not a genetic disease!
Dr. Hans Diehl is not alone in this “revolutionary discovery” of what Hippocrates, the Father of Modern medicine, taught from way back in 431BC: “Let food be your medicine…” Dr. Dean Ornish, in his new book, Undo it, has proven and written in peer reviewed journals, that almost all chronic diseases, including heart diseases, can be reversed with the right foods.
So much for evidence linking safe and healthy diets, including organic foods, to preventing and reversing chronic diseases, starting with diabetes, which is referred to as the “Mother of all chronic diseases”.
What is coronavirus? What causes it? How can it be prevented and treated? How can “alternative medicine” and herbal remedies be used to manage this viral infection, now declared a “Health Emergency” by WHO?
To answer all these questions and provide evidence based examples of the efficacy and benefits of chemical free aka organic herbal and dietary based remedies, we make reference to past evidence of efficacy and effective remedies; previous pandemics of flu viruses, like swine flu, SARS and others have been managed successfully applying integrative medicine approaches: There couldn’t be better and more informed person than, my colleague, Sayer Ji. https://sayerji.com/ to provide the requisite evidence.
Quote “The SARS-like coronavirus that appears to have originated in Wuhan, China has now infected thousands of people. As of January 28, 2020, Chinese officials have confirmed over 6,000 cases. These have occurred in every province of China with the exception of Tibet. As of the 28th, 132 people have died from the virus.” Read on more here for history, biochemistry and physiology, pathology and alternative remedies: https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/can-herbal-medicines-fight-wuhan-coronavirus?
What is the scientific evidence demonstrating that these herbal non-drug remedies work against viral infections? Take the example of curcumin in turmeric and its antiviral properties outlined in this 2019 publication with over 180 peer reviewed references, on its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. More here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6509173/
What is the way forward?
There is need to boost peoples immunity by consuming safe and healthy organic foods especially those loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as a preventive strategy against viral infections, including the coronavirus.
The month of March 2020 is here; the coronavirus, a “flu virus”, is threatening to disrupt, not only the health and well being of humanity, but also that of the entire ecosystem. Assuming this is a naturally mutated virus, is Mother Nature passing a “message” that perhaps we, humans, have done enough harm to the ecosystem and that nature is responding to “re-balance”?
This month’s article seeks to outline some pertinent issues and makes some recommendations, as part of the solution, with a focus on food systems. The current food system is the problem - conventional agriculture, while the solution is agroecological regenerative agriculture.
The UN systems, through WHO and FAO have noted that despite the increase in food production and productivity, global malnutrition, both under nutrition and over nutrition, also called obesity, have continued to rise. Here as reported in the 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition.http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf
As part of an effort to mitigate this dismal statistics, the FAO developed policies and strategies to promote Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA). NSA is an approach to address malnutrition by providing safe and diversified foods that are accessible to all, including rural and marginalized communities.
To ensure standardized measurement and monitoring of FAO-WHO have recently developed key recommendations and indicators to incorporate nutrition sensitive aspects to food productions systems; Find summary here: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4922e.pdf
Nutrition sensitive agriculture is a food-based approach to agricultural development that puts dietary diversity and nutritionally rich foods, produced respecting the principles of agroecology and organic farming, at the heart of overcoming malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
Increasingly, more and more scientists, from multi-disciplinary backgrounds are demonstrating that reclaiming soil health is the solution to ecosystem health, including diminishing biodiversity and climate disruptions. Here below the evidence.
Emerging systems thinkers and scientists, exemplified by Dr. Elaine Ingham, are highlighting the need to “fix the soil micro-organisms” and increase their diversity and viability in order to fix both the soil and human gut ecosystem and related microorganisms imbalances resulting in a myriad of metabolic disorders and chronic diseases, including cancers.
Dr. Christine Jones, a leading soil ecologist, provides even more powerful evidence on how working with nature as opposed to working against nature, using a terminology called “quorum sensing” that soil micro-organisms can regenerate and create “new soil with nutrient rich organic matter” from soils that were previously almost “dead dirt”. Watch the video here:
Few physicians turned ecosystem activist have captured this existential threat to humanity better than Dr. Zack Bush. Zack, explains how the widespread use of glyphosate and its various Roundup formulations, among other toxic organophosphates, used alongside synthetic fertilizers has created a problem of monumental proportions that poses an existential threat to humanity and the entire ecosystem. He brilliantly also explains the “solution”: Watch the video here:
What are some of the agroecologically aligned solutions to address the existential threat to humanity?
There is an urgent need for a transformational shift from the current external synthetic chemical based food and nutrition systems to nature aligned agroecological and organic food and nutrition systems. Here is evidence that they work and can sustainably not only improve community nutritional levels but can also improve incomes and livelihoods: https://www.organicwithoutboundaries.bio/2019/05/15/nutrition-mountain-agroecosystems/
There is need to find safe and ecosystem friendly strategies to address the locust invasion, for example, instead of using toxic soil microorganism destroying chemicals, like Sumithion, a toxic biocide. A good example of an accessible, safe biological intervention is the use of the fungi, metahizium acridum which specifically attacks locusts and grasshoppers, while sparing other beneficial insects: Here for more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5715920/can be used to biologically to kill the locusts without killing non-target insects.
Another solution is to innovate and use simple and affordable technologies that are accessible to millions of poor populations, including small scale family farming communities. Three examples are presented in addressing clean water and biofertilizers, addressing the corona virus and addressing malnutrition.
Use of innovative eco-friendly technologies that provide access to clean water to large rural populations, solar electricity and re-newable and regenerative agriculture using biofertilizers and soil micro-organisms. Here is an example of how it works by billionaire Manoj: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChsHrEgI8qb0dBa4UF791SQ
As key partners of the Kenya Chapter of the East Africa Highlands, a First Face to Face ToT Training on Organic Nutritive Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) is scheduled for the 3rd of March to the 5th of March, 2020. OCA and partner,s are playing their role as agents of change towards achieving a healthier and more sustainable ecosystem for all and contributing to mitigating the existential threat to humanity.
January 2020 is manifesting and with it a time to reflect on lessons learned and way forward as a new year and a new decade unfolds. As we celebrate the birth of a new decade we are acutely cognizant that the current food policies have resulted in more hunger rather than less hunger: http://www.fao.org/3/ca5162en/ca5162en.pdf The question that begs and should be in every policymakers mind is: “where did we go wrong and how can we correct this policy mistake”?
What policies should be put in place to address some of the most pressing issues of our time? These issues include the worrying increase in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), soil degradation/loss of biodiversity and climate change (climate emergency!)
Finally, physicians, public health and nutrition thought leaders have made the “discovery” that unsafe and poor diets is the major risk factor for NCDs and recommend radical policy shifts to mainstream a safer alternative food system, a regenerative soil healing food system, without synthetic agrochemicals aka an agroecological organic food system as the solution to the life threatening global epidemics of obesity, cancer, diabetes and other NCDs. Here is the evidence as outlined in a recent article in the BMJ (2019) https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l296
The failed food system, represented by AGRA, unfortunately, promotes the narrative of “business as usual”…with its obsession with “forced productivity and increased yield/acre” which views agricultural production as a “commodity for sale” and proceeds to celebrate this misguided “silos mentality of success” in African capitals https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/12579-opinion-africa-leapfrogging-into-the-future.. they have failed to appreciate the monumental detrimental “cost” of this food system to the ecosystem; the harm the synthetic fertilizers, the modified seeds and toxic agrochemicals are causing to the health of humans, the soil and the ecosystem.
To unpack this misguided and deliberate falsehood of AGRA and allies, Tim Wise and other agroecology experts have conducted a detailed analysis of the ‘achievements” of the 10 years of AGRA’s approach to increasing food production in several African countries, purportedly to reduce hunger. The report card is dismal...it portrays a failure to achieve set targets! Here are the factual statistics and related findings: https://afsafrica.org/agra-at-ten-years-searching-for-evidence-of-a-green-revolution-in-africa/
The above evidence, in addition to other literature shared in various articles (refer to previous blog articles, dating as far as 2015, on this blog series), provides ample justification for the need for a policy shift from the current fossil fuel, petrochemical and synthetic fertilizers/agrochemicals based foods system: The evidence points to failure!
What are the next pragmatic steps in promoting agroecology? These include increasing farmer and consumer knowledge and awareness of AE while building capacity along the agroecology(AE) value chains, starting with making certified (and wild produce) organic foods available, accessible, acceptable and affordable to consumers, taking into account their cultural food preferences.