By Guest Blogger Farmer Allan Balliett, Owner, Fresh and Local CSA
I suffered from the effects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities(MCS) for over 10 years. My healing didn't begin until I abandoned AMA doctors and found a Naturopath. He got me off from cigarettes and tranquilizers and onto organic food. (With MCS I was painfully reactive to food additives, trace amounts of pesticides, tobacco smoke and 'fragrances' and was horribly fatigued all the time.) Because fresh organic produce was rare in the early 80's, I adopted a macrobiotic diet which was based around organically grown staples like grains and beans and wild crafted foods like seaweeds. Once I was "minimizing toxins and maximizing nutrition," my healing began almost immediately and in 3 weeks I had made more progress towards “Wellness” than I had in the previous 10 years. In 3 months, I was a new person, with a clear head with literally boundless energy.
Every once in a while after I was well I'd bite into a piece of 'fresh' organic food, like an apple, and have an MCS reaction. When I brought this up to my macrobiotic counselor he said, "Not all organic food is toxin free. Some of it is fake and some of it gets contaminated in the distribution process. If you want food that's chemically free, you'll need to go out to West Virginia and grow it yourself with the other people who are healing."
Having grown up on a conventional farm under the influence of a grandmother who had studied herbalism with a Native American medicine man, I took up the challenge and moved to West Virginia, using my new energy to commute from West Virginia to my job in DC while searching for an appropriate non-toxic way to grow food.
My Journey to Biodynamic Farming
After reading every book I could find on farming without chemicals, I found my first book on biodynamic farming. Biodynamics was the only holistic method of farming I'd run across and, unlike Rodale organics, it's goal was ‘to produce foods appropriate for human development’ rather than produce foods that could be sold profitably by weight or count using the least inputs possible. The goal was quality, not increased profits. There's a huge difference in these approaches to producing food. I think my mentor, Alan Chadwick, www.alanchadwick.net said it best about the effect of commercialization on food quality: "When a man goes into a field to produce good food, that food is completely different from the food he will grow if he goes into that same field to produce $10,000.00."
While reading about food-as-medicine ("healthy soil=healthy plants=healthy people") I read Dr. Carey Ream's statement that “All disease is the result of mineral deficiencies", and soil scientist William Albrecht saying that physicals for the draft for WWI proved that the least healthy young men came from the areas of the country with naturally mineral deficient soils. It was also clear that there is a strong relationship between the minerals in our food and ultimate health and clear indications that we absorb minerals from living organisms more readily than we do from pills.