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Pollution vs. True Free Markets

As you know, capitalism has taken a bad rap in recent years. Much of this is due to the examples we see all around of industrial rape of the earth and environment, highlighted by powerful environmentalist groups who point to capitalism as the culprit. That may be true, in part, at least. However, I say it’s not true capitalism when an industry is supported by anything other than by its own profits and doesn’t foot the bill for all of its costs of production. True capitalism, I believe, allows businesses to serve society a product that adds value to its existence while at the same time internalizing its costs the same way profits are internalized. I became familiar with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. when I was assigned to vet him as a speaker for the local Family Days on the Farm event last summer. In the vetting process I came across a several speeches that resonated with my passion for making the world we live in a better and more beautiful place via responsible eating and farming. RFK Jr. (famed for his work in Children’s Health Defense), is less known for his work in environmentalism around the world, but he is a passionate advocate for holding corporate polluters accountable and for free market capitalism, and makes an interesting connection between environmental pollution and free markets. Agriculture and food production has largely gone astray, in my view, since the advent of chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fossil-derived fertilizers. This straying has been vastly harmful to soil quality around the world, more, has resulted in food and feed that is sadly lacking in vital nutrients. Even the Amish farming community in rural Lancaster and Chester Counties has been drawn along on the conventional chemical hamster wheel called agricultural science. While our culture still primarily farms with horsepower, it hasn’t barred the broad-scale adoption of modern agri-scientific methods that turns out to be little more than lousy stewardship (if not outright rape) of the resources entrusted to us. Having been raised in this setting, I must say, environmental activism or concern, traditionally, was pooh-poohed, and still is for the most part. So, when RFK Jr. said, “We don’t even consider ourselves as environmentalists anymore, we consider ourselves like free marketeers because we’re going out into the marketplace to catch the cheaters …”  I perked up not because I knew he would talk about pollution and corporate corner-cutting, but due to my wish to see small-scale responsible farming liberated from erroneous regulation that suppresses it. In other word, the "cheater" Big Food corporations who cozy up to regulators in order to amalgamate market access without jumping through the hurdles smaller producers face.But he had more to say, such as; A true free market promotes efficiency. And efficiency means the elimination of waste, and pollution is waste. A true free market would require us to properly value our natural resources, and it’s the undervaluation of those resources that causes us to use them wastefully. As I continued to listen, I realized that this is exactly where we are in food and farming. Food production, like many other business sectors overtaken by corporate interests, is atrociously wasteful of its resources—perhaps more wasteful than any other single industry. Here’s how; 1) In conventional agriculture, the soil is regarded as little more than an inert substance to support the plant, resulting in most of the soils of the world—and the foods they produce—being severely mineral deficient compared to a few decades ago. 2) Because of the undervaluation of the soil and the constant diminishing thereof, the plant is artificially “fed” with fossil derived fertilizers and “protected” via fossil derived herbicides and pesticides, all delivered via fossil dependent machines (conventional agriculture is the number one consumer of fossil fuels). This is simply not necessary to produce food, not to mention food produced outside the industrial model is bay and large more nutrient dense. 3) as the food industry amalgamates to fewer players, it becomes increasingly dependent on transportation (think cross-country and trans-continental transport using fossil fuels for conveyance as well as refrigeration, not to mention wear and tear on taxpayer funded infrastructure). Again, and abject waste of precious resources not used in more local food economies. 4) last but not least, as food companies get bigger and fewer, reliance on massive warehousing and longer-term storage results in an atrocious amount of perishable food wasted. Food that never even reached to retailer or consumer. Large purveyors are far less nimble and cannot respond to market demands quickly, resulting in massive lots of food passing the sell by date and ending up wasted in landfills. In Kennedy’s speech at UC Berkeley in 2016, he made this profound statement; “You show me a polluter, I’ll show you a subsidy. I’ll show you a fat cat using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market and force the public to pay his production cost. That’s what all pollution is. In a true free market, actors of the marketplace ought to pay the cost—the full cost—of bringing their product to market. Which includes the cost of cleaning up after yourself, which is a lesson we were all supposed to have learned in kindergarten. What polluters do is manipulate the political system, so that they don’t have to obey the rules of the market, and they can pass those costs on to the rest of us through pollution—by privatizing the commons.” While I couldn’t say it any better, allow me to expand on this—especially concerning food and farming. I find it interesting how he connects pollution and subsidies, because conventional farming is heavily subsidized. From direct payments per acre for six leading crops (corn, soy, cotton, canola, rice, and wheat) to crop insurance to the Conservation Reserve Program to Dairy Price Supports, and on and on. Interestingly enough, in this scenario the fat cats and the polluters are not necessarily the same people. Industrial farming is a major polluter of our soil, water and air, due to erosion and the runoff of agricultural chemicals into aquifers and streams. The now New Jersey sized dead zone in the Gulf of Mississippi is directly connected to synthetic nitrogen runoff from farmland in the Mississippi River watershed—which is the second-largest drainage area in North America. Measurable glyphosate in rainwater around the world is undoubtedly linked to the leading agricultural herbicide Roundup getting into the water cycle. Yet, commodity farms are essentially serfs in the agricultural system, and are paid dismal prices for their crops. Which is hardly the image we concoct of fat cats. However, the corporate buyers of these commodity crops reap the benefits of subsidies in the form of cheap commodities for processed foods and animal feeds, and lobby in Washington every five years to ensure that the maximum number of our tax dollars are allocated to the new Farm Bill. These are multi-national corporations like Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Tyson, and others, who cut corners via the political system in order to garner larger profits for themselves. How was it worded, again? “…manipulate the political system, so that they don’t have to obey the rules of the market, and they can pass those costs on to the rest of us through pollution…” This is not only true of publicly funded cleanup costs of waterways, etc., but also in the form of adulterated and less-than-nutritious food which is a direct contributor to what is now the sickest wealthy nation in the history of the world, the nation known as the United States of America. He went on to say; “Wherever you see large scale environmental injury, you will see the subversion of democracy, you’ll see the corruption of public officials, you’ll see the capture of the agencies that are supposed to be protecting us from pollution—they become sock puppets for the industries they’re supposed to regulate. You’ll see the erosion of the press—the compromise of the press. The disappearance of local control—of zoning laws or planning laws—and these kinds of local sovereignty is eliminated. And you’ll see the end of transparency. Because pollution is always illegal, and it violates the rules of democracy. It allows these powerful entities to steal and capture our public resources, because they have to be sneaky when they do it.” How very familiar we are with that! As I’ve said many times now, the county and state regulators who dog small businesses like us typically answer to the [publicly funded] federal agencies like USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), who, secretly, answer to Big Corporate Food. Big Corporate Food, by the way, is regulated—in theory—by the FDA and USDA. The same could be said about EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the corporate chemical giants such as Monsanto, Bayer, and the like.  What Kennedy so eloquently exposes is the fact that certain players in an industry are able to curry favor from politicians and bureaucrats via subsidies, which skews the marketplace unfairly in their favor. And, allows them an unfair advantage in the marketplace while society picks up the tab via tax dollars. Unfortunately, the curse of involuntary taxation is that we inadvertently support activities and industries we dislike but cannot keep our rightfully earned monies from being shifted to them via tax revenue. Some tend to view clean food as too expensive to buy. But I say it’s actually the most affordable. How so? All the costs are factored in, with none being hidden. Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illness, of crop subsidies, of foreign oil, of all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap. Small farms, by and large, are not eligible for government subsidy–nor do we want it. Therefore, we bear the true cost of bring our product to market. So, the choice is simple: You can buy honestly priced food that supports local, regenerative, sustainable farming. Or you can buy irresponsibly priced food wrecks the resources of the world and pads the pockets of multi-national giants. The beauty of true free market capitalism is that we are not forced to buy the product of anyone (if we are it’s not a free market). Maybe the best way to cripple polluters is to boycott their products. Perhaps society shares the blame more than we’re willing to admit. After all, who made McDonalds the fast-food king of the planet if it wasn’t eaters of fast-food? And that’s the View from the Country.    Quotes Worth Re-Quoting – “Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest.”― Michael Pollan “We’re a nation with an eating disorder, and we know it. The multiple maladies caused by bad eating are taking a dire toll on our health–most tragically for our kids, who are predicted to be this country’s first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. That alone is a stunning enough fact to give us pause. So is a government policy that advises us to eat more fruits and vegetables, while doling out subsidies not to fruit and vegetable farmers, but to commodity crops destined to become soda pop and cheap burgers. The Farm Bill, as of this writing, could aptly be called the Farm Kill, both for its effects on small farmers and for what it does to us, the consumers who are financing it.”― Barbara Kingsolver “The ninety-nine cent price of a fast-food hamburger simply doesn’t take account of that meal’s true cost–to soil, oil, public health, the public purse, etc., costs which are never charged directly to the consumer but, indirectly and invisibly, to the taxpayer (in the form of subsidies), the health care system (in the form of food-borne illnesses and obesity), and the environment (in the form of pollution), not to mention the welfare of the workers in the feedlot and the slaughterhouse and the welfare of the animals themselves.”― Michael Pollan

Healing

Where do we find a word that connotates more hope than “healing”? My dictionary defines it as; “the act or process of making or becoming whole, sound, or well”. Definitely encouraging. On the flip side, antonyms for healing include detrimental, harmful, damaging, deleterious, noxious, adverse, nocuous, disadvantageous and ill. All of which are words we use to describe things we do not hope for. Sometimes I dream about what could happen if the world—or even a majority thereof—were to embrace a concept. Today let’s do so with the notion of healing. In keeping with my belief that all things worth pursuing need a foundation, or must be grounded on something of substance, I’ll follow the path we’ve claimed to be on for years at Pasture to Fork. It’s been something of a mantra for us; healing the land, healing the people, healing the community, healing the culture. Hang on, because I might say things that could be deemed “controversial” in this day of sensitive speech tolerance. Healing the Land – How much of today’s food production aspires to heal the land? I can’t answer the question statistically, but it’s a tiny percentage. To be honest, I don’t think the bulk of food producers even recognize that we’re dealing with a vastly degraded resource that is our soil. Like wealth, soil is a resource that must be built slowly. Very few people “get rich quick”. Rather, the vast majority of wealth is built up slowly by consistently practicing good stewardship of the resources at hand. The same with soil. Similar to wealth, soil can also be eroded away very quickly under poor stewardship. Soil naturally desires to be covered 365 days of the year, and makes an effort to cover itself with what man calls weeds wherever it is bare. Annual plants, by nature, put their energy into creating seed (think wheat, corn, soybeans, etc.), in order to preserve the species through the next generation. In order to do so, the annual plant draws from the soil. Perennial plant, on the other hand, focuses its energy in developing roots to preserve itself for the future, and draws carbon from the air to build soil quality in order to strengthen its root system for regrowth the following year. Annual plants also require some form of tilling or disrupting the soil, which furthers erosion from wind and rain. Yet, here in America we have had food policy built around annual plants for over sixty years. Even the FDA, via its food pyramid, encourages America to make grains the basis of its diet. Perennial crops—especially when choregraphed with managed grazing animals—build soil. The soils that the early settlers in the midwestern American prairies had never seen the likes of, were built by herbivores (primarily bison) and the predators (wolves, coyotes, etc.) who herded them and moved them around. At Pasture to Fork, that’s what we aim to mimic (absent the predators, of course). Our goal? To heal the land in our care. “That ought to be our stewardship mandate, to create Edens wherever we go. That’s why humans are here. Our responsibility is to extend forgiveness into the landscape.” ~ Joel Salatin Healing the People – The most basic human desire is for food that feeds us, keeps us healthy, and tastes good. We’re also wired to select that which tastes better than, let’s say, the other. Sweet, for example, was an indication of nutrition when we were hunters and gatherers. Fat in our food animals (which is flavor), and sweetness in fruits and nuts. We still carry that within us, and Big Food beckons to that instinct using flavor enhancers and artificial sweeteners. Truth be known, the eater cannot be healthier than the food it eats. Also, not only are we what we eat, but what our food animals eat. Much can be learned by looking at history. And it’s surprising how few years we need to go back until we find that beef animals were raised on grass, chickens free ranged, pigs were raised outdoors, and the distance between the farm and the eater was much shorter. And, people were healthier. Go back fifty years, and many well-known diseases of today were unknown or little known. While we’re a tiny farm in today’s terms, our goal is to provide healing foods to the people who desire them in our little corner of the world. While we do not comply with the local food police’s bidding for food “safety”, we stand for integrity in food production, truth in labeling, and full transparency overall. And that, we believe, is the test healing foods must pass. Healing the Community – Most of us know that the regional community—neighbors socializing with neighbors—has largely fragmented in recent decades. While other factors played their part, I suggest this is due in part to the food culture falling apart. When the food available in our locality comes from the same nameless faceless corporation as anywhere else in the country, the glue holding community together is gone. Joel Salatin once said “The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” While this quote speaks of a time when many—if not most—folks raised at least a portion of their own food, it also suggests that the food was locally grown. And it was. There was the local baker, local dairy, and the local butcher. Not anymore. Actually, this came as a one-two punch to small-town America. One, thanks to corporate distributors who now mass dispense neatly packaged and artificially preserved food all over the USA, many of these mom-and-pop outlets are gone. Two, the family farms who supplied the local artisans with raw farm commodities lost their market and were either pushed into demise or had to turn to the corporate buyers who set their own price and conditions under which the farm must submit or die. As it now stands, the farms who remain grow commodity crops for Cargill (which by the way, is the largest privately owned corporation in the world), dairy for DFA (Dairy Farmers of America), or meat for Tyson, Purdue, or JBS. Meanwhile, most of the food is retailed by the likes of Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Giant. Healing foods cannot be mass produced. Because of the care that goes into creating them, they primarily come from various small farms all over the nation and world. While there are farms doing what we do who are much larger than we are, there are no corporate conglomerates offering truly healing foods. Even the organic sector is amalgamating to fewer and fewer players, which I suggest is the primary driver behind erosion of integrity in mainstream organic foods. I submit that if we returned to more of a local and regional food culture, we would regain a stronger community structure as well. Neighbors patronizing neighbors has yet always woven the fabric of community and is far more sustainable than dependence on Amazon or ButcherBox. When any given locality has no more than a three-day food supply available before another truck needs to roll in, and each household has, at best, a week’s supply on hand, what happens when that truck, for any reason, cannot come?  “Food security is not in the supermarket. It’s not in the government. It’s not at the emergency services division. True food security is the historical normalcy of packing it in during the abundant times, building that in-house larder, and resting easy knowing that our little ones are not dependent on next week’s farmers’ market or the electronic cashiers at the supermarket.” ― Joel Salatin Healing the Culture – Many of us are somewhat vexed over the moral and cultural fall-out of today’s society. While there are many things influencing this, perhaps western society has become too secular in its lifestyle, too disconnected from its ecological umbilical. While it’s easy to say our piece about the state of society—especially post-Covid, it’s always harder align our actions with our words. One of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson is “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” This can come in ways we don’t think about. Such as this line from Joel Salatin; “Erosion steals from my neighbor and my community. It impoverishes everyone. A food and farm system that encourages erosion is a direct assault on our neighbors and a direct assault on God’s equity. Christians routinely lament an erosion of morality, but then patronize food that erodes the earth. How can we possibly steward morality if we can’t even steward our dinner plate? We Christians extol the virtue of charity toward those less fortunate, but often help them with food that exemplifies greed and avarice.” That, my friends, should shock us out of our comfort zone. We all have a responsibility. Every action has a direct and adverse reaction. Interestingly, no consumer item has the ability to become part of us like food does. It literally becomes flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. And, the food culture we’re surrounded with seeps into our brains and thought pattern in subtle ways that are then expressed in other areas of life. For example, since adopting a “do no harm” mentality in our vocation as farmers, I know I carry that mentality into other areas of my life as well. At the risk of wearying you of him, I’ll give you another Joel Salatin quote that speaks to this; “Intuitively we all know that nothing operates most efficiently at full throttle. Is it any wonder that a food system predicated on faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper would create an ignorant, duplicitous, harried, obese citizenry? A culture’s people carry in their heads and physiques the manifestation of the food system’s objectives.” The Healer – As I mentioned, at Pasture to Fork, we press for healing; the land, the people, the community, the culture. However, this primarily addresses the physical and the obvious. But most of us also desire emotional and spiritual healing from time to time. For that I can only recommend the one Healer who, when life presses heavy around us and we feel like a child who desires a mother’s warm embrace, His words still ring down through the ages and invite us to Him for healing; Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. KJB Matthew 11:28-30  And that’s the View from the Country.

Courage in a Time of Fear

A time of uncertainty such as the one we’re in always brings out the best and worst of one’s true character, as well as what we prioritize. Many of us know nothing but a life of relative ease. True, we all have our challenges, but we know little of genuine hunger, abject poverty, or ongoing inadequacy of basic needs. This is, I feel, the reason why society responds in panic to the uncertainty we find ourselves in—because we have little experience to compare this unknown phenomenon to. The typical human response to our situation—and perhaps we’re steeped in this direction—is desire to place blame or point fingers. However, while there may or may not be individuals who are liable in this, the action in itself is futile because it doesn’t change the position we’re in and placing blame usually leads to a victim mentality—or perhaps stems from it. Considering yourself a victim promotes both fear and hopelessness, which in turn causes the human brain to introvert. The result is unsound, uninformed decision making (such as unrestrained hoarding of toilet paper). In his timeless bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presents the benefit of proactivity. He defines proactivity as more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. Feelings are secondary to values. I almost wish I could impart all he has to say in his chapter; The 1st Habit; Be Proactive, because there’s so much that’s applicable to the current state of affairs. He also writes about our circle of influence as compared to our circle of concern. Given the current shutdown and viral threat, we’re all concerned about how it will affect our lives, families, and businesses. However, if we focus on our circle of concern, it grows while our circle of influence shrinks, and vice versa. He depicts it like this; As we look at the concerns in our lives, it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no real control and others that we can do something about. We could identify the concerns in the latter group as being within our circle of influence. Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase. Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control. Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization. The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they could do something about, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink. As long as we’re working in our circle of concern, we empower the things in it to control us. We aren’t taking the proactive initiative necessary to effect positive change. Right now many of us are being forced to rethink and reevaluate the level of normalcy we were accustomed to, and the question begs as to what you and I can do to effect hope and positive change amid the fear and frenzy. To that extent I suggest. Take the chaos propagated by the mainstream media—as well as social media, with a grain of salt, and seek wisdom and common sense. There’s a lot of opinion passing and spreading of conspiracy theories—none of which we know whether they are true or not. Remain realistic but avoid negativity.If you haven’t done so already, prepare an emergency fund large enough to provide for several months of no income. Honestly, I speak to myself on this subject, and realize it’s not an easy thing. But prepping for crisis should come as naturally as night following day, and that the average American can’t even handle a 2-week bobble in pay shows our luxurious free-for-all living in recent decades. We’re the 3rd and 4th generations to live in prosperous times, and it has conditioned us into an easy-come-easy-go mentality.Put real effort into strengthening personal immunity, which is perhaps your greatest weapon against illness.  It’s far more important than social distancing, hand sanitizing, or wearing a mask. Taking charge of your personal immunity program should be front and center.  That means not doing the things that compromise it, and doing the things that enhance it. This includes avoiding stress (forgiving, avoiding vengeance and hate– including political); getting enough sleep (everyone should be in bed by 10 p.m.); a good diet—avoid junk food; eat plenty of meat and poultry and eggs from a trustworthy source (sorry, I couldn’t resist); exercise; stay hydrated.Build a domestic larder, which allows you to eat better, cheaper, and more efficiently. Laying by is what all of our grandparents did; it was just part of the culture.  Now we expect Costco to do it for us, only to be disappointed when their stock quickly runs out in a period of uncertainty.  If this whole pandemic does nothing more than re-institute the value of the in-home larder and make us have more consideration for our buying habits, it will be well worth it.If you’re off work or working limited hours, invest in personal development. Learn how to cook or preserve food so you can eat healthier while spending less. If you have children, educate yourself on the subjects of homeschooling, childhood vaccination, herbal medicine, and home births, which will allow you to make informed choices now and, in the future, as well as foster resilience in yourself and your family. Read books on personal growth such as 7 Habits by Stephen Covey and Good to Great by Jim Collins. Take your children for a walk in a natural area. Watch the sunrise or sunset and appreciate the unchanging aspects of nature. Essentially, limit your screen time and news exposure, and do something positive with your hands and mind. It will do wonders to minimize worry and stress tied to our uncertain circumstances.Last but not least, invest in the timeless qualities of faith, hope, and love. “And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” ~Deuteronomy 31:8. Even now, we have so much to be grateful for, and a lot to hope for. We have family members to love, and a God who cares for us and our situation. Above all, let’s remember that regardless of the circumstances around us, no one owns our thoughts or mental capacity without our consent. If we allow ourselves to be consumed by the fear and hysteria that seemingly prevails because of a mere virus, we permit outside influences to direct us. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Until next time, this is The View from the Country. Quotes Worth Re-Quoting – “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela “Courage is the greatest of all virtues, because if you haven’t courage, you may not have an opportunity to use any of the others.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Additional Corona Thoughts

Just a few additional calming thoughts on the corona scare again. I’m not superstitious but am making an attempt to keep things in perspective and still be fully realistic on this Friday the 13th. Here goes… To be honest, I have a general distrust of most info coming out of major national news channels, simply because of their reputation for partial truths, propaganda, and partisan partiality. I’m not necessarily a Trump supporter, but neither do I approve of our largely liberal news media and am quite skeptical that this “pandemic” isn’t overwrought purely for political purposes. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time politics manufactured or embellished an event to sway public opinion. Part of the reason I feel this way is because the majority of information being put out there comes from major news channels, as well as the CDC and WHO. In most cases, balanced perspective or truth is not found at the center of the issue, but is at the fringes or edges, away from the center of attention.Everyone is talking about it being highly contagious, and that may be true, but contagion is 100% predicated on the germ theory, which prevails in modern medicine. However, what we haven’t been taught is that there is always a terrain in which germs thrive or die. This was first promoted in 19th century France. Louis Pasteur (inventor of pasteurization) advocated the notion of germs as the cause of disease, while another French scientist named Antoine Bechamp promoted a conflicting theory known as the “cellular theory” or “terrain theory” of disease. Bechamp’s argument was that these germs that Pasteur was so terrified of were opportunistic in nature. This caused quite a controversy, and the two men were bitter foes.To prevent illness, Bechamp advocated not the killing of germs but the cultivation of health through diet, hygiene, and healthy lifestyle practices such as fresh air, exercise, adequate hydration, a good diet, etc. The idea is that if the person has a strong immune system and good tissue quality (or “terrain” as Bechamp called it), the germs will not manifest in the person, and they will have good health. It is only when their health starts to decline (due to personal neglect and poor lifestyle choices) that they become victim to infections.To treat illness, Bechamp’s cellular theory also applied. Bechamp was less concerned with killing the infection and focused more on restoring the health of the patient’s body through healthy lifestyle choices and proper immune support. Bechamp saw the infection as a footnote to the state of illness and not the primary cause. As the person restored health through diet, hygiene, and detoxification the infection went away on its own–without needing measures to kill it.Pasteur and Bechamp had a long and often bitter rivalry regarding who was right about the true cause of illness. Ultimately Pasteur’s ideas were accepted by society and Bechamp was pretty much forgotten. The practice of Western medicine is based on Pasteur’s germ phobia which gives rise to the use of vaccinations, antibiotics, and other anti-microbials.The irony is that towards the end of his life, Pasteur renounced the germ theory and admitted that Bechamp was right all along. History has it that his last words on his death bed were “The microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.” In the 1920’s medical historians also discovered that most of Pasteur’s theories were plagiarized from Bechamp’s early research work.I unashamedly embrace the terrain theory, although most of western society has been taught to believe the germ theory. I have seen too many examples both as a caretaker of animals and an observer of human health to second guess it. In observing the animals in my care I have often noticed afflictions in one individual when the majority are free of it. This is due to terrain. The one had weaknesses that allowed opportunistic disease to proliferate. Germs are everywhere and even exist inside of us in a symbiotic relationship. Like Bechamp noticed in his research, it is only when the tissue of the host becomes damaged or compromised that these germs begin to manifest as a prevailing symptom (not cause) of disease.Because of my beliefs in the terrain, I doubt the belief that no natural immunity exists. Sure, it’s supposedly a new virus, but have the thousands who recovered all been hospitalized and on antibiotics? Doubtfully. Corona is, yes, believed to be highly contagious, but the media and modern medicine–due to adherence to the germ theory–regard everyone as susceptible with no regard to the human immune system’s ability to ward off illness, yes, even new strains. The dire prediction of hospitals overflowing and medical professionals having to make the decision of who gets oxygen and who dies is all based on the theory that everyone who comes in contact with the virus will succumb to it. In the mid-90’s when the UK eradicated thousands of cows and sheep due to mad cow disease, it too, was said to have no natural immunity. However, not all farm animals contracted the disease. In fact, Newman Turner–a farmer who strongly adhered to natural farming and animal husbandry practices–invited the government to expose his cows to the disease. He wanted to prove that immunity existed, and that the disease was due to poor animal husbandry practices. Of course they refused, but he felt sure–as do I–that lack of immunity is a physical health (terrain) issue rather than a new germ strain.I realize the terrain in many Americans is likely compromised due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, but this is why I am passionate about advising people to not panic. When in a panic people don’t think clearly, and there are measures–many measures–we can take to strengthen our immune systems and protect ourselves. For example, numerous reports are swirling around of things as simple as high doses of Vitamin C and Elberberry juice knock out coronavirus. But as always, folks are already pointing fingers at our president and his administration because of the way they handle things. It seems to be the American way now, regardless of what comes and how it’s handled, there will always be people who bash the current administration for not “saving” us. This is salvation-by-legislation thinking, and it causes us to increasingly lose our freedoms because we look to government to “save” us. If coronavirus comes anywhere close to being the pandemic it’s predicted to be, be assured, we’ll see more regulation become mandatory in the name of healthcare, national security, food safety, etc. Being of libertarian inclination, that bothers me.With all this being said, we still don’t know if corona is the threat it’s forecast to be. And that’s where the fear and paranoia comes in, in not knowing. This is why society is practically going crazy, because the media panders it up hour by hour, minute by minute, and no one knows how bad it will be. Plus, there is so little actual information available on real-life cases or to what extent the patients suffer. The news has little to say of the 68,000 who recovered from the virus, which again, gives me reason to think it’s played up for a larger agenda. If Americans were given a balanced perspective on recovery rates, real-life patient experiences, how many hospitalizations occurred, and how it feels when one contracts the virus, the public reaction would likely be much more sane. But as it is, most of what we hear and see in the news is based on rising confirmed cases and number of deaths, mixed in with global numbers (for effect), and in general, gloom and doom, and we gullible Americans suck it up. This results in widespread fear and panic, which I suspect is the intent of the “larger agenda” behind this. Perhaps I have too dour an attitude toward mainstream media and our government, but for what it’s worth, it’s The View from the Country. Quote Worth Re-Quoting –“I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that does not have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular.”  ~ E. B. White

Coronavirus - from a calm perspective

News, around the world, has been focused on the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.   Therefore, amid the fear and frenzy, let’s look at a different perspective.   Although serious in nature, I think we can agree the mainstream media has blown this thing way out of proportion.   Unfortunately, the reason for some of this seems to be political in nature. Although I do not claim to know what it is, I don’t doubt the existence of a political agenda given the feverish frenzy the media applies to the subject.It looks as though new cases of COVID-19 have peaked in China and are now decreasing—following the classic bell curve.   Recoveries continue to increase.   The same thing will eventually take place in other parts of the world.   COVID-19, like all flu bugs, likes cold weather.   Therefore, as the weather warms up in the northern hemisphere, we should see fewer and fewer new cases.Isn’t it amazing what society chooses to panic about?  We don’t panic about 50,000 people being killed by drunk drivers.  We don’t panic about parents still feeding their kids Lucky Charms and Cheerios even in the face of rising diabetes.  We’re not overly concerned about 56,000 people dying from the influenza or flu-like illness every year. We don’t feel at risk because approximately 23,000 Americans die from antibiotic resistant infections annually.Interestingly, all the experts are scrambling for a vaccine to solve it.  Why don’t we have a national effort to boost everyone’s immune system?  This might be a good time to start such a campaign..In this panic, every other person on the planet becomes an enemy. That’s a shame and has dire consequences.  I suggest that rather than fearing every other person on the planet, canceling fellowship, and huddling in hermit life until a vaccine is discovered, how about we commit ourselves as a society to eat healthy and opt for a lower stress lifestyle, so we have a collectively better immune system?  How about being intentional in how we eat, recreate, entertain, and meditate? What we ponder certainly influences our outlook on life.In the big scheme of things to fear, coronavirus doesn’t have the numbers to scare.  The effect is completely disproportional to the actual numbers.  But when the media whips people into a frenzy with minute-by-minute paranoia pandering, people go wonky.  Perhaps the best cure for the coronavirus is to shut off the news.To be honest, the fear and panic portrayed by the populace–as well as by public institutions who shut down activities, classes, etc.–is perhaps of greater concern than the virus itself. To me, the most sensible advice of the day is to CALM DOWN and look at the situation realistically. Yes, the virus is highly contagious, but as of now there are only two confirmed cases in the state of Pennsylvania. Plus, even Google puts the virus in perspective with its statement of; Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is characterized by mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. Illness can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.  How does this differ from common influenza? And that’s the View from the Country.P.S. Portions of this post were adapted by permission from Joel Salatin’s blog The Lunatic Farmer. Click here to read his latest post on the Coronavirus phenomenon. Be assured, it’s balanced, outside-the-box, and worth reading. Quote Worth Re-Quoting –“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”  ~Thomas Edison