Synopses & Reviews
What can good farming teach us about nurturing ourselves?
Family physician Daphne Miller long suspected that farming and medicine were intimately linked. Increasingly disillusioned by mainstream medicine's mechanistic approach to healing and fascinated by the farming revolution that is changing the way we think about our relationship to the earth, Miller left her medical office and traveled to seven innovative family farms around the country, on a quest to discover the hidden connections between how we care for our bodies and how we grow our food. Farmacology, the remarkable book that emerged from her travels, offers us a compelling new vision for sustainable health and healing — and a wealth of farm-to-body lessons with immense value in our daily lives.
Miller begins her journey with a pilgrimage to the Kentucky homestead of renowned author and farming visionary Wendell Berry. Over the course of the following year, she travels to a biodynamic farm in Washington state, a ranch in the Ozarks, two chicken farms in Arkansas, a winery in California, a community garden in the Bronx, and finally an aromatic herb farm back in Washington. While learning from forward-thinking farmers, Miller explores such compelling questions as:
- What can rejuvenating depleted soil teach us about rejuvenating ourselves?
- How can a grazing system on a ranch offer valuable insights into raising resilient children?
- What can two laying-hen farms teach us about stress management?
- How do vineyard pest-management strategies reveal a radically new approach to cancer care?
- What are the unexpected ways that urban agriculture can transform the health of a community?
- How can an aromatic herb farm unlock the secret to sustainable beauty?
Throughout, Miller seeks out the perspectives of noted biomedical scientists and artfully weaves in their insights and research, along with stories from her own medical practice. The result is a profound new approach to healing, combined with practical advice for how to treat disease and maintain wellness.
“What does the practice of sustainable agriculture have to teach modern medicine? What are the links between soil health and the health of the people who eat from that soil?….A highly original and compelling work of exploration with large implications for our understanding of health.” Michael Pollan
“Farmacology…explains how sustainable farms serve as a model for a healthy human body….Soil is the star of this story. Its vigor is clearly connected to the vitality of the plants, animals, and human beings it supports….Think like a farmer, and you'll likely cultivate better personal health.” Booklist
In Farmacology, practicing family physician and renowned nutrition explorer Daphne Miller brings us beyond the simple concept of "food as medicine" and introduces us to the critical idea that it's the farm where that food is grown that offers us the real medicine.
By venturing out of her clinic and spending time on seven family farms, Miller uncovers all the aspects of farming--from seed choice to soil management--that have a direct and powerful impact on our health. Bridging the traditional divide between agriculture and medicine, Miller shares lessons learned from inspiring farmers and biomedical researchers and artfully weaves their insights and discoveries, along with stories from her patients, into the narrative. The result is a compelling new vision for sustainable healing and a treasure trove of farm-to-body lessons that have immense value in our daily lives.
In Farmacology you will meet:
- a vegetable farmer in Washington State who shows us how the principles he uses to rejuvenate his soil apply just as well to our own bodies. Here we also discover the direct links between healthy soil and healthy humans.
- a beef farmer in Missouri who shows how a holistic cattle-grazing method can grow resilient calves and resilient children.
- an egg farmer in Arkansas who introduces us to the counterintuitive idea that stress can keep us productive and healthy. We discover why the stressors associated with a pasture-based farming system are beneficial to animals and humans while the duress of factory farming can make us ill.
- a vintner in Sonoma, California, who reveals the principles of Integrated Pest Management and helps us understand how this gentler approach to controlling unwanted bugs and weeds might be used to treat invasive cancers in humans.
- a farmer in the Bronx who shows us how a network of gardens offers health benefits that extend far beyond the nutrient value of the fruits and vegetables grown in the raised beds. For example, did you know that urban farming can lower the incidence of alcoholism and crime?
- finally, an aromatic herb farmer in Washington State who teaches us about the secret chemical messages we exchange with plants--messages that can affect our mood and even keep us looking youthful.
In each chapter, Farmacology reveals the surprising ways that the ecology of our body and the ecology of our farms are intimately linked. This is a paradigm-changing adventure that has huge implications for our personal health and the health of the planet.
In Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing,
Daphne Miller, practicing physician and author of The Jungle Effect
, draws from the lessons of organic farming to offer a fascinating and completely novel approach to staying well and preventing disease.
What can farming teach a family doctor about the art and science of medicine? Nothing less than a revolutionary new way of thinking about health and well-being — an approach to wellness, holistic healing, and sustainable good health.
Spending time with a diverse group of farmers committed to sustainable agriculture, Dr. Miller acquired a new understanding of good health, practices she applies to her patients suffering common modern maladies, from allergies, diabetes, and cancer, to ADHD, infertility, and heart disease.
About the Author
Daphne Miller, M.D., is a practicing physician, author, and professor of family medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. For the past decade, her writing and teaching has explored the frontier between biomedicine and the natural world. Her widely acclaimed first book, The Jungle Effect, chronicles her nutrition adventures as she travels to traditional communities around the globe. A contributing columnist to the Washington Post as well as other newspapers and magazines, Miller holds a medical degree from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from Brown University. She lives and gardens in Berkeley, California, with the architect Ross Levy, their two teenagers, a dog, and a cat.