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Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up Hardcover – April 16, 2013
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Farmacology is grounded in the principle that human health is deeply linked to agriculture. Family physician Miller explains how sustainable farms serve as a model for a healthy human body: everything is interdependent and balance is paramount. She visits a Sonoma vineyard where the winery’s system of integrative pest management offers a paradigm for understanding and treating cancer. Her tour of two chicken farms in Arkansas teaches valuable lessons about stress in poultry and people. A trip to a garden in the Bronx demonstrates the power of preventive medicine derived from urban farming. Excursions to an aromatic-herb farm, Ozark cattle-raising ranch, and biodynamic farm in Washington offer additional parallels between farming and well-being. Farmacology is infused with clinical tales of Miller’s patients and discussions with researchers. Make no mistake: soil is the star of this story. Its vigor is clearly connected to the vitality of the plants, animals, and human beings it supports. Don’t take dirt (and its worms, pebbles, and ubiquitous microorganisms) for granted. Think like a farmer, and you’ll likely cultivate better personal health. --Tony Miksanek
“A vibrant and important book. It is about so much more than just personal well-being; it is about the health of our food, our farms and farmers—the entire planet.” (Alice Waters)
“Farm as medicine. A must-read for anyone who cares about their health.” (Mark Bittman)
“Revealing and inspiring...a rewarding read.” (Dr. Andrew Weil, author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and True Food)
“In Farmacology, Daphne Miller expands the field of medicine from the classical boundaries of the symptom-cure concept toward a more complex and holistic approach that takes into account the tight balance between Man and Nature.” (Carlo Petrini, founder of the International Slow Food Movement)
“An eloquent call for better systems of sustainable agriculture and humanistic health care. . .a fresh, original, and utterly charming book.” (Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat)
“[Daphne Miller is] such a fearless, intelligent, and charming guide on the food-filled journey between medical and ecological sciences that by the end of Farmacology you won’t just think that medical ecology is fascinating—you’ll wonder how we managed to live without it for so long.” (Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved)
“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.” (@michaelpollan)
Miller’s journey begins in serendipity and remains alive to surprise…[The] web of associations…will surprise even those [who know] that healthy soils make for healthy people. It’s startling to think that few if any doctor-authors have attempted this hybrid of field work…patient case histories…and conversations with scientists. (Acres U.S.A.)
“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)
San Francisco Chronicle bestseller (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Miller steps outside medicine’s orthodoxy to explore the connection between sustainable farming and healthy living…Working hands-on and also picking the brains of the farms’ operators, [she] observed farmers taking a holistic…approach…that she has found to be too often missing in the modern practice of medicine.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Sustainable agriculture and holistic medical practice find each other as soul mates…The issues raised deal with profound economic, social and cultural dilemmas…and Miller’s hearty, personable writing style makes it a good read for travelers, lovers of character studies and medical and farming professionals alike.” (Lou Fancher, Mercury News)
Some of Miller’s discoveries are simple, others groundbreaking, but all feel important for their medical implications as well as for what they can teach us about our connection to other living creatures... Miller... delves deep into the science, translating dense medical text into practical information. (Orion Magazine)
“It’s alternative living in a big way, whether you’re the field, the cow, the cultivated insect, or the patient of a type of physician [Miller] calls “medical ecologists.” Miller had fun, writes exuberantly, and wants to infect us in the best way possible with the spirit of these places.” (Harvard Medicine Magazine)
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Top Customer Reviews
The only reason I dropped it to 4 stars was to warn those that haven't done any research on food, gardening, or even organic gardening and how it affects our health may find it a tad too technical. I had some problems grasping a few of the ideas. But then again that's why I liked it so much. It made me want to go out and find more answers when I had questions.
I definitely agree with the reviews that hope that more in the medical community will read and heed the advice in this book!
To be fair I did pick this up on a phenomenal sale on Amazon for $1.99. I'm not sure if I would have gambled on it at full price. But I would have missed out tremendously if I hadn't!
I was inspired to read Farmacology because, among the several farmers Miller traveled across the country to learn from in researching her book, she visited with the wonderful farmers Dawnnell and Cody Holmes, from whom I get my raw milk, eggs, goat cheese, chicken, beef, pork, and lamb. So I have, in a (very small) sense, an insider's perspective: Miller's representation of the Holmes ranch and Cody and Dawnnell's principles of soil, vegetation, and animal management is spot-on, so I can assume she did the same for the other farmers she visited.
Miller makes a strong case for the intricate connections between human health and sustainable farming--and, by implication, the alternative: the connections between the diseases that plague contemporary Americans (obesity, cancer, diabetes, gut illnesses, heart disease, and so on) and conventional farming. But I want to be clear: the book is NOT a tirade against the ills of industrial, mono-cropping, agribusiness. Rather, it is a close study of how some farmers are changing their approaches to produce healthier soil and from that soil healthier foods and other products for human consumption and, thus, healthier humans. But it is also more than that: Miller wanted to discover whether the ways these farmers treat their land and its inhabitants (microbes, insects, plants, birds, non-human and human animals) could tell her something about how to treat the patients in her medical practice. What she learns is fascinating but also, if you think about it, commonsensical: as these farmers take a holistic, integrated approach to, for example, pest management that is, of course, healthier but also is less expensive and more effective than conventional approaches, so might such a holistic, integrated approach to human disease management reap similar benefits and rewards.
Farmacology is both educational and inspirational. Highly recommended!