Gardening: Food as Medicine

By Evan Folds

Hippocrates famously stated, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Seems obvious, but we have become so disconnected from what we eat that we can go weeks, even years, without eating food delivered as Nature intended. The longer food is stored off of the vine the less nutritious it becomes. Did you know that the apples you purchase at the grocery store are over a year old?

In the words of the great Rudolf Steiner, food plants no longer contain the forces people need to carry their will into action. And we see this collective lack of will everywhere today in our politics, on the news and under our proverbial skin.

Consider that up until 100 years ago all food was alive and intact, unadulterated by the methods of madness devised by modern food science. Our ability to engineer food amounts to a selfish effort of tricking ourselves into believing something is good for us. For instance, high fructose corn syrup is cheap and can make almost anything taste good, but it is increasingly linked to diabetes and heart disease.

Empty food makes empty people. Eating junk food from fast food “restaurants” is no different than using budget synthetic fertilizers purchased at Big Box stores in the garden. They both create obesity, disease and pest infestations. The parallels are life.

A perfect example of this modern food emptiness is “juice.” Real juice cannot survive the trip from the grower to the supermarket shelf without spoiling. In order to withstand the logistics of our socioeconomic arrangement juice must be irradiated, or pasteurized, which happens to defeat much of the purpose of the original natural nourishment. This doesn’t make pasteurized juice bad, just not as good as it should be.

The sugar water that results from orange juice pasteurization is a tasteless colorless liquid that is stored in huge holding tanks until it is re-engineered to specific taste and texture by the familiar orange juice corporations. They even hire perfume companies to formulate flavor based on market studies, which is why each brand has its distinct taste and feel. Sorry to burst your breakfast bubble; read the book Squeezed by Alissa Hamilton.

The worst part is that the FDA allows orange juice companies to add a manufactured molecule called ascorbic acid that mimics the chemical structure of Vitamin C into orange juice so they can claim 100% of your recommended daily dose.

Food has been diluted and we are attempting to use artificial means of sustaining our health that do not work. The founder of the agricultural publication ACRES USA Charles Walters called this “toxic rescue chemistry.”

Our approach to how we nourish ourselves is not nourishing us. Researchers have known since the 1940s that an emphasis on empty artificial fertilizers results in cheaper food, but our economic system is driven by profit, volume and shelf life, not qualitative or nutritional value. It’s a race to the bottom line.

This is exacerbated by illogical government subsidies that encourage farmers to grow food that sells for less than it costs for them to grow it. And on top of that, the subsidies are paid towards the least nutritious crops mostly to corporations who are not even farmers.

There is plenty of data to back this up. For instance, the calcium content in broccoli has dropped from 12.9 milligrams dry weight in 1950 to only 4.4 milligrams in 2003 per USDA data.

Minerals and amino acids have declined by more than 30 percent in wheat developed over the past 100 years. Not to mention the estimated 50 percent increase in gluten protein that is creating massive intolerances and celiac disease.

This loss of nourishment is a result of growing plants for the wrong reasons. But it’s easy to get it back by seeking out living foods like wheatgrass or sprouts, joining a community supported agriculture program, visiting a farmers market or growing a home garden so that you can get consistent living foods in your diet.

The soil must be alive in order to produce food plants that support life. Ask your farmer about their growing methods – be interested in your food. Make purchasing decisions based on that which reinforces your ideal. And, above all, grow as much of your own food as you can.

Everyone knows that we are what we eat. So it’s time that we get our hands dirty, use our buying power and act like it. Be a farmer, start a garden.


Evan Folds is the founder and president of Progressive Gardens (, a retail gardening store specializing in hydroponic and organic gardening techniques.

And Progressive Farms (, the global distributor of the Vortex Brewer® compost tea system, whose focus is growing healthy people, plants & planet!

He has a BS in Biology and a degree in Religion from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and resides with his wife and two children in Wilmington, NC.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *