Nutrition Wonderland is taking to the road this Fall to cover the newest developments in the worlds of integrative medicine, nutrition and sustainable agriculture. Below is the official Google Map of our journey – it is an interactive map so feel free to zoom in and check out the whole path.

View Nutrition Wonderland’s Tour of America – 2009 in a larger map

We are beginning our survey out in Los Angeles on the West Coast in late September and continue across the United States’ desert southwest into Texas by early October, up through America’s breadbasket in the Great Plains in time for Halloween, examine the hotbed of organic agriculture in the upper Midwest and then head back towards the East Coast and Washington, DC by mid-late November. We should cover roughly 4,000 miles (6K/km) and talk with numerous people and organizations at the forefront of the radical changes going on in medicine and agriculture. If you follow our coverage the whole way, you will begin to see the synergies between the fields and the new way forward they are lighting.

From Two, Comes One

One factor in deciding to chronicle where ‘things‘ are with these fields at this particular time has to do with a recent evolution in the approach opinion leaders and policy makers are starting to adopt. Sustainable agriculture blog Civil Eats recently advocated for health care reform while The Integrative Medicine Foundation suggests implementing a sustainable agriculture component as a necessary part of establishing better health care in sub-Saharan Africa. These are not isolated incidents. Many of our stories have been outlining a similar vision, as we have described efforts to reform health care into a proactive system and the ways in which nutrients and diet impact diseases like autism.

It would appear that the worlds of sustainable agriculture and integrative medicine have started, ever so slowly, to merge.

The driving force behind this synergy has been the growing awareness that we have a severely broken food system in the United States – and it is a major reason our health care system costs dwarf that of any other industrialized nation on earth. Recent movies like Food Inc and King Corn have exposed the public to the underbelly of industrial agriculture but the connections between compromised growing methods and obesity rates or pesticides and birth defects are just now emerging amongst the public.

Many proponents of one field inevitably come to see the other as advocating a similar role call of changes. Reductions in harmful agricultural chemicals that effect reproductive health, reform of agricultural and health care insurance incentive structures, limiting large corporate agribusiness and pharmaceutical interests and developing more localized farmers and practitioners networks underscore the overlap between these fields.

And this development is a logical, even necessary trend. Traditional fields of agriculture and medicine are evolving to better address growing populations that continue to exist on a planet of finite resources. With time, these cutting edge developments will be folded into the mainstream. For now though, these developments are very much new and represent a still premature movement. How they evolve is unknown but we hope to give you a much clearer insight into how they will increasingly combine to represent a new approach to how we live on the planet.

What We Are Doing

Our journey aims to survey some of the newest developments in both fields, highlighting how the advancement of both sustainable agriculture and integrative medicine will bring all of us closer to the goal of healthier people on a healthier planet. Below is a list of organizations, locations and people we are in the process of organizing for our trip:

  • Leafy Greens Marketing Association – Sacramento, CA
  • Farms Reach – San Francisco, CA
  • Frank Ford, founder of Arrowhead Mills – Irvine, CA
  • Desert Agriculture – Blythe, CA
  • University of Arizona – Integrative Medicine Center – Tuscon, AZ
  • Gallup Indian Medical Center – Gallup, NM
  • Sunstone Herb Farm – Albuquerque, NM
  • Santa Fe Tree Farm – Santa Fe, NM
  • Plano Community Garden – Plano, TX
  • Food Democracy Now – Clear Lake, IA
  • Iowa State University Sustainable Agriculture Program – Ames, IA
  • Organic Valley Foods – LaFarge, WI
  • Growing Power – Chicago, IL
  • Rodale Institute – Kutztwon, PA

This is just the preliminary list and it will constantly be updated so check back in regularly. If you are involved in any of these fields and find yourself geographically close to the path we are blazing, drop us a line at [email protected] and we will do our best to drop in to see you and learn about what you are doing.