Rediscovering Our Lost “Farmacy”, Oct 6

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Speaker: Daphne Miller, MD.

What protective health factors are lost when moving from an acroecological to an industrial model of agriculture? It is well documented that populations experience a sharp increase in the prevalence of most chronic diseases – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, cancer and depression – when they abandon a traditional lifestyle in favor of a more industrial one. While many environmental and behavioral factors are responsible for this phenomenon, research shows that the nutrition transition is an independent and significant contributor. To better understand this dietary transition, most investigations have focused on identifying the aspects of the Western diet that are potential promoters of disease such as ready access to fast food and processed food. By contrast, this talk focuses on understanding the agricultural systems underlying the nutrition transition and exploring what protective dietary factors are lost when individuals are no longer connected to a traditional way of farming based on agroecological principles. The protective benefits of agroecology will be discussed in four domains: 1) dietary diversity, 2) microbial diversity 3) medicinal foods, and 4) dietary behaviors.

Daphne Miller is a practicing family physician, author, and Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Her writings and profiles can be found in many publications including the Washington Post, the New York Times, Vogue, Orion Magazine, Yes! Magazine, Food and Wine, The Guardian UK and Harvard Medical Magazine. She is author of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World, Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You. and Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up. She is currently a Fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute.