Let's not start at the beginning. Let's start now. "I'm at as mad as hell and not going to take this anymore." Hard to believe this was the memorable line from the movie NETWORK in 1976.
Well, it somewhat holds true for me when I think of what has happened to our food and healthcare systems during my lifetime - much of which has occurred since NETWORK was first released. Honestly, I can't tell if I'm feeling mad, sad or disappointed. No wallowing here. Let's do something about it!
Is it sustainable for the US (that's us) to spend $5.7 trillion a year to support our current healthcare system? Even if we could, would it provide a high quality of life? Provide compassion and dignity? Support individuals focusing on their health rather than navigating complex systems that really are not any sort of a system?
We can do better and I choose to be part of the solution. More on that in the next few articles.
Why am I mad, sad or disappointed? Like most of you, I've been involved with or heard personal stories of individuals with chronic disease who get on the conveyor belt of specialists, medications, treatments, tests and followed up by a round-trip on the belt over and over. During the past 7 years, I've been in and out of hospitals, skilled nursing centers, assisted living centers, cancer centers and more with various family members. I'm mad, sad and disappointed, because there are so many fellow human beings who are so suffering.
Simultaneously, I've "escaped" these environments in the evenings and early mornings and continued to work with suppliers of whole, organic and wild foods. On the side, I've participated in "food as medicine (fam)" seminars, podcast, conferences. events and watched nearly every food as medicine related documentary series, as it debuts. My conclusion, there is still a huge chasm between the information that is being shared by these hero doctors, journalists and researchers and what we know to be the healthcare system. Their contributions are significant, as are the suppliers of products and services that support their work - including whole, organic and wild foods. So.... our new chapter.
To reduce healthcare costs and system challenges through collaborative solutions by professionals using food as the backbone of preventative and regenerative health.
I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska where we ate what we caught, hunted and grew. So far, so good. Then our first grocery store arrived and we became less self-sufficient, but felt refined and sophisticated to have access to similar products of the people in the "lower 48". Our commericals on TV synced with what we had on the shelves in the stores.. an accomplishment in and of itself, or so I thought. Fast forward to high school when I was challenged by a local economist about how the seafood industry worked, where were the jobs and economic impacts for Alaska. Well, suffice it to say.... he planted a seed that created a unique path to dig deep on the supply chain of food.
What did not comport, was the repeated emphasis of buyers of Alaska's food being so focused on price. How could that be, when it is wild, organic or a whole food product? How can a commercial buyer or consumer, for that matter -- be so concerned about the price of a salmon steak, when that same consumer or retailer sold cold medicines, vitamins, etc. with such higher price tags. What was wrong with our culture?
There is good news. We're waking up to the economic and health impacts on ourselves, families and communities for not paying closer attention to our foods and environment. The challenge is that this cultural shift has to move faster and overtake what we have accepted as normal.
Global Food Collaborative is not an umbrella or foundation to its constituents. It is designed to be a platform for individuals within its framework to collaborate and have a greater impact - together. I urge you to showcase your role and be part of the solution.