Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Food, farming, and flu

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 29 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5768

Organic Food

We have a love-hate relationship with food. We love to eat, but we hate to shop, cook, and clean up. And of course, we worry about our weight. Why is this? Perhaps food reminds us that life is not only fun, but also fragile, frustrating, frightening, and mystifying.

Life is a metabolic mystery. No matter who we are or what we do, we all have to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom. But how and why the food we eat transforms itself into life, and ultimately waste, is a mystery that science cannot fully explain.

It's hard to live with such mystery. So we distract ourselves with sweets, fast food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and entertainment, while we ignore the biological basis of life - especially the connection between food and waste.

However, farmers can't ignore this connection. They understand the cycle of life, and know that crops depend on compost and manure. They keep us alive, and we owe them our gratitude.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to organic farmers. They know that crops should not be genetically engineered or contaminated with toxic chemicals, and that farming must be safe for the farmer, consumer, land, water, and animals. They are pioneers for health and ecology.

You can also be a pioneer for health and ecology. First, support organic farmers and local farmer's markets. Second, support health food stores and encourage supermarkets to carry organic products. Third, share your knowledge and experience with family, friends, physicians, and public officials. Your health and your planet depend on you.

Competing interests: No competing interests

30 October 2015
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA