Farmacology

Overview

A doctor explores what farming can teach us about nurturing ourselves

  • Do the microbes in the soil communicate with the microbes in our bodies?
  • Why does a dirty farm offer protection from allergies while a dirty urban apartment does not?
  • What can we learn about "good" ...
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Overview

A doctor explores what farming can teach us about nurturing ourselves

  • Do the microbes in the soil communicate with the microbes in our bodies?
  • Why does a dirty farm offer protection from allergies while a dirty urban apartment does not?
  • What can we learn about "good" stress from pastured hens?
  • How can a pest management system inspire a radical new approach to cancer treatment?
  • What can cows teach parents about raising healthy eaters?
  • What kind of impact does urban farming have on crime rates?

These may not sound like typical questions for a family physician to consider, but in Farmacology, Daphne Miller, M.D., ventures out of her medical office and travels to seven innovative family farms around the country on a quest to discover the hidden connections between how we care for our bodies and how we grow our food. Miller also seeks out the perspectives of noted biomedical scientists and artfully weaves in their insights and research, along with stories from her own medical practice. Farmacology offers a profound new approach to healing, combined with practical advice for how to treat disease and maintain wellness.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Farmacology…explains how sustainable farms serve as a model for a healthy human body…Soil is the star of this story. Its vigor is clearly connected to the vitality of the plants, animals, and human beings it supports…Think like a farmer, and you’ll likely cultivate better personal health.”
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle bestseller
Michael Pollan
“What does the practice of sustainable agriculture have to teach modern medicine? What are the links between soil health and the health of the people who eat from that soil?…A highly original and compelling work of exploration with large implications for our understanding of health.”
Orion Magazine
Some of Miller’s discoveries are simple, others groundbreaking, but all feel important for their medical implications as well as for what they can teach us about our connection to other living creatures... Miller... delves deep into the science, translating dense medical text into practical information.
Alice Waters
“Dr. Miller’s wit, compassion, and willingness to learn from the people who take care of the land make this a vibrant and important book. It is about so much more than just personal well-being; it is about the health of our food, our farms and farmers-the entire planet.”
Marion Nestle
“An eloquent call for better systems of sustainable agriculture and humanistic health care. . . . lovely, touching, and sometimes quite funny. [Miller’s] insight: both soil and people do better when treated as complex systems, not fragments. This is a fresh, original, and utterly charming book.”
Raj Patel
“[Daphne Miller is] such a fearless, intelligent, and charming guide on the food-filled journey between medical and ecological sciences that by the end of Farmacology you won’t just think that medical ecology is fascinating—you’ll wonder how we managed to live without it for so long.”
Dr. Andrew Weil
“[Here] explorer and integrative physician Daphne Miller learns the principles of best farming practices and considers their applicability to medicine. Her observations are revealing and inspiring, offering a vision of new and more effective treatments for a variety of human ailments, from allergies to cancer. A rewarding read.”
Carlo Petrini
“In Farmacology, Daphne Miller expands the field of medicine from the classical boundaries of the symptom-cure concept toward a more complex and holistic approach that takes into account the tight balance between Man and Nature.”
Lou Fancher
“Sustainable agriculture and holistic medical practice find each other as soul mates…The issues raised deal with profound economic, social and cultural dilemmas…and Miller’s hearty, personable writing style makes it a good read for travelers, lovers of character studies and medical and farming professionals alike.”
Acres U.S.A.
Miller’s journey begins in serendipity and remains alive to surprise…[The] web of associations…will surprise even those [who know] that healthy soils make for healthy people. It’s startling to think that few if any doctor-authors have attempted this hybrid of field work…patient case histories…and conversations with scientists.
Harvard Medicine Magazine
“It’s alternative living in a big way, whether you’re the field, the cow, the cultivated insect, or the patient of a type of physician [Miller] calls “medical ecologists.” Miller had fun, writes exuberantly, and wants to infect us in the best way possible with the spirit of these places.”
Raj Patel
“[Daphne Miller is] such a fearless, intelligent, and charming guide on the food-filled journey between medical and ecological sciences that by the end of Farmacology you won’t just think that medical ecology is fascinating--you’ll wonder how we managed to live without it for so long.”
Kirkus Reviews
Miller (Family Medicine/Univ. of California, San Francisco) steps outside medicine's orthodoxy to explore the connection between sustainable farming and healthy living. The author, who examined diets in traditional communities in The Jungle Effect (2008), has now traveled to family farms around the United States to learn how the principles of sustainable farming apply to integrative medicine and healthy living. Impelled on her journey by Grace Gershuny and Joe Smillie's The Soul of Soil (1996), the author spent time on a biodynamic farm and an aromatic herb farm in Washington, on a bison ranch in Missouri, with an egg producer in Arkansas, at a winery in California's Sonoma Valley and in community gardens in the Bronx. Working hands-on and also picking the brains of the farms' operators, Miller observed farmers taking a holistic, or "whole system," approach to their work that she has found to be too often missing in the modern practice of medicine. To illustrate how her broader, more integrated approach to treating patients differs from the common reductionist approach, the author includes revealing stories of her experiences with specific patients. At the end of each farm visit, she sums up the lessons learned. For example, the winery's pest-management approach suggests to her that cancer should be viewed more as a chronic challenge to be contained rather than as an invader demanding total eradication by the use of harsh treatments. The egg producer's handling of his flocks of chickens suggests a variety of techniques for reducing human stress. Miller also includes her whimsical hand-drawn maps of each of the locations where she spent time. While aimed at general readers, the author's message is also appropriate for physicians and is made palatable by Miller's persona and the avoidance of preachy smugness.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062103154
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/15/2015
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Daphne Miller, M.D., is a practicing physician, professor of family medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of The Jungle Effect. Her writing and teaching explores the frontier between biomedicine and the natural world. A contributing columnist to the Washington Post, Miller holds a medical degree from Harvard University. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her family.

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