By Missty Lechner On August 30, 2016
I am passionate about health, both my own health and the health of my community. I have been called many things because of my passion – an advocate, a health nut, and (my personal favorite) a member of the wellness army.
I attribute my interest in wellness to growing up on a small farm where I had fresh vegetables to eat and space to roam. That is also where I learned my appreciation for farmers as they are the start of a strong local food system. Despite this appreciation for farming, I recognize that the current food system in the U.S. could use a few changes to better support the health of our citizens.
When I learned about a local dairy farm tour, I jumped at the opportunity to attend so I could learn more about my local food system. It was an enlightening experience to see the animals, the land, and the care that is given. They care for their cattle by ensuring clean, comfortable places for them to spend the day. They care for the babies by providing them space to play, and the nutrient-rich foods (including their mother’s milk) they need to grow up healthy. And they care for the environment by recycling the sand that makes the cows’ beds, using LED lights to save energy, and ensuring that (in Kansas) the milk sold in our stores is on average about 100 miles away from the farm. And finally they care for the consumer because they have strict protocols in place to ensure the milk we drink is not only free from contaminants, but is also as fresh as possible since it only takes 48 hours to get from the cow to your store’s shelf.
I know that health, safety, and sustainability are three things I value as a “health nut” and when I go to the grocery store and see a sign that says “I’m Local” next to my skim milk, I will not hesitate to buy it. You don’t need to take my word for it though. Look for farm tours in your area so you can learn for yourself about the steps dairy farmers take to keep the cows, the milk, and the environment healthy.