What If Our Healthcare System Kept Us Healthy?

Rebecca Onie’s Ted talk and her vision for the future of healthcare is a groundbreaking one. She is reimagining a healthcare system that essentially walks with people through their lives and solves their problems at the root rather than solving the symptoms. She imagines a healthcare system that keeps people healthy rather than strictly healing disease. The organization, Health Leads, uses college student volunteers to connect patients with what they need for basic their basic health that they may not be able to afford. These students would address things such as a food and shelter.

These kinds of out of the box ideas are the very ones that we need to be thinking of to get out of this crisis we are in. If we have more people rethinking an entire established system like this, we will certainly be on the road to better things. However, her talk definitely left me with doubts and questions. I wonder where the money for this kind of system would come from. Depending on whose pockets the funding for this is being drained from, it could cause more harm than good. It also has the potential for the same kind of problems the welfare system has. People could take advantage of the system, rather than using it to better their lives. I wished that Onie had elaborated on these points in her talk. The creation of Health Leads is certainly important and even revolutionary, but it is not the final solution to the problem.

Food Sovereignty

Raj Patel brings up a very interesting idea of food sovereignty. He describes it as humanity as a whole deciding their own food policy for the first tim in human history. He clearly indicates that solving our problems today requires solving a broad scope of  problems on a broad scope of levels. He even raises the point of decreasing violence against women. Because in many developing countries, women put in most of the labor for food production, but have very few rights. Patel clearly has an idea of the massive range of interconnected problems that we are dealing with, and that they are things that go far beyond laws and regulations. Though, he points out that there is a strong movement towards solving this problem, especially amongst the American people. This can be supported by examples like Ron Finley. There are more and more individuals that are making their own choices, and making a powerful difference in the world.

“My Potato Project; The Importance of Organic”

This youtube video (link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exBEFCiWyW0&feature=youtu.be) is overall a pretty adorable video, even without the deeper meanings and message behind it. I think the fact that this video was presented by a child is so cool. We need to spread this message to more children, because they are the ones that ultimately define the future. On the content of the video itself, the short, simple visual demonstration in this is actually incredible. It not only uses solid science and facts, it tugs at the emotional point of the matter as well. Processed food is not natural. Water, the source of life, has no effect on these potatoes. It’s almost as if they are just a shadow of the real thing. Is that what we want in our bodies? Overall, it is a fascinating video. I very much enjoyed it,

“Self and Other”

Self and Other is a poem by Sal Biondello, and it could have many different interpretations. It is a very intriguing piece of work. When I read it, I believe it is about assessing yourself by comparing yourself with others. This is said quite clearly in the opening verse.

“groping for a footing with oneself
assessing the images of others
attempting to find oneself
by explaining the other”

Though the harm in doing this is that we don’t see other people in their entirety from our perspective. We don’t see who they truly are, and “often we ignore the breathing behind the images.” It is this fake mask that people put on, and the poem calls this their “shimmering.” It asks if comparing ourselves to other people, other people’s masks, could really heal our loneliness. Biondello puts to us that this does not heal our loneliness. We are only “allowing another’s vibrations to affect our own shimmering.” In this sense, we put on a mask ourselves when we compare ourselves to other people.

This is a fascinating poem, with an incredibly strong message. It speaks true to me as well. I am someone that costantly puts on a mask to please people rather than to allow others to see me for myself. I believe that the world would be a better place if we all took our masks off, and showed each other who we truly Are.

“The thing about sustainability is that you have to sustain it”

In just a ten minute Ted Talk, I was introduced to Ron Finley, and I was blown away by the things that he has accomplished. I have a huge respect for him, and the things he is doing for his community. In my opinion, it is people like him who will ultimately change the world and make a difference. Through the gardens he is creating, he is not only producing fresh, locally grown food for his community, but he is also teaching values to his community. He is teaching them the skills they need to grow their own food. He is teaching children and teenagers how to have a hard work ethic and produce what they need in life. Not only that, but he planned to put up restaurants as well. He is sustaining and growing his business to bring healthy food to his community. You see, regardless of what the Farm Bill says or how many preservatives and GMOs are in restaurant or grocery store food, the fundamental problem in this food crisis resides in our families and our communities. If more people like Ron Finley can revolutionize our communities, everything else will follow in his place.

The Insanity of Political Maneuvering (The Farm Bill – UC Berkeley)

At various points in my life, I have been more invested in politics than others. I tend to get interested in it until I get a headache, and then I stop paying attention for a while until something gets me more interested again. However, I have never once heard of the farm bill until now. It is a very interesting and insanely complicated piece of legislation. I obviously have only scratched the surface of it from only one lecture. That being said, I definitely learned a lot from the video.

I think I most agreed with Dan Imhoff’s statement at the end of the video. The focus of government’s role in food needs to be primarily on health. The many other issues involved distract from the main problem we are facing, and they stop a very univeral issue from being solved because of hot political issues. Chellie Pingree showed this herself when she mentioned that Republicans wouldn’t go for her bill because of the funding it gave the food stamp program. In my opinion, government and politics rarely solve issues effectively. I agree that the marketplace alone cannot solve this issue, and we need an effective farm bill to make changes. Despite this, the history of the farm bill shows how political maneuvering will take something intended for good and get it bogged down with many other issues. A clear separation of ideaologies and issues needs to happen if true change is going to come.

The Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ted Talk was devoted to waking up Americans to the true crisis that we are in. Many of us already know that preservatives and processed foods are unhealthy and that eating fast food is also unhealthy. However, Jamie Oliver pushes us beyond that assumption we take for granted. He gives us statistic and visual demonstrations, and he throws it all in our faces to try and give us a massive wake up call. He is an extremely intelligent man, and he is obivously an expert in his field. Therefore, he communicates hard facts about the situation we’re in. However, the real strength in the talk is through his various demonstrations. At one point, he dumps out a wheelbarrel full of sugar cubes. This represents the amount of sugar every student consumes throughout elementary school in the milk the school provides alone. This is one of the ways the talk is as effective as it is. It doesn’t just show audiences what we’ve heard many times. It literally shows the audiences what we’re eating. It directly shows us what the problem is. I learned a lot from this video, and it pushed me to develop my thoughts on this subject.

The fact that this problem is prevelant today is even scarier to me than the way Jamie Oliver described it. Children not recognizing a potato is not merely an instance of uneducation, it could even be seen as dystopian. Food is our life source, and it is being changed and twisted into something terrible. When you cannot eat natural food without researching and paying a high price, it means that society itself is twisted to its core.

Jamie Oliver sees this, and he is making a lot of change for the better. He is incredibly smart by targeting schools and children. Providing everyone with proper food education would be a huge step towards change. However, I do not believe that government programs will change anything in the long run. Jamie Oliver briefly mentions working with families, and I think that this is where the problem needs to be faced. Children are not receiving the food education they need, and the root of that problem is the place where they grow up in. If parents aren’t giving their children proper food, then no elementary school will be able to ge through to them. We live in a society where many families are broken, and that breaks my heart. I think that the root of this food crisis just goes back to these families. Therefore, we need to help equip families in need to care for their children, and then maybe, those children can go on to make strong families of their own.