November 15, 2008

Different and the same

I just had the incredible privilege to talk about Kaiser Permanente's expanding support for local food systems to five different audiences in four days in at three universities in Iowa, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and the Allina Health System in Minneapolis. Ultimately, what people eat is a major determinant of their health. Focusing on foods that are good for us to eat, good for the people who grow them, and good for the planet are best for us and our kids.

The trip was arranged by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa and Healthcare Without Harm, an international orgainziation committed to making the link between healthcare and the environment in many ways.

It was humbling to be in the middle of agricultural country meeting with experts. I learned a lot. One of the main lessons was that we all care about our future and the future for our kids. There are 77 languages spoken at my hospital in Oakland, 40 languages spoken in the grade school in Iowa City, IA, and 60 languages in the public schools in Rochester, MN. We are all different and we are all the same.