This month our chickens look like they will be larger than what they usually are in the summer months. We have seen a significant improvement in the health of the chickens and a better growth rate which we attribute to feeding them one to two gallons a day of an "illegal" substance for the first three or four weeks. If we sold you this substance, or even gave it to you, we could be arrested for doing so! This substance is raw skim milk from our grassfed cows. We skim the cream off our surplus milk, make butter for our own use and feed the skim milk to the chickens. Raw milk from grassfed cows is an important food for health. Hopefully, one day it will be legal to buy raw milk in Maryland.
When I (Myron) was young, the United States produced a lot of extra food that was exported to many countries. The U.S. was called the breadbasket of the world. But times have changed. The number of farms have decreased, population has increased and we now import almost 50% of our food. What has perplexed me is that the government doesn’t seem to care that each year we have to import a greater portion of our food. Part of our national security is our ability to produce our own food and not have to rely on other countries for our food. There are many things we can live without, but we can’t live without food.
Recently, I found out the reason why farms have been declining in America. It is part of financial engineering by the Federal Reserve in an attempt to create a higher standard of living for Americans. The economic theory is called "Creative Destruction". The philosophy of creative destruction also explains why the U.S. government changed regulations for domestic manufacturing and clothing factories so that it became too costly to produce their products in the U.S. The result has been that most of our manufacturing segment has moved oversees. Before we go any further, I want to make it clear that the concept of creative destruction is not a conspiracy theory of someone speculating on the motives of the Federal Reserve. It is a philosophy that the Fed has clearly stated it is using. The following are former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan’s own words from a speech given on Oct. 21, 2007:
"We have been doing things different for quite a long period of years. And many of them turned out to be awful. So I think that the issue always rests in capitalist market economy which as you point out has its roots and its necessities in creative destruction because remember it is only creative destruction that creates higher standards of living.
"Because by definition creative destruction is essentially moving the capital from less productive obsolescent industries to cutting edge technology related industries and by definition the moving a body of capital from the low output per man hour type industries to higher man hour output industries and that obviously raises the average and its only the average increase in productivity which generates higher standards of living. There is no other way that we have found and that includes having oil in the ground or gold somewhere. Adam Smith is right it is essentially the wealth of nations is determined by productivity and productivity can be advanced only in broad economies such as those which we deal with by a form of competitiveness and that generates creative destruction.
"As I say in the book I’ve just written there is a very significant problem here of the destruction part. Because remember when you move the capital from the lesser productive industries to the more, you also have to move people. And its always been a major problem in the fact that there are losers as well as winners and how to handle that problem is always been critical and necessary in order to maintain a viable market system. But the truth of the matter is there is no other system which has worked as well." (From the website: http://www.womensgroup.org/Per-Jacobsson-Foundation-Lecture.htm?eventID=941)
Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, in a speech to the governors of the southern states, said the following:
"The destructive side of capitalism’s creative destruction is evident in lost jobs. Let me share a few numbers for the states you govern. The number of workers in apparel manufacturing in your states decreased 80 percent between 1990 and 2005. In the same 15-year period, payrolls fell 18 percent at paper manufacturers and 15 percent for furniture makers. The number of farm workers decreased 6 percent, and the number of mine workers declined 5 percent. That is pretty painful stuff. And it is not ancient history. It all occurred within a time frame that is fresh in the memory of everyone in this room—between 1990 and 2005.
"And yet, despite these employment losses, each state in the Southern region now has a larger job base than it did in 1990. North Carolina, for example, has created 1 million net new jobs since 1990. Texas’ employment has risen by more than 3 million since 1990.
"Why? Because the creative side of creative destruction outpaced the destructive side. Your economies replaced lost jobs in declining sectors with new ones in emerging, higher-value-added sectors. Between 1990 and 2005, the number of data processing and Internet service provider workers in Southern states increased 65 percent. Professional services workers grew 63 percent. Financial services employees increased 31 percent. Retail employment grew 23 percent. By 2005, the financial and real estate services sectors employed as many Southern workers as the manufacturing sector. Lodging and food services accounted for the same share of the Southern workforce as construction.
"Health care sector employment in the South alone grew by 2.3 million from 1990 to 2005. Let me put that in perspective: For every manufacturing job lost in the Southern states between 1990 and 2005, the health care sector created 2.4 new jobs." (from the website http://www.dallasfed.org/news/speeches/fisher/2007/fs070825.cfm)
Time will tell if creative destruction is the greatest thing the Federal Reserve ever did, or if it will turn out, to use Alan Greenspan’s words, "to be awful". There are a number of questions that comes to my mind. Is creative destruction sustainable in the long run when we give up industries, food and clothing, that are basic necessities of life? If creative destruction is sustainable, why do we need 2.4 new health care workers for every manufacturing job that was lost? Is our health decreasing so fast from eating cheap food that we need that many more health care workers? Do politicians really believe that increasing the health care industry is more sustainable for the US economy in the long run than producing food?
Cathy and I are of the opinion that the intentional creative destruction of local farms and the government’s encouragement of eating cheap food has been a mistake. However, rather than focus on the negative, on our farm we are rowing against the flow of creative destruction to provide you with nutritious, nutrient dense, healthy, local food that is difficult to find, but which is important for your health. This year we encourage you to eat local for your health and the financial health of the local farms who are rowing against the flow of creative destruction.
An indicator that the intentional creative destruction of local farms was a bad idea is that there is a growing shortage of food worldwide. The food shortage is only partially caused by biofuel production. The total world production of food is not enough. The poorest countries are being hit the hardest because they can’t afford the higher cost of food. The price of rice has increased from $460 a ton to over $1000 in just a few month’s time. That also means that humanitarian relief can now feed less than half as many people as before with the same amount of money. Twelve countries have had food riots, and the prime minister of Haiti was run out of office because of their food shortage.
Our dependence on other countries for food is greater than most people realize. Most people have no idea the total volume of food that they consume each year. Nor do they realize how difficult it would be for each family to produce all the food that their family needs for the entire year if they had to. I know we didn’t realize how difficult it was until we started farming. We raise almost all the meat we eat. We produce all the eggs we want. Our two cows provide most of the milk, butter, ice cream, and yogurt we eat. We have a large garden, and Cathy freezes and cans lots of vegetables. You would think that we were almost self sufficient, but we are not! We still spend around $6,000 at the grocery store or for other off farm food purchases for our family of eight. That amount includes total grocery store purchases which includes toilet paper, detergents, etc. Producing everything you eat for an entire year is difficult.
There is a slogan that applies to the present food crisis: "Think globally, act locally". The more food we produce and consume locally, the less food that has to be imported and taken from poorer countries who can’t compete with us price wise for the food. If we eat more potatoes and less rice, it means more rice will be available for others. We encourage you to consider doing some gardening this year. If you have not yet started a garden or even just a few tomato plants, it is not too late to do it.
|Jehovah-Jireh Farm Chicken||Grocery Store Free-range Organic Chicken|
|True free-range, pasture raised||
Large confinement factory farm chicken house with limited or no access to the out of doors.
|No Vaccinations||Many vaccinations|
|Practically no ammonia smell in shelter||Lots of ammonia vapor in the chicken house|
|Normal day lighting||Artificial lighting 23 hours a day|
|Small groups (350 or less)||Huge groups (10,000 or more)|
|Low stress in small groups||High stress in large groups|
|Clean air||Air hazy with fecal particles and ammonia|
|Fresh air and sunshine||Limited or no access to sunshine|
|Plenty of exercise||Limited exercise|
|Fresh daily salad bar (pasture)||Basically no greens|
|Local||Trucked in from out of state|
|Promotes family farming||Promotes large corporations|
|Rural revitalization||Promotes urban expansion|
|Consumer/producer relationship||Consumer/producer alienation|
Same environmental impact as conventional confinement chicken houses
The difference between the two is much more than the "free-range" grocery store label implies. The "free-range" grocery store chicken is not much different from conventional chicken, except it receives organic feed and does not receive antibiotics, or arsenic (fed as a growth stimulator!). A door may be open to let a few broilers out to scratch in the dirt.
Meat is much more than a combination of nutrients that we eat. All meat is not the same. We have been conditioned to believe that all meat is the same and that the main difference is the price. That is not true. Even though the nutrients in a downed cow and the nutrients in a healthy beef may analyze in the lab basically the same, the true nutrition is NOT the same! The same is true in the way chickens are raised. Just as we need sunshine, sunshine is important for chickens too. Just as fresh green vegetables are important in our diet, so fresh green vegetables (grass, clover, etc.) are important in a chicken’s diet. It is important that we get exercise to be healthy. So it is important that the meat we eat had the proper amount of exercise to be healthy as well. It is important that we get plenty of fresh air. In the same way it is important that the chicken meat we eat was not raised in an environment where the air was hazy with with manure dust and ammonia. We are what we eat. The way that the meat that we eat was raised is important. It has an effect on our bodies. That is why we, at Jehovah-Jireh Farm, go to the extra work to produce a product that is raised in the best way possible.
Several months ago we realized that we need to learn more about farming and health. Yes, pasture raised meats are important, and organic is important, but they are only two pieces of the pie, not the whole pie or the whole picture. We asked God again to teach us how to farm and from then to now has been an intense learning time. I feel like I am being catapulted along faster than my little brain can absorb everything.
One of the things we learned was at a seminar in Lancaster Pa. where Dr. Arden Anderson was one of the speakers. Dr. Anderson is a medical doctor as well as an agronomist — an unusual combination of training but one which all doctors should have. One of the things that he said was that insects are the garbage crew. If insects are eating a plant or fruit or vegetable, it means it is garbage and is not nutritious enough to eat. He has found that by increasing the mineral and nutrient content of the plant, fruit, or vegetable, insects will leave it alone. Their digestive system cannot handle the increased nutrients in the plants. They get diarrhea and die. Modern science and farming has taken a different approach. They kill the garbage crew (insects) and feed us the "garbage"! The majority of the food we eat today is "garbage".
After we were home again a Bible verse came to our minds "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles" (Psalms 103:5) How does an eagle renew its youth? How can we become young again? The answer is fascinating. An eagle can live to be as much as 50 years old. Periodically, after a certain number of years, an eagle will go somewhere by itself. It will shed all of its old feathers and grow new feathers. Its claws will grow until new claws have appeared. When the eagle returns to its natural habitat it looks like a young eagle even though it is many years old.
We too, just like the eagle, are continually shedding old cells and new cells are taking their place. Regardless of how old you are, you are not more than about 16 years old!! You will be 16 until the day you die! About the only cells that are with us from birth are our brain cells and perhaps our nerve cells.
Gut lining cells are about 5 days old.
Skin cells are 14 days old
Red blood cells are 120 old or less
The entire human skeleton is replaced every 10 years or so.
The cells in the liver have a turnover time of 300 to 500 days.
Muscle cells are about 15 years old.
Gut cells other than the lining are about 16 years old.
Suddenly I realized how people before the flood could have lived to be 900+ years old. The fountain of youth is within us and our youth is continually being renewed. At least that is how the body was originally designed to work. There is a prophecy in Isaiah that when the Messiah comes for the 1000 year reign, people will again live very long lives. "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed." (Isaiah 65:20)
So why are we not living longer now? Part of the answer is found in Psalms 103:5 where it explains how our youth is renewed. It states that our mouth is filled with good things and then our youth is renewed like the eagles. The problem is that we have been eating garbage (food) that is grown in mineral and nutrient depleted soils. This is not a new problem. Farmers and rain have been depleting the soils since the flood. The soil is not nearly as rich, healthy, and productive as it has the potential of being. Our cells are built from the garbage. When our new cells replace the old cells, the new ones are made from mineral and nutrient deficient food, just like the ones they replaced. The new cells don’t have the energy to be youthful. However, if we fill our mouths with good things and eat nutrient dense foods, then our new cells will be stronger and more healthy than our old cells – the renewing of our youth.
Understanding that the cells in our body are renewed on a regular basis sheds some light on our health. One is that it is possible to change the makeup of our bodies over time by changing what we eat. We are not necessarily doomed because of where our body is now health wise. Another is that our body is what it is because of what we have eaten over the last 16 years and what we eat now will affect the quality of some of our cells for the next 16 years. We like instant results in health, but in reality, some of the health renewal will take years of eating right until all the cells are rebuilt with healthy components. This concept of our youth being renewed like the eagles has shed a whole new light on the importance of us producing nutrient dense nutritional food. Again, let me emphasize that this is not the full picture of what constitutes health, it is only one piece of the full picture.