From Dr. Hannah Anderson, Feed Iowa First Board of Directors:

I originally met Sonia in a networking meeting where she explained the health care crisis through her farmer eyes. As I thought about my own role in a world with decreasing life expectancies, I felt like Sonia was explaining a mirrored version of my own mission. I saw the problem, and she saw the solution.

The problem is this: even those of us that can afford food on a daily basis aren’t eating food rich in the micronutrients that allow our bodies to function easily. Most of us develop some sort of disease by the time we turn 45. In addition, there are food deserts and hungry people right here in Linn County who can’t afford produce, let alone, organic and nutrient dense options. Most vegetables in our grocery stores have less nutrients than they used to because outdated and ineffective farming practices have depleted our soil.

Sonia started Feed Iowa First to solve this problem in all directions: Feed hungry people good food, with farming practices that nourish the land and the people. This translated so instantly into my work, where I regularly run blood tests on patients to determine their need for vitamins and minerals. Even the average “healthy person” has a nutrient tank that’s running low, causing them to feel tired in the middle of the day, aches and pains that come and go, and bumpy skin that “must be normal because everyone has it.” Our depleted soil, lack of nutrient dense food, and poor quality soil is translating into common (not normal) ailments that lead to increased levels of disease over time. Most heart attacks don’t “come out of nowhere” like you’re lead to believe, and cancer isn’t developed in a day. We’re not giving our body the fuel it needs to do the very hard job we’ve given it.

Feed Iowa First is carrying on the “fresh revolution” to help reverse disease in Linn County, starting at the root cause. Thanks to our volunteers, seeds are being sown and starter plants are going in the ground. What we’re growing is more than food. The peas planted in April provide magnesium, potassium, and calcium that prevent high blood pressure. The leafy greens started in the Feed Iowa First shop provide antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress and cell damage, while  providing B-vitamins that increase cellular energy and balance hormones. Thank you for volunteering and playing a crucial part in the health of your Linn County neighbors.