Agricultural practices are directly related to our health. Parents are often not linking their children's behavior and health to the agricultural practices involved. Here there are considerations of breeding and farming practices, and soils but also concerns related to pesticide use. The topic of GMO's would usually be linked with agriculture but its significance is so great I have dedicated an entire page to that topic.
Conventional agricultural breeding
Humans have been breeding plants and animals from the origins of agricultural practices but in the 20th century there was a more focused approach. As a result plants and animals were bred to increase productivity and profit. Inadvertently when both plants and animals were scientifically bred to improve the profit margin the proteins they contained were altered. Research now shows that these altered proteins can affect the health of people who consume them. Two books highlight, with strong scientific support, examples of this issue.
1) "Devil In The Milk; Illness, health and politics A1 and A2 milk" written by Keith Woodford outlines the outcomes of breeding milk cows for increased milk production. He shows the ratio of what are called A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins changed in these new cattle breeds from what is quite consistent in traditional cattle around the world. As the "new" milk is introduced to new communities he finds there is an increase in autism and autoimmune diseases.
Keith Woodford is a Professor of Farm Management at Lincoln University in New Zealand. This is a link to his website and his ongoing engagement with A1/A2 milk.
Research finding connections between milk with only A1 proteins to human health concerns continue to be published. FAB Research in Britain published an abstract of an article in early 2017 . It can be viewed here.
2) "Wheat Belly" by William Davis, MD similarly looks at the entire history of wheat production, alterations made in the 20th century and scientific research connecting wheat to auto-immune and psychiatric issues. This link connects you to a brief discussion with Dr. Davis and Julie Danulik about gluten proteins affect on autoimmunity and brain health.
Farming Practices;The Importance of Soils and Seeds:
The manner in which our soils are treated and the substances which are put into the soil affect the quality of the food we eat. Soil heath is enhanced by the organisms which live in it; that is micro organisms (bacteria,etc) and what we would call bugs. Some of these organisms play beneficial roles and it reduces our food quality when they are destroyed. This is also the case with chemicals or fertilizers added to the soil. They are often not absorbed as well as natural nutrients, and this leads to imbalances in nutrients available.
In the book "The End Of Food" with the subtitle, "How The Food Industry Is Destroying Our Food Supply-And What You Can Do About It", Thomas Pawlick addresses the changes in nutrients present in food today, the rise of corporate food, its impact on the rural lifestyle, etc. He also goes further to make suggestions about what each of us can do and are doing to counter this.
This interview of Thomas Pawlick with Michael Enright on CBC radio in Canada from 2006 was one I listened to many years ago which played a role in my changing our eating habits.
The Alliance for Natural Health from the UK (ANH) published an article on line entitled Living Soils;the vital link to human health in 2018.
This is an approach to agriculture which supports health but also sees agricultural practices playing a role in another major issue, climate change. This approach fits into a "systems view". A TED talk given in the fall of 2018 by Jillian Flies entitled "Climate Change;Can We Eat Our Way Out of This Mess" explores these ideas.