It didn’t occur to me until I was about twenty-three years old, but I am at heart a country, rural, hometown girl. My home was a tiny community in the middle of nowhere with only a few streets and one stoplight, but my life actually happened out on my grandparents' farm, just a stone’s throw away from Highway 41 in Southeastern Wisconsin.
My part of Middle America steeped me in an environment of commodity crops, doctors visits for the routine antibiotics, and the local fast food that has taken over virtually every corner of our world. Health wasn’t and still isn’t necessarily a priority there, and conversation topics about soil health haven’t really been present there either, despite the profound impact of FFA and 4H in the local area.
I’ve always been the person to find more comfort in a farmers market, make more friends with foodies, and can always recommend a good book about health and wellbeing. My ability to put together some of these pieces started at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, my undergraduate university, where a doctor by the name of Deanna Latson came to speak. She recommended a book called The Food Revolution that course-corrected me on a path down health, food, and our environment. It named the interweaving of my love for those things close to the ground and the health of those who live, breathe, and move through our Earth.
Travel illnesses, heavy pharmaceutical use, an eating disorder, mental health issues, and chronic stress have all made their pass through my life over the years. For each one of these, I found that our “conventional medicine” model and treatment came up short, in some cases leaving me worse-off than before I started the prescribed treatment. In 2015, I reached a point of desperation from the cumulative effect of all of these experiences, which generously lead me to the world of functional medicine, which uses regenerative treatments of lifestyle change through sleep, stress reduction, relationships, and movement. But the major component of this care came from changes to my food and what I was eating.
It was largely because of this experience with my own health that I realized where our food comes from and that how it was grown has more to do with the health of our whole world than I ever thought, and it led me straight back to those 87 acres of farmland I found my being on. I was obsessed with farm to table movements, but what I began to understand was that actually the farm is where our health comes from, and that the health of our world’s soils has a direct impact on the health of the world’s citizens. It also became clear to me the effect of society when we lose the connection between the Earth and ourselves, which are inextricably linked -- autoimmune disorders on the rise, mental health issues, sleep issues, and the list goes on.
Today, I’m a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, guiding people just like you back to their health and wholeness through a reconciliation process with the Earth and with the generations who brought them forth. It’s my greatest joy to join folks along their journey towards health and wholeness, to be a guide in reconnecting them back to meaning and purpose.
My qualifications are through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, which granted me my Functional Medicine Health Coaching Certification, and I am also a Soil Advocate through Kiss the Ground.
Currently, I “stay” (as the locals say) in a quaint village in Scotland with my husband, enjoying the world of expat life for the time being through traveling Europe, slowing down to a sustainable pace of life, and re-membering those things that make us come alive.
About Emmer & Earth
Many people are waking up to the fact that we have a model to live that has always been there for us. That model is one that walks and in hand with the Earth, taking cues from its rhythms and gifts and pace. However, in more recent times, we as a human race have stepped further and further away from the boundaries that give us life. Here’s the story.
Long ago, we lived Where...
People knew who they were based on where they were and who they came from. Health was localized, based on the rhythms, cues, and resources of the space around them. Soil and weather dictated food sources and in turn, these patterns of hunting and gathering and farming dictated our body systems and called them into a place of health that thrived. As tribes of people got to know the earth underneath them, their health followed suit.
Generally people stayed together in groups often called tribes, where health was passed from one generation to another. Ways of living fully were imparted to future generations, and actions of care for others and for the earth followed suit in lockstep. Individuals derived meaning from membership in their group and found purpose in offering skills and resources for the benefit of their local community.
Through modern history...
People began to move away from their tribes, their roots, their family homesteads — the locations that offered them a sense of place and responsibility. Many moved from self- and community-sufficient agricultural backgrounds to commercialized, large-scale industrial lifestyles that started to fray the fabric of community living.
As mass numbers of people moved from rural areas to cities for the sake of a career and a future, industry moved to agriculture, where large machinery and chemical companies found a home and a place to conquer. This accelerated the downward trend towards unhealthy soil and in turn grew poorer health among our populations.
We started to think we could out-pace and out-smart nature, which led to a deep, widespread disconnect from the rhythms and patterns that offered us a grid for health and wholeness.
Many of us have moved to or have only lived in cities, where the a farm is out of sight and out of reach. If fact, many of us have moved far from the places we call home, if we even know where to call home in the first place. The stories of health customs and traditions are rarely shared among families and communities, and it’s uncommon to be able to name traditions and customs of these communities.
The concept of a family farm is being lost as large corporations are buying out the land that produces our food. And as a result, our soil health has declined significantly and is now merely dust. Consequently, our health has rapidly declined as well.
Modern innovations have allowed us the ability to unwind our natural rhythms as humans, meaning we are exposed to less natural light, eat less real food, and are more sedentary than ever.
We’ve become disconnected from the earth, our place in it, and disconnected from our generations. And when these nature-driven connections and rhythms are broken and distorted, they manifest into many issues like:
Loss of meaning and purpose
What is the solution?
Understanding how to make sense of our modern lifestyles and the traditions of health that have been uncovered throughout generations and mirrored in nature is the work we need to do in order for health and wholeness for ourselves and our communities.
As we reconnect with the land and with those we came from, we learn that our food has everything to do with our health, that our light exposure and sleep are intimately important, and that we were designed and created to move. We open our eyes to understand that purpose and meaning are derived from looking in the eyes of our neighbors and serving a great need in our local communities.
As we move closer to our home in the natural rhythms and cycles of the Earth, we move into a right relationship with ourselves and our health. Through our food, pace of life, relationships, movement, and rest, we understand that nature never fails us. It always seeks to heal and restore and regenerate. And because we are beings that come from the Earth, we too have the ability to health, restore, and regenerate.
What then is Emmer & Earth?
At Emmer & Earth, we seek to reconnect our generational human health with the regenerative capacity of the Earth for a world of health and wholeness. By creating sacred space to explore who we are and where we are going, we work together to create a rhythmic life that nature has been offering us gently all along. We do that through three avenues: Coaching, Education, and Reciprocity.
Health coaching is one of the primary ways we see this vision come to a reality. Each one of us is profoundly different, and our disconnection and struggles in addition to the root of those come from profoundly different places. The role of coaching is to work together to provide a space for your inner healer, your inner guide, to speak to you to lead you home to health and wholeness.
Education is important because there are stories, lessons, and wisdom that needs to be told in our world. Because as a whole we have come far away from our rootedness to the nature around us, we can reintroduce people to their home through educating on what it is and where it is.
Reciprocity comes from a concept nature teaches us beautifully - when we take care of the earth, the earth takes care of us. So it is with organizations and people who are doing deep work to reconnect the Earth to our bodies and to save our home. Emmer & Earth commits to supporting these people and organizations through giving part of all coaching and educational income, which means that you through your healing are also healing the Earth in other significant ways.
In the Name
Where does the name come from?
What we are called matters to who we become and who we are. As a granddaughter to farmers and a rural-raised woman, it took me far too long to embrace what my maiden name really means.
Along with being my maiden name, Emmer is one of the first ancient grains to be discovered when hunter-gatherers moved to into agriculture. It’s a kind of wheat that has incredible resilience, able to withstand rocky soil and inconsistent weather. It also happens to be a wheat that those of us who are gluten-intolerant can enjoy, making it a whole, hearty addition to our diets. This felt like the “body” side of what we are doing as it relates to functional medicine.
Then the “Earth” side of this dance. Farming and agriculture are inextricably linked to my family heritage. I’ve also been reminded of how close the story and health of our food is to not just me, but to all of us. It's the hearty part of our lives, the one thing that connects every single one of us. As you've already seen here, I believe that connection is health, and when we are connected to ourselves, one another, and the Earth, we far into right alignment for heath, healing, and reconciliation to occur.