New teaching kitchen at Turner Farm encourages people to take healthy eating into their own hands
Sonia Chopra | WCPO Contributor
12:00 PM, Sep 20, 2016
INDIAN HILL, Ohio -- Turner Farm is much more than just an organic farm these days.
The Indian Hill nonprofit and Cincinnati's largest certified organic farm is also an educational foundation dedicated to teaching organic farming that's starting to take things up a few notches.
Through their state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, folks at Turner want to create a new, innovative “food culture.”
“Our focus is more than just growing good food in the garden,” said Robert Edmiston, executive director of Turner Farm and a Cincinnati attorney. “We believe in growing quality food, understanding our relationship to foods and how they are produced, being informed about healthy lifestyle choices, and from there taking ownership of our individual health and wellness. We are trying to encourage people to take ownership of their health.”
Edmiston believes that integrating good food choices such as eating more plant-based and fewer animal products can help prevent diseases.
“Right now, in our health care system, we are facing a tsunami of disaster. People are making poor dietary and lifestyle choices, often times leading to the medical system having to address preventable health care problems at a high price,” he said.
Turner Farm expands its focus
Turner Farm began its operations in the 1800s, but in 1994 it became an organic farm under the leadership of Bonnie Mitsui. Nowadays, the farm is home to all sorts of plant varieties as well as both domestic and wild animals, like chickens and sheep.
About two decades ago, a national movement to connect good eating habits to better health begun, which was consistent with what Turner Farm had been preaching all along.
In the past few years, though, Turner Farm has expanded its focus beyond just farming and education to include individual health and wellness. With the teaching kitchen, staff invite people to learn how to take the best produce and best foods and learn how to live a healthier life with diverse classes and cuisines.
“We want to have a team of chefs and doctors to show people how they can redefine the food on their plates and we are starting classes to teach that,” said Edmiston.
Through this association, programs are being developed whereby physicians/providers and patients work together as partners to engage body, mind and spirit in attaining and maintaining optimal health.
To illustrate the fact that the U.S. medical community might be pivoting toward a more individualized approach that embraces personal responsibility, Edmiston notes that of the approximately 160 medical schools in the U.S., about 69 of them have now joined the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health (The Consortium), formerly known as the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.
The Turner Farm teaching kitchen will offer classes to the public and the space will also be available to rent for events and meetings.
The Center for Integrative Health and Wellness will even use the kitchen to teach medical students, nurses, physicians and other health professionals valuable nutritional information, culinary skills and self-care practices for their patients and themselves.
The kitchen will be unveiled to the Cincinnati community during a weekend event on Sept. 23 and 24, with net proceeds benefiting UC’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness.
Included in the weekend's events are speakers who have long championed the cause of better health within the integrative health and wellness movement.
Dr. Aviad Haramati, a professor of integrative physiology in the department of biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology and the department of medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, will also speak that evening. Haramati, who also serves as co-director of Georgetown's Physiology-CAM graduate program, seeks to improve medical education across the globe, especially with regard to the intersection of science, mind-body medicine and professionalism. He's been a visiting professor at over 80 medical schools around the world.