Meet Our Members | March 2018
Name and Occupation: Mary MacNicol, DC, Chiropractor
Business Name: Mary practices out of Whole Health Chiropractic in Concord.
How long have you been a member of NOFA-NH? I just renewed my membership and have been a member now for over two months. I was on the Board about 15 years ago and was a member for 3-5 years.
Why did you become a member of NOFA-NH? NOFA and farming in general is close to my heart. I was involved in NOFA before I went to California for 5 years and came back with a chiropractic degree. I used to live on a farm in Francistown. We had 100 acres of mixed hay fields and woods, 30 acres of hay and a herd of sheep. Otherwise, we had a cow and a horse at a time. The land was under easement so it could never be developed, and it seemed obvious we would want to become organic. With the hay it was easy, and we started feeding the animals organic grain.
Having our own meat and milk in the freezer was much nicer when we didn't have the pesticide residues. We had a friend who worked at the dump and he said commercial beef made him sick. I brought him some of our ground beef, and ours didn't make him sick. These kind of things cemented for me that organic agriculture is healthy agriculture. Agriculture, if it's going to work, is about supporting the plants, not killing things. It's about making your plants so healthy that they throw off the bugs. It seemed so obvious that was the way we wanted to go.
Things like having a family member with prostate cancer whose wife said the only reason the chemo wasn't killing him was because they were eating organic, and the neighbor who worked at the dump who couldn't eat processed beef just reinforced what logic seemed to indicate: that you don't want to add toxins.
Since then, I found out that cows and sheep, especially, are not seedeaters. Either are horses. They're not supposed to eat seeds, soy or corn, but grass. And it turns out when we eat grass-fed butter, for instance, there are more vitamins present that aren't when animals aren't eating grass. We really need to go back to what the plants and the animals need, and that always seemed sensible to me. And I have to say it made for really tasty lamb! I don't have a farm or market garden now and I miss having animals, but hope to have them again in the future.
How has NOFA-NH impacted your business? NOFA hasn't impacted my current business yet, but I'm looking forward to supporting organic farming because even if I cannot have animals or a garden right now it's a way to support organic from the side.
I'm doing a workshop at the Winter Conference on Stretches & Strengthening that farmers and non-farmers can do to prevent and treat low back pain. Tight muscles actually hold us halfway in the fetal position, which pulls bones out of place. Knowing that the World Health Organization declared low back pain as one of the most common pains for people, I want to support people in learning how to take care of themselves, put the bones back into place when necessary, and then teach them to be self-supporting. I would love it if patients only have to come to me when they have something exciting happen, like they lifted that extra heavy bag, or had to carry an animal.
I look forward to seeing more NOFA members because as a chiropractor I would like to support our local farming community. I'm looking for patients who want to take care of their health, who aren't looking for someone else to fix it, and that's a farmer. A farmer is someone who wants to fix an engine themselves, not call a mechanic. Someone who wants to treat their animals first before calling the veterinarian. There's a lot we can do for our health and I want that to be common knowledge.
There are very simple stretches that can be done in your own house without having to go to a gym. And I especially want farmers to know about this because they are the basis of our food chain. I want NH organic farmers to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Its enlightened self-interest, too! I feel like I'm one of the hands trying to wash the other. It feels very natural and not a stretch.
What's your number one priority for NOFA-NH this year? I have to say in this political environment just continue to exist. Gaining any traction is really helpful. Our future health as a species depends on our embracing organic agriculture to survive. So any way NOFA can continue to grow through this political time period would make me very happy.
To me, the point of NOFA and other organic organizations is that it's altruistic. It's not about making lots of money. It's about doing what's right. And this is not a very altruistic historical period. In this environment where profit is being recognized as an important factor, something that is altruistically based can be seen to be out of step with the current political environment, but the organic movement is actually trying to strengthen the branch we're standing on to make things more affordable. Having good health, surviving from cancer because we don't have pesticides in our food is ultimately profitable, but it might be coming from a more educated perspective. So I think in addition to surviving this time period, reaching out to help further educate the public is essential for NOFA, too.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a NOFA-NH member? That membership is wonderful even if you don't have a garden or a farm. Just being part of the direction that we all need to go is a wonderful thing. I wish everyone would join! The people I met at NOFA are so nice. Going to the board meetings every month was so enjoyable, a great group of people and doing things to really help everybody.
Does your business have any upcoming events you'd like to share with the community? Our Winter Conference presentation on March 18th, Session III, Stretches & Strengthening: Reduce Low Back Pain, Headaches, and Sciatica Yourself.
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