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Local Farming

Jan 12, 2017, 10:50 AM by Gerri French, MS, RDN, CDE
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Gerri French, MS, RD, CDE is one of our certified diabetes educators who is committed to creating interesting ways to improve the health of our patients and our community. We asked her to tell us about her latest farm adventures.

Why are you interested in farms?

I love farmland; seeing food grow in a healthy environment surrounded by flowering plants, birds, bees and other wildlife “feeds my soul”. I created the Santa Barbara Food and Farm Adventures to increase awareness and understanding between the connection of fresh, local foods, good health and our environment. The inspiration for farm tours began with an adult education class entitled, “Walk with the Farmer and the Cook” which was very popular. Farm Tours are an ideal and fun way to learn about local food production. Not to mention that farm tours give our farmers the opportunity to share their passion for preserving the soil and wildlife while growing delicious, nourishing foods for this community.

What happens on a farm tour?

Each farmer gives us a tour of their farm and demonstrates their particular method of growing food without the use of intensive, conventional fertilizers and pesticides. Topics of discussion include composting, cover crops and beneficial insects, dealing with gophers, deer and pests. The gardeners in the group eagerly ask questions of interest. We usually sample fruits and vegetables out in the field and food is often available for purchase.

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What is the Santa Barbara Food and Farm Adventures Meetup group?

The Adult Education class transitioned to a Meetup Group to give people the ability to pick and choose which farm tours they want to attend. was started after 9/11 to get likeminded people together; it is nationwide. The Santa Barbara Food and Farm Adventures Meetup Group meets every two weeks at various locations and/or carpools to events to learn the secrets of Santa Barbara’s sensational cuisine. In addition to farms that grow vegetables and fruits, we visit cattle, chicken and hog farms, farmers markets, restaurants, culinary stores, wineries, the harbor and many more.

What is culinary medicine?

As a long time “foodie,” I believe that fresh food is culinary medicine in addition to physical activity, especially outside with nature. To support this belief, I developed a class entitled “Walk with the Doctor and the RD.” Physicians, dietitians and farmers
are genuinely interested in improving our health. Nutrition is an important component to good health, quality of life and longevity, physicians and farmers would agree.

Gerri French, Registered Dietitian
Gerri French, MS, is a registered dietician (RD) and a certified diabetes educator (CDE) at Sansum Clinic. Gerri has been a clinical nutritionist and cooking instructor for 30 years. You can find out more or register for one of our nutrition classes or other health education programs online or by calling toll free (866) 829-0909.

Learn more about nutrition counseling at Sansum Clinic. >