Farm to Fork Wyoming explores the state to learn about this burgeoning "direct to market" economy. We meet eclectic thinkers and ingenious ranchers, growers and herders, learn from experts around Wyoming about food and agricultural trends, and meet local chefs and market places where this bounty is shared.
Bear metabolism is very similar to human metabolism. Native Americans watched what their teacher, the grizzly bear, ate. The primitive diet contained plants rich in bioflavonoids, antioxidants and trace minerals. Sustained high-yield agriculture does not provide the same levels of these chemicals and trace minerals essential to human health.
John sees a doctor for his cancer symptoms and tries herbs before going under the knife. A growth on his ear and abdomen along with coughing blood disappear within 6 days. Surgery to remove cancer is cancelled. Word of mouth spreads leading John to provide consultation to those seeking alternatives, but warns that plant medicine can be toxic.
John produces archival video of Grant Bulltail, a Crow elder trained in the traditional way of memorizing old knowledge. Storytelling is done in English, Apsaalooke, and Native American Sign language to capture meanings that don’t translate. Ethnobotany is the study of a region's plants and their practical uses through the traditional knowledge of a local culture and people.
John trains with a Jemez Pueblo woman in the 1970’s who teaches him about gifts of energy. He undergoes a ceremony where he is given the gift of an animal power that subsequently visits him during times of healing.
John learns it’s possible to get Lyme Disease above 11,000 feet and by transmission through vectors other than deer ticks. When John continued to get worse after trying standard medicines, he was able to cure his disease through Chinese and Native American herbs.
John learns about medicinal plants during summers with his grandfather in the woods of New York State. He began college in biochemistry, later switching to Marine biology, and getting his degree in 1969. The Red Desert, with its marine fossils, proved an ideal home. Doing cooperative studies with the US forest service and game and fish department's led to numerable opportunities to monitor vegetation and habitat. Experimenting with native plants as food became a hobby. Modern peer reviewed research supports his discoveries.
Europeans coming to America brought a respected tradition of using medicinal plants and also learned from the Native Americans. Familiar plants could be found to treat diseases, but malaria presented a problem. Sagebrush didn’t grow in New England, but Native American trade networks provided this remedy to early settlers. Chinese people also used sagebrush for malaria.
Individual healers specialized in five or six plants, sharing knowledge about how to manage, collect, and use them and identify symptoms. There were many different healers within a village, each with their own specialty; people who understood certain types of medicine were spread throughout different societal structures. Hawthorn was widely used to help with the aging process. Today, we know that hawthorn berries contain a capillary-strengthening antioxidant.
John describes how the chemical components in plant medicine have been isolated and identified and turned into synthetic drugs in modern times. He describes how plants such as white willow and cottonwood have been used in their natural plant form. These plant based synergistic compounds have been used by Native Americans to treat pain, headaches and inflammation.
John describes a 400 mile expedition down the Omo River in Ethiopia collecting and identifying plant specimens. After classifying elephant tree as being in the milkweed family, he demonstrates the protein dissolving effect of the plants proteolytic enzyme by dissolving a wart on the skin. This explained its usefulness as a meat tenderizer. A glycoside, also found in the elephant tree has benefits for heart ailments. A Mursi medicine man confirms that the plant is used in two of the same ways Native Americans use it’s related species the milkweed, as a meat tenderizer and heart medicine. Modern chemistry confirms the viability of both of those uses.
Jackson to Star Valley (Farm to Fork Wyoming): Exploring some of the surprising bounty harvested from Wyoming's "Zone 4" landscape.
Community Supported Agriculture (Farm to Fork Wyoming): Community Supported Agriculture is not new to Wyoming.
Farm to Fork Wyoming - Beekeeping: Explore the subtle life of bees through the eyes of Jack States and Rene Sollars
Farm To Fork Wyoming - Food Freedom Part 1: The controversy surrounding some of foods we eat and what it means for the small farmer.
The Story of Compost, Part 2: Various methods are converting ‘waste’ back into rich humus, the building block of soil.
John’s Lifetime of Learning: Childhood lessons about herbal collecting alongside John’s Polish grandfather.
Wyoming PBS is proud to announce the receipt of a Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy® award for its "Farm to Fork Wyoming: School Lunch" episode, which was recognized during the 2015 Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy® Awards in October 2015. The program, which was written and produced by Stefani Smith, was submitted under the "Public/Current/Community Affairs" category. Matthew Wright served as the lead videographer/editor for the project. You may read the entire press release here.