How they can help fix our health and food systems

By Sarah Andrysiak

At the National Farmers Union convention this spring, a roomful of farmers listened attentively to Marydale DeBor, who was pitching a new idea.

“I am looking for you to be doctors to the world,” she said. A board member of the New England Farmers Union and delegate to the convention, DeBor has a vision for food’s role in health care: “Food is Primary Care.” It’s the tagline for her consulting company, Fresh Advantage (, which works with institutions nationwide to create health-driven and mission-aligned food service operations.

Indeed, good nutrition can help address many of our nation’s health challenges. A root cause of our poor health is a food system gone wrong: ubiquitous processed food laden with excess salt, sugar and fat, along with inadequate access to healthy food for many. Poor diet contributes to public health problems of obesity and related chronic diseases – diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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