What is your “elevator speech” when describing The Farm Life Movement?
Everyone can experience the farm life, whether they live in the city or the country. To live the farm life means that you have committed your family to a modern lifestyle that honors your ancestral lifestyle before humans were plagued by inflammatory conditions and diseases. We can embrace modern advances without losing sight of ancient wisdom, but this is easier said than done! I founded The Farm Life Movement to help families find the resources and care they need to live their version of farm life and to enjoy the health that comes with that lifestyle.
Tell us about your farming background and what sparked your interest in functional medicine?
I grew up in northern Texas in the suburbs. My grandmother taught me everything I know about gardening. She was born in the 1890s. With my parents, she raised me during my early childhood years. I spent every day after elementary school at her house and learned all about homesteading and gardening. In summers, my parents would send me to my family’s dairy farm in Mississippi to learn more about animal-based farming.
When I was 18, I went to the United States Naval Academy and served as an officer for nine years. I was stationed at Little Creek and then Norfolk Naval Base. I was on the Navy’s triathlon team and was very health conscious even then.
In 2011 when I exited the Navy, I decided to move to the country, start a farm and raise my four children there. That is when functional medicine came into the picture. I was raising my children in a way my grandmother had taught me, as naturally as possible.
I kept encountering crossroads when looking for answers about their health, and much of the information was conflicting and unhealthy. By now I was trying to live off my land and raise healthy children at the same time. It began to overwhelm me. So, I went back to school for regenerative farming and functional medicine to deepen my understanding of the connection between the two.
Where did your studies take you?
I studied agriculture at Cornell, where I learned how to design permaculture food production systems. In these systems, the land works in a cyclical nature, honoring all the cycles (as opposed to relying on outside inputs and excess waste). This was the big “Aha” I was seeking as a new farmer!
Next, I studied with Chris Kresser to become an ADAPT certified practitioner. In this school, the focus was on ancestral health and learning how to interpret functional lab work. To further deepen my knowledge on functional lab interpretation, I went to Reed Davis’s school and became a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner (FDN-P).
And finally, to begin working with all ages, including children and prenatal care, I trained with Dr. William Sears and became a Sears Wellness Institute-certified health coach (CHC). I run my clinical functional medicine practice not as a doctor, but as a practitioner who teaches people about true health and how to self-treat. I do not replace a client’s doctor. I fill in the gaps between their appointments with a regular doctor.
Collectively, these trainings and certifications have allowed me to serve people from infancy and up. It gives me peace of mind that I can help parents, their children and aging parents all in one place. When they see me, there’s one stop, with no shuffling around to different doctors and practitioners.
You own a market and farmland too.