Alan Greene emailed this dispatch from Italy:
While attending the 16th IFOAM Organic World Congress, Cheryl and I met a delightful man from the Netherlands named Martien Lankester, executive director of Avalon. He is a physician, teacher, and organic farmer. He remarked that doctors should become more like teachers, teaching people about health rather than just prescribing medicines; teachers should become more like farmers, planting seeds of wonder in their students rather than just giving information; and farmers should become more like doctors, healing the soil rather than just harvesting crops.
I like taking all three roles together as one metaphor of Participatory Medicine — all of us acting as physician, teacher, and farmer at once — teaching people about their health, so they can care for each other and be their own primary care providers, planting seeds of wonder about our own bodies and about the interaction of our bodies with the biosphere, and nurturing the growth of healthy habits and healthy environments for us all.