Farm to Medicine Cabinet is Exactly What US Health Care Needs

By Samantha Melamed of

“People are getting exhausted with conventional health care and want to turn to something safe that doesn’t have harmful side effects,” said Midkiff. (Adverse effects from herbal supplements send an estimated 20,000 people a year to the emergency room, still fewer than the 700,000 annual emergency visits associated with pharmaceuticals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

But small producers also are running into financial hurdles and regulatory pitfalls, including the specter of being shut down by the Food and Drug Administration.

It’s not yet a full-time living for most, including Midkiff, who with Jamie Sims, 29, sublets 1.1 acres.

It’s slow, labor-intensive work, Midkiff said, as she cut stems of calendula to make a healing oil. The brilliant orange blossoms must be harvested by hand, just as they open, then laid out to dry slowly in the drying room, in the loft of a 1702 stone barn.


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