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330. Playing in the Dirt: The key to sustainable health! | Pastos Verdes Farm and Wellness Farmer Podcast | Dr. Benjamin Page D.C. | Argentina
2nd August 2020 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:54:25

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Benjamin Page from the Pastos Verdes Farm in Argentina

Playing in the Dirt: The key to sustainable health!


My Garden Journal


Jackie Marie Beyer (8m 17s):

Welcome to the Green Organic Gardener Podcast. Today is Friday, July 10, 2020.

And I have an awesome guest on the mic who's written a fantastic book called Playing in the dirt. He's a chiropractor. He's got an awesome Instagram channel and just, I know we're going to learn a ton today. So here to share all sorts of golden seeds with us is Benjamin Page. So welcome to the show. Ben Ben, right?

Ben Page (8m 46s):

Yeah. It's been yep. Most people call me Ben, Benjamin is my real name, but Ben is what most people call me. I think there's three people in the world that call me Benny and two of passed away. So it's down just one, but yeah, most people call me then. Yeah. So it's great to be on the show. It's great to be with you.

Jackie Marie Beyer (9m 1s):

Well, thanks. Well, I'm so excited. Oh yeah. And you also have a podcast, the wellness farmer podcast. So listeners like I've been like jonesing for some good podcasts. Listen to this winner like at that kind of has changed lately.

Cause I think I've been to over a thousand podcasts websites in the last month working for this new podcast or I'm just doing research, trying to find podcasts where she would be a good fit as a guest.

And it's just been fascinating, but even still out of like the thousand websites, I've only found, I think four that I've actually added to my phone and less than a dozen that I've checked out and been like, Oh, this might be good.


Jackie Marie Beyer (9m 39s):

So I am excited. I am been thinking, I wish more people would share more podcasts. Like people that I listen to would share more. So the Wellness Farmer, I know listeners are going to love that.


Ben Page (9m 53s):

Yeah, that's what I tried. I mean, it's more of a wellness farmer at the moment. But at the, when I started the podcast, I was a farmer. I actually raised a meat on pasture. So chicken, sorry, chicken on pasture. And that's why that's where the podcast kind of got its name.

Jackie Marie Beyer (10m 10s):

Well, do you want to tell us about that or I want to kind of hear a little bit about that was that down. So you're in Argentina. Was that down in Argentina or like where was that?

Ben Page (10m 21s):

And that was before we came to Argentina, we opened, so I was working with a chiropractor for about five years and then I've left and opened my own clinic. And at the same time I started a farming enterprise. And what I did is I raised chickens on pasture in a place in Southern Utah. And that's where I was raising the chicken on pasture and at the very end imagining.


Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

And, but some of the books that helped me were, I mean, some of the books I recommend are that books by Joel Salatin and who has a great enterprise and he's done great work, but I basically did what Joel Salitan does.

Ben Page (10m 52s):

I made my own version of coops with as domes. I didn't use his version. I made a don't coop and I would just, I would let the, let the chickens run, run on pasture while every day I moved the move to the coop to fresh green grass and tell you the truth. That was probably my favorite time of the day. I worked in the, in the farm on the morning. And then I worked in my clinic in the afternoon and waking up and going, moving those, those coops and watching those chickens run forward and eating all that fresh green grass and the bugs that were present was just beautiful.

Ben Page (11m 24s):

I loved, it was such a great time that I'll never forget those times. And I'd like to actually get back into it because it was so much, it was so neat to be able to do that and work as a chiropractor at the same time. We did that for about a year though, because the sales weren't that good. So that's kind of why I stopped doing it, but I would like to get back into it for sure. When it was, it was a great time.


Jackie Marie Beyer (11m 48s):

So you were selling the chickens for meat or the eggs?

Ben Page (11m 52s):

The chicken. Yeah. So we, yeah, so I did all the processing on form two. That was, those were busy days. Processing is we're very busy, but yeah, we, we raised chicken for meat.

Jackie Marie Beyer (12m 6s):

Well, that's good because the, you know, the big Purdue ones are so bad for our planet and just, you know, these giant chicken farms, you just, and I feel so bad for those chickens. So we lost our chickens. There's like a grizzly bear problem in our area for slate. They kill off all the grizzly bears and then they like relocate them. And so many people are moving in. I don't know what's going on in the mic. And I have lived here for 27 years now. We've been married and out of those, like 25 of them, we've had chickens.

Jackie Marie Beyer (12m 36s):

We've never had a problem until the last two years. And one chicken survived last spring, we finally had baby chicks and one of the baby checks, minister escaped like showed up 30 days after the grizzly bear had been through. And we thought the whole thing, everybody was gone. All of a sudden here comes this chicken and she made it all the way until this spring. And we got a rooster and two days after the rooster, boom, they both here came the grizzly bear again. But like everybody in our neighborhood has been posting pictures of this bear. And it's just been like, I don't know. Anyway.

Jackie Marie Beyer (13m 6s):

So kind of like I, so miss having chickens and fresh eggs, it's driving me crazy. I want to get some new ones, but we have to fix fence. I mean, he just is amazing how big this bear was. I'm always picturing what he must have look like. And I've seen pictures now because other people have posted on Facebook that did get a picture of them. But just like them image of him, like tearing down this chicken house that we had, he didn't tear it down, but he like took the roost and like shoved one of the poles from the roost, right through the particle board wall.

Jackie Marie Beyer (13m 39s):

And I'm like, Mike cannot get it out. Like this bear had to be huge. And just that, if he got, it was so sad that after all these years, we finally had BB chickens that hatched and we're growing and we're doing good. And then only one of them survived. And then she made it through a year, all by her lonely self. And then as soon as we got the rooster, two days later, they both,

Ben Page (13m 58s):

Oh, that is terrible. Ate by a bear. I'm like, good. That's even worse.


Jackie Marie Beyer (14m 4s):

Oh yeah. I know. I just, and I didn't even get to see the bear. That's the worst part. Like, I mean, anyway, but we're not here to talk about us. The other thing I wanted to say is, and this is totally off topic, but I just like keep a story I saw on the news the other day, it keeps going through my head about these poor people that they're worried about. They're going to get COVID like, I don't know, in Africa or somewhere that these people are so poor that they have to keep the chickens under their beds because they're worried that people will steal them and they're sleeping with these chickens and it's not that they're going to get COVID they get some other bird disease.

Jackie Marie Beyer (14m 39s):

And like, it's just so sad to me that there are people living in conditions that they are show worried they have to keep the chickens under their beds.

Ben Page (14m 47s):

I know that's terrible. I mean, yeah. The amount of that can understand that because what the chickens leave behind is probably a lot worse than a contact in COVID 19. And that's probably for sure. That's one of the things I talk about in my new book is that dirt is beautiful, but you want to kind of stay away from dirt that's got poop in it. That's that's the dirt you don't want to be close to.

Jackie Marie Beyer (15m 12s):

Well, I didn't realize, like, since I started my podcast, like I had no idea you can't put like chicken manure or any kind of like manure, like if you're a market farmer, there's like 120 days you're supposed to wait between when you like apply them a manure. And when you can plant your vegetable seeds or whatever, or before the produce, I don't know. I know there's like that 120 day rule, so,

Ben Page (15m 35s):

Oh yeah. I always, I always compost on manure first. I was throwing in my compost bin before I actually throw it on my, my garden beds.

Jackie Marie Beyer (15m 43s):

Yeah. So anyway, I'm going to stop talking and let you tell us, but I do always start the show. Ben asking you about like your very first gardening experience. Like, were you a kid, were you an adult? What'd you grow and who were you with?

Ben Page (15m 57s):

I'm going to talk about my first experience I had as an adult, because there's another, there's another question that talks about where I'm going. Actually I'll talk about as a kid, but my first gardening experience as adult being a married adult was that was when I was in Palmer College of Chiropractic. I was in my last

year and I was studying about what's called modern survivalism and the garden kept on coming up and I've gardened my, basically my whole life as you as I'll talk about later. But I had stopped since I had moved in it hasn't had been many years since I'd done it.

Ben Page (16m 32s):

And I wanted to get back into it more than anything, grow food for my family. And I was at college. We were very poor and we hadn't no way to buy any materials. So what I did is I won't go on walks with my wife. Every time we fight, find planks thrown out in the trash, we'd ask the owner for, take them. And we got enough plugs where I could build a planter box. And we also found two, no three flower pots that were thrown out. And I asked if I could take them. And they said, yes. So my very first garden as adult was a planter box, that was two feet by four feet by a foot deep and three flowerpots.

Ben Page (17m 11s):

And they were full of tomatoes and peppers. And that's it.

That was my very first garden as adult man.

It was, it was those 15 minutes a day that I took just to, just to be with those plants. I mean, it was such a calming experience. It helped me so much and, and leave the busy life of school, which was insane at that time. And just be in the present moment and do something good by taking care of some plants and then eventually enjoying the tomatoes and peppers that, that came from those plants.

Ben Page (17m 44s):

So that was, that was my very first garden as an adult, one little teeny planter box and three flower pots full of peppers and tomatoes. And that was in Davenport, Iowa.

Jackie Marie Beyer (17m 58s):

Well, it's amazing how starting small like that, especially when you're super busy, like, I think that's like super encouraging and some golden seeds you're dropping for my audience because they know I'm always super busy like this summer, even though I'm working online and I'm home a lot, like I'm just exhausted. Like you tried to spend six hours on a computer and see, like, I don't want to go for a walk. I don't want to do anything.

And I am so lucky cause I go sit in the garden and read a book and water and just like, I'll set the water thing out for like six minutes or nine minutes on my thing and just sit there and just unlax after staring at a computer and still ideas are floating through my head and things that, but yeah, it's amazing how coming and then college, right?

Jackie Marie Beyer (18m 42s):

Like I remember when I was in college to get my elementary degree, like I can tell you how long everything took, whether it by the second, like I was like, this is a 62nd task and this is a two, you know, two minute task. And this is like a 92nd tasks. Like I just like, you're so busy when you're in college. It's crazy. I don't know how you do it with a family.


Ben Page (19m 1s):Oh, it was, it was, those were very long days. I mean, I, my first year at Palmer, it was, I would go to bed. This was an average, I'd go to bed at eight o'clock at night, wake up at 12 or one in the morning studying until six or seven, then go to school. And we were school for all day. I mean, we had about like the average is about 32 credit hours a week for basically at a full time job. All, we also had to study for tests and take the test and then I'd come home at six or seven in the afternoon on hanging out with my family for a little while.

Ben Page (19m 34s):

Then I'd go back to bed at eight o'clock and I'd get back up at one o'clock in the morning. I mean, it was, it was, but that was before I started the game. Once I was in the third year, it was a little bit more relaxed on a little bit more time, but yeah, it was, it was not easy. I'll tell you that for sure. It wasn't easy, but those moments, like I said,

Playing in the Dirt- The key to sustainable health!

Playing in the Dirt: The key to sustainable health!

and I write about it in my book because the book, my book playing in the dirt, which it's called playing in the dirt, I talked about how the, not just the soiling gardens, but how nature is so important to our health as human beings. And we're in it's we're involved.

Ben Page (20m 4s):

I mean, we need to be involved with her to, to truly reach our health potential. And it's one of the things that, that garden data's that helped me be in the present. It was, it was kind of a type of, there's a meditation there's meditation at its best. It just brought me back to the present. I forgot about them like tests. I forgot all of the anxieties of the future. All the, all the times I missed a bone test on in, in the past. I mean, it just brought me back and it just felt great. I remember it was just that little teeny, teeny gardens. So starting small is, is a great way to go.

Jackie Marie Beyer (20m 35s):

I agree. Whole heartedly. So how did you learn how to garden organically? Did you please do that? Did your family do that or,

Ben Page (20m 46s):

Yeah, that's, that's what I was gonna talk about.

My parents

My parents they've always, I mean, it was before he was in college, they did it before it was called organic garden. They just gardens and they didn't use pesticides or anything like that. And we did, I mean, in the, during the winter, we'd go get the manure, put the manure on top of the, on top of the garden, all the cut down, all the, all the, all the partners that we don't eat and let it decompose. And then we take the rotor tiller and roto-till it all in. And then we plan our garden every year. And that's what I did with my parents until I was until I was 10 years old.

Ben Page (21m 18s):

I mean, these gardens were huge to me, it felt like the rows of corns were never ending. Cause that's the, those are the roles I had to weed, but of course I was a little kid at that time. I don't know how long they really work, but was a kid. I was like, does this ever end, am I ever going to get done with this?

And that's, and that's how we lived for the first 10 years of my life, organic garden, but without the organic in front of it, it was just gardening. And that's how it was when I was a kid. And I looked, some of my fondest memories were of those times to tell you the truth. I mean, when I was an adolescent, I do have other nice memories, but those memories of, of the garden and being outside or some of my fondest memories that I love.


Ben Page (21m 57s):

And that's how I got into organic gardening before it even was called organic.

Jackie Marie Beyer (22m 3s):

Well, I'm going to tell you, Ben, I'm hoping there's a podcast by Angela Watson who runs a podcast called truth for teachers that I love. And she's like one of the only people I hear out there talking about, imagine what our schools can become.

Imagine like, and I always picture, like when I went to Paris through are so, many more gardens and parks and places than there are, I find like in cities in the States. And I really feel like we kids, like you say, they love being in the garden.

And as we're finding, if teachers are going to go back to school in the fall and they're going to be responsible for kids and trying to social distance, like let's get these kids outside in the gardens so they can have great memories like you have.

Ben Page (22m 46s):

Totally agree. Oh my goodness. I wish schools had, I wish schools had gardens. All schools should have a garden. I mean, it's just, we should all learn about these things. It's it's it's, to me, it's kind of sad that most people don't even know how to plant a seed. Most people don't know how to plant a seed.

Most people don't know how to take care of a plant. And most people don't even know where their food even comes from anymore. So, I mean, I think that would be great for the kids and that's that's knowledge that's that that should be widespread. You know, everyone should be, I mean, you don't have to, but at least knowledge that you should have.

Jackie Marie Beyer (23m 22s):

Yeah. I mean, and there's so many lessons you can do in the garden. There's science and there's math and there's writing.

  • And one kid maybe wants to keep a journal and draw the insects.
  • And one kid's going to measure, you know, how long is the length of the row or how long is this bed?
  • And another, kid's going to compare how big are these Peapod's and
  • just, there's so many lessons that the kids can do and they can, you know, I

just think you have to be more...