I have some good news to share with you this month — yes, good news. Western Growers and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have become partners in the fight against cancer. Both organizations want people to live long, healthy lives, and that means encouraging people to adopt better diets along with other healthy lifestyle habits. Western Growers’ members grow some of the best and most nutritious food that helps prevent all kinds of diseases including diabetes and heart disease. The ACS acknowledges and appreciates the role nutrition plays in fighting cancer. The ACS says, “Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of cancer.” That’s a strong testimonial for the work our members do and one that fits us very well.
A book by Patrick Quillin called, Beating Cancer with Nutrition, explains some of the science and benefits of a healthy, cancer-fighting diet. In addition to eliminating sugar (constant high blood glucose levels yield many diseases) and replacing the wrong kind of fats with healthy fats (fish and flax oil for example), he lays out the benefits of proper nutrition for the immune system and the healing power of certain foods. Among his list of the “best” foods are: leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, oranges, pears, cantaloupe, apricots, onions, tomatoes, asparagus and more. Sound familiar? When we say we grow the best medicine in the world, we aren’t just being clever.
Did you know that berries have Ellagic acid that induces “suicide” in cancer cells, or that Lycopenes from tomatoes help to suppress cancer growth? There is something called Genistein in soy, glutathione in green leafy vegetables, and S-allyl cysteine in garlic. All are examples of the new scientifically-validated cancer fighters of the 21st century. The ACS says, along with Quillin, “Eat as much colorful vegetables as your colon can tolerate.” We can certainly get behind that.
But if produce is so good for people, why isn’t consumption soaring? There are several reasons, as we all know, that we continually work to overcome as individual marketers, as a trade association and as an industry. One impediment is particularly bothersome to me.
There are a myriad of marketing messages and admonitions “out there” telling consumers that conventional produce is “pesticide-laced,” or “dirty,” and that organic is “better.” We see that consumers are overwhelmed with conflicting information about the safety and efficacy of fresh produce even though we know the science doesn’t support that opinion. Both are good and healthy for consumers. Cancer survivors who have shared their stories with me simply want to eat lots of produce. As growers of both, we give consumers choices and those choices are based on many factors. Pesticide residues found at levels of a fraction of a part per million (ppm), when found at all, should not be among those factors. One recommendation has agreement among health experts, government agencies and even many environmental groups: “Conventional and organic produce is safe and we should all be eating more every day for improved health and a longer life.” Organic or conventional, produce is nutritious and people should fill half their plates with it.
WG will be supporting the ACS in several ways and vice versa. ACS will lend us its logo to use on our website and in many of our marketing materials, providing us with the recognition and acknowledgement that our products help fight and prevent this life-threatening disease. This recognition adds value to what we do and expresses our support for the work of the American Cancer Society. We will support some ACS fund-raising events like the 100th Anniversary celebrations and the Los Angeles Birthday Ball to be held later this month, among other events. There will be wellness programs for employees and members to take advantage of. This is good news for everyone.
In the words of the ACS, Western Growers is a “company that understands the power of healthy choices and is ready to stand on the front lines to finish the fight against cancer.”
We are proud to join the fight.
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Western Growers members care deeply for the food they grow, the land they sustain, the people they employ, and the community in which they live.