Who doesn’t have gut issues these days? During the Soil Health + Gut Health = Human Health Virtual Workshop on Jan. 27, 2023, high school students from Youth Eco Solutions (YES!) teams across MN learned about the relationship between the soil ecosystem and the human gut. Jolene Carlson, licensed nutritionist and soil health advocate, revealed the ways in which that relationship influences how we think, feel, and eat.
Said one student, “I really enjoyed learning about how the fields of human health and agriculture are interconnected.” Mary Beth Botz, science teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sleepy Eye, agreed. “This workshop offered an amazing intersection between the two “disciplines” with its holistic approach.”
During the workshop, Carlson shared strategies for healing the soil and the gut for health, disease prevention, and quality of life. She offered nutritional guidelines and tools that people can use to improve their gut health and overall wellness. According to a participant, “the information we learned about how to help support good gut health is something I can apply very easily to my life!”
Botz imagines the big-picture impact of this learning experience. “[If we] see ourselves (humans) as one component within the entire ecosystem rather than observers from outside, [it] has the potential to heal both us and the environment.”
The workshop was organized by YES! Regional Coordinator Deb Groebner. Presenter Jolene Carlson serves on the board of the Soil Health Coalition and the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) Crow River Chapter, and has a small farm near Cokato. She is a former high school teacher and YES! coach.
Major support for YES! comes from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) and the National Science Foundation Grant 2147839 with UMN Institute on the Environment.