A Whirlwind of Possibilities: Two Weeks in Five Cities Around the World

This last month I had a traveling marathon for the better part of two weeks that was unusual, even for me. On the 11th of April, I headed to Missoula, Montana to speak at the 2016 Mansfield Conference on Innovation and Imagination in Global Health. This day-long event was held on April 12th at the University of Montana and consisted of panels and keynote speakers examining how new technology, new ideas, and new challenges are changing the nature of health care and how we view health, both at home and across the world. Local and international speakers covered a broad range of topics, from delivery systems to big data, to human behavior and environmental factors in regards to health.

My topic, Food and Health: How Food Innovation Transforms Global Health, focused on our research results comparing modern and ancient wheat. I suggested that chronic disease may be prevented or reduced by substituting food that causes inflammation—such as modern wheat—with food that is anti-inflammatory—such as ancient wheat. Overall, there was not much discussion of food at the conference, so mine was an unusual approach. No doctors came up to visit with me about my lecture afterwards, but many from the medical field were very enthusiastic and supportive. Later in the afternoon, many of the speakers were hosted in homes for a progressive dinner where small groups dropped by and discussed our lecture in an informal setting. That was a very enjoyable event.

The next day I drove the three and a half hours north to Great Falls, where I spent the night, before catching an early flight to Milan, Italy the next day. In Milan, I met with our scientific coordinator, Emanuela Simonetti, and the nutritionist and team doctor for the Milan soccer team. The team is eating KAMUT® Brand pasta and many have commented that they feel more energized and are recovering from hard practices faster after eating our pasta. So we’re collaborating on setting up an experiment to see if these feelings could be substantiated with changes in blood markers for inflammation and fatigue. These studies may lend support to KAMUT® Brand products being promoted for sports nutrition.

By Friday I was flying into London and meeting with Patrick Holford Saturday morning where we planned our lecture for the Natural and Organic Food Expo which started on Sunday. Patrick is a leading nutritional expert in the UK and has taken an interest in our published research studies. I also met with Nele Calebert, our regional director for Northwest Europe, at the Expo and together we had a chance to visit some of our customers. For our lecture, Nele had brought literature to hand out and our particular lecture hall had seating for 50 but there were over 120 in attendance! The people were very enthusiastic about the presentation and asked many questions. The Expo itself lasted two days and was well attended. I met many old friends there and made some new ones. The interest in organic food is growing all over the world.

Europe Reflection2While in London, I also met with Bruce Pearce to discuss the ancient grain conference I am helping to plan in St. Petersburg next year. Bruce works with populations of wheat best suited for organic productions on the Elm Farm, which is an organic research institute in the UK. Early on Tuesday I met with a few potential customers for our KAMUT® grain snacks, Kracklin’ Kamut, and organic safflower oil from The Oil Barn® before flying to Madrid.

In Madrid, I met Rebecca Rossi, our Italian regional director, and she had set up a series of interviews for Wednesday to introduce our KAMUT® grain products to Spain. The interviews went very well and I was very happy with the results.

Europe Reflection3On Thursday I flew back to Great Falls, Montana and on Friday I drove to Spokane to help my dad’s brother, Joe, and his wife move. Uncle Joe had a number of family treasures he wanted me to have since they no longer had the room for them. It was great to see them and visit cousins I had not seen for some time. After celebrating my aunt and uncle’s 66th wedding anniversary, I pointed my loaded pickup toward home. I got as far as Missoula before stopping for the night. On Sunday I finally pulled into the drive, a full two weeks after leaving for my multicity adventure. And what an adventure! It was an action-packed couple of weeks with a great deal of possibilities, but as always, I was glad to be home.