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Conference on connection between nutrition and mental health disorders

In the summer of 2022, Carrie Sacco, RN of Inspiring Nutritional Choices, gave us a call to share her big idea: a conference in the Berkshires that would look at the exciting discussions happening at the intersection of nutrition and mental health. She had known of Gould Farm for some time and the way our therapeutic program is closely tied to stewardship of the land through farming and gardening.

Carrie had already confirmed friend and colleague, Jeffrey Rediger, MD, to be the keynote speaker. Dr. Rediger is an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and medical director for the McLean SouthEast Adult Psychiatric Programs. He has a Master of Divinity degree and publishes in the fields of medicine, psychiatry, and spirituality. Dr. Rediger had recently published his book, Cured, in which he,

"...digs down to the root causes of illness, showing how to create an environment that sets the stage for healing".

When I asked Carrie why this conference is needed now, she thoughtfully replied:

"Historically we have separated the body from the mind. We often think of them as two separate entities. We know that nutrition has an effect on diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. Research now supports that it also influences the functioning of our brains, and impacts mental health disorders. Tending to nutrition is good for every aspect of our being.

There are a number of researchers who are delving further into the role of nutrition and its connection with mental health disorders. To have some of them come together to present their findings to the public is powerful and I hope it will inspire healthcare professionals to put the research into practice. It is for this reason that I decided a conference was needed."

Carrie wanted Gould Farm, and specifically board member Laurie Heatherington, PhD, to come to the conference and speak about our 20-year outcomes study and discuss our century-long relationship with the land at Gould Farm, and how it ties daily into the healing and recovery process for our guests.

In addition to Dr. Rediger and Gould Farm, Carrie has assembled an incredible line-up of speakers, including:

  • Susan Masino, PhD - who will discuss the link between public policy and brain health.

  • Georgia Ede, MD - who will discuss the ketogenic diet and mental health disorders.

  • Jus Crea Giammarino, ND, PhD - who will discuss the impact of nutrition on substance use and mental health disorders as related to land and food sovereignty for indigenous people of the Northeast.

  • Drew Ramsey, MD - who will discuss nutrients supportive of brain health: studies and practical implementation.

  • Jeremy Rock Smith - who will speak to the practicalities of choosing, storing, and preparing healthful foods.

To wrap up the conference and help attendees process all that they learn over the weekend, Gould Farm's executive director, Lisanne Finston, MSW, MDiv, will moderate a table discussion.

The conference will be held in-person July 7th - 9th 2023 at Kripalu in Lenox, Massachusetts. It will also be live-streamed for anyone interested in attending remotely.


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