“It wasn’t me,” states Stanley James, M.D., in response to the buzz around the garden at his practice, Premier Health and Wellness Centre, in Hamilton, Bermuda, and the initiative of giving free organic vegetables to his senior patients. He believes the idea to plant a garden was God-inspired, and that his gifting of vegetables is a great way to put a smile on the faces of his patients and encourage them toward healthy eating.
“Why are you paying money to keep the grass down, when you can pay that same money to bring food up?” is the question James says the Lord asked him several times as he walked by the grassy area next to his office. He saw that this plot of grass could become a platform for sharing the message of healing. In September 2019, he employed JaVaughn Dill of Dill Pickle Farming to remove the grass, fertilize the ground, and plant a garden.
Several kinds of vegetables, including kale, bok choy, onions, beets, carrots, tomatoes, collard greens, and mustard greens, grow in the garden, which yielded its first crop in December.
“Food is our first medicine,” James explains, “and nutrition is the first form of healing. Educating and modeling, not just teaching, is important.” Therefore, he walks with his patients through the garden and explains the benefits of plant-based foods. Some tell him stories of when they used to garden, and how, maybe, they can garden again.
“It was incredibly satisfying to see the smile on the face of a senior today when I handed her some vegetables,” James said. “When I told her it was free, she looked at me twice and shook her head. She could not believe it.” Another senior happened by. “I have something for you too,” James told him.
“Yes, I was hoping there was something in there for me.” He had heard about the garden and had come to see for himself.
When James opened his practice in 2015, it was with the idea of creating a center of health and wholeness built around the principles of the Adventist lifestyle. Principles of prevention, the reversal of chronic illnesses through education, exercise, eating plant-based foods, and the use of evidence-based medicine is his practice model.
“Lifestyle change is an exciting way to treat people,” he says. “We can take all the pills and procedures in the world, and I don’t care how old you are—no pill or procedure is as powerful as prevention. I can get you off some of the pills if you eat right. I can also get you to live a richer life by trusting and obeying God’s natural laws. We may need medicine, but why not try God’s pharmacy first?”
James adds, “They are my patients, and I am going to give them the best of everything I can give them. I was 11 when I became an Adventist, and I’ve been blessed by the knowledge of God, His love, and His laws. God has been good to me and has shown me a way that I can help others. I wish to continue the principles of educating people on how to eat healthily. I desire to grow into the image of Christ, and just as plants grow by beholding the sun, we can grow by beholding the Son.”