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The Learning Tree

Spiritual leader Chiu-Nan Lai found healing in Bob Cannard's crops

By Christina Waters

With a doctorate in chemistry from MIT, Chiu-Nan Lai did cancer research at the University of Texas for a decade until she walked away from Western science to found the Land of the Medicine Buddha spiritual center in Soquel. Today she lectures on Chinese healing techniques throughout the Pacific Rim through her Santa Cruz-based Lapis Lazuli Light Institute. Lai also provides healing therapy to the gravely ill, partially through the use of natural foods grown by Bob Cannard.

"My father is a soil chemist," Lai says. "I've been brought up with chemistry and my grandfather started two agricultural colleges, so I already believed that soil was fundamental to a country's health. When I would teach in Taiwan, I was frustrated because there was only pesticide-laced food, and many of the people I was trying to help couldn't get the right food."

When a friend put Lai in touch with Cannard's naturally farmed foods, she invited him to speak at a health workshop.

"It's really heartwrenching for me to watch the cancer rates rise as Asia becomes more allegedly modern in its farming techniques," Lai says. "I told Bob that I was in despair, and he offered to grow some things for my cancer patients." The food Cannard grew proved a revelation even to the Chinese medical practitioner. Beet- root broth was found to be an especially potent supplement to the total health package--which includes diet and lifestyle changes--championed by Lai and her Lapis Lazuli Light Institute colleagues.

"Now Bob's farm is one of the favorite stops for visiting Asian health practitioners involved in our work," Lai says.

Lai also uses Cannard's specially dried fruits, wheatgrass and root crops to introduce the uninitiated on three continents to healthful food. "Once they know what good food tastes like, they finally realize what they're missing. Bob's food is an education. His sensitivity to the plant world goes beyond organic farming. He communicates with the plant world and really understands soil."

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From the April 4-10, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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