Living Democracy Citizenship Award: Dr. Frances Koe
Dr. Frances Koe is a doctor who believes in spending time with her patients at her clinic in Collinsville, Wills Valley Family Medicine. She even makes house calls when needed.
“I didn’t care if I made a lot of money. It’s nice that I can make a decent living, but the other thing is that I wanted to spend time with people. Most physicians can’t, but we do. We spend 30 to 40 minutes with every patient who comes in, ” Dr. Koe said.
As a doctor who really cares about being available for the people and giving them a voice, she actively works to make the community a better place and is a deserving recipient of the 2015 Living Democracy Citizenship Award.
Her prescriptions may include fresh fruits and vegetables. She tries to do everything she can to help patients lead healthy and productive lives.
“We try to teach them to eat really healthy and eat organic food as much as they can, whole foods, and have them take less medicine and eat better,” she said.
Dr. Koe added, “I always try to teach my folks, my diabetes people, that you can grow a garden without a lot of equipment or huge labor outputs.”
As far as the community goes, Dr. Koe makes baskets of the food that she grows and takes them to the clinic for diabetes patients, door prizes, and such when she can.
Dr. Koe said she would like to help start a farmer’s market with local and organic produce, a move that she believes would support the local economy and health. She is already involved with a school garden project in Collinsville to encourage students to eat better.
“My goal is to teach people in the community ways to live comfortably without a lot of money, without having to be rich.”
Dr. Koe said she wants to build a clinic close to her farm so she can see more people. Her 76 acres of land is dedicated to growing blackberries, blueberries, peach trees, strawberries, apples, plums, pears, apricots and more. She also grows oregano, mint, squash, and other vegetables.
This summer, she is creating a “kitchen vegetable bed” outside her front door so she can walk out quickly to grab something from the garden when cooking.
Other features of her sustainable lifestyle on the farm are the solar panels on her roof and in her fields that provide power. She lives comfortably in a 400-square-foot “tiny home” with a bedroom and loft.
She lives what she teaches and believes others around the globe can benefit from lessons she has learned. Dr. Koe said she wants to teach others simple farming practices and sustainable living. This is one reason why she established a blog, www.agroshare.com. “It’s a place for people to learn,” she said.
She said her goal is to build the online resource locally, regionally and even globally. “Each person will have their own story about what they’re doing to be sustainable and share tips.”
From farming to making house calls to teaching about health and sustainable living, Dr. Koe said she found her home in Collinsville when she started her practice eight years ago. She plans to continue farming, making house calls and teaching about health, nutrition and sustainable living.
Dr. Koe said she believes that people anywhere can accomplish as much as she has and more as long as they believe in what they want. “You can do anything.”
By Crystal Rawls
Last Updated: July 20, 2015