News From the Field

Taking a Community Back, One Plant at a Time

August 2016
Chicago BFA Chapter and friends have been working on revitalizing a blighted vacant lot in their neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago. Combining various approaches including hugelkultur and permaculture principles, co-leaders Annamarie Leon and Dr. Shemuel Israel have helped guide the creation of a bountiful garden space, as just as importantly a community gathering place. Where once there was an empty lot in a rough part of town, now amidst verdant edibles one might find a hot game of chess, or an older couple on a lunch date. And gathered around raised beds, a group of kids are learning about plants, about growing, and starting to think about where there food comes from.  Read the full article here.

Good Dirt: Growing Better Food in Bedford

July 2016

When I heard that Bedford farmer Doug DeCandia bought 20 tons of trap rock dust for his fields, I couldn't figure out what that had to do with a productive garden. Plus, why was he digging dirt from around skunk cabbage and also leaving some weeds growing near food crops? t's all about growing better food. Five years ago, DeCandia learned about the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) and was so convinced of its efficacy for growing nutrient-dense food that he founded a local chapter here, in Bedford, to spread the word. It's the latest approach to gardening, but there's really nothing new about it; Mother Earth has been doing it all along, well, that is, when she's given the chance to maintain plant diversity and healthy soil.  Read on...

The Groundwork for Health

Fall 2015

Recommended reading! An interview with Dan Kittredge in Heifer International's World Ark Magazine...

Drive up to Kittredge Farm in central Massachusetts, and you'll find a restored farmhouse with a post-and-beam porch, long hoop houses growing an abundance of seasonal produce and a farmer feeding a herd of beef cows with the help of his 2-year-old son. It's a classic, pastoral scene of a hardworking farm family. Stay awhile, and you'll notice a few things that are less common of a New England farm -- the mineral depot in the barn, for example, where soil amendments are stacked, pallet after pallet. Or the frequent chiming of a cell phone as people call to invite the barefooted farmer for a speaking engagement or to plan a grocery store flash mob to inspire nutrition awareness.   Read more...

Remineralize Soil to Grow Nutrient Dense Crops

February 2015

Ben and Penny Hewitt live with their two sons on a 40-acre homestead in Vermont, where they raise various livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens, and grow vegetables and fruit. Where does the family end and the homestead begin? The Nourishing Homestead (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015) explores Ben and Penny Hewitt's small homestead in Vermont as they embrace a life nourished by good food, hard work, and loving family. They use "practiculture," a multitude of practical skills and philosophies from growing nutrient dense food to soil remediation, wildcrafting, and agroforestry, to build a thriving homestead. The following excerpt on bionutrient farming is from Chapter 5, "Soil and Gardens."

How biological activity changed everything

We came to our land in the northern Vermont dairy-farming community of Cabot in 1997. At the time, the cleared portions of our 40-acre piece of property were being grazed by a neighboring dairy farmer, in the let-the-cows-grub-it-down-till-there-ain't-nothing-left manner common to the industry. In other words, the pasture was receiving a severe beating on an annual basis. That said, it could have been a lot worse...

An Interview with Jerry Brunetti

December 15, 2013

How Biological Farming Can Transform Your Food Supply for the Better: A fascinating interview with Jerry Brunetti, wherein he discusses how the entire food chain is connected to soil health, from plant and insect health, all the way up to animal and ultimately human health. Health, therefore, truly begins in the soils in which our food is grown. Building on the work of pioneers like Weston Price, WIlliam Albrecht and Louis Bromfield, Jerry Brunetti expands on a variety of strategies for optimizing plant growth to increase the nutrient quality of the foods we eat, while touching on the plant rhizosphere, plant communication and strategies of self-defense, pesticides, GMO, paramagnetism, and the future of food as medicine -- and needless to say, it all centers around the health of the soil.

The Surprising Healing Qualities... of Dirt

December 6, 2013

"I spend my days in a sterile 8x10 room practicing family medicine and yet my mind is in the soil. This is because I’m discovering just how much this rich, dark substance influences the day-to-day health of my patients. I’m even beginning to wonder whether Hippocrates was wrong, or at least somewhat misguided, when he proclaimed, 'Let food be thy medicine.' Don’t get me wrong—food is important to our health. But it might be the soil where our food is grown, rather than the food itself, that offers us the real medicine." So starts a great article by Daphne Miller, M.D., one of a growing number of scientists and health practitioners who are waking up to the fact that healthy soil equals healthy bodies.

Honoring Earth Day with nutrition programs

April 8, 2013

When it comes to a healthy diet packed with nutrients and vitamins, simply eating your veggies might not cut it anymore. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that nutrient levels in crops have continued to go down in the past three decades, raising concerns for farmers and consumers alike. At the same time, controversy over genetically modified crops continues to brew, as some advocacy groups argue the risks associated with the technique have not been properly studied. In honor of Earth Day, the Hopedale Unitarian Parish is offering in April several programs to raise awareness of several environmental debates that could impact our health and wallets, and what we can do to grow the best food possible.