News From the Field

Growing Food for Nutrition

Winter 2020

Imagine a future where your food's nutritional profile was available at your fingertips. Not via a simplified, back-of-pack label, but a real-time snapshot of the nutrient density within the vegetable in your hands. It's a future where our understanding of what is in our food can tell us how well it's been grown. Most of the food that is grown and eaten today is linked to the abundance of wealth not health. In the last 70 years, food production has measured success by external factors such as yield and appearance. In this same period, soil fertility has reduced (Arsenault, 2014), food has lost its nutrients (Mayer, 1997) and the prevalence of diet-related, non-communicable diseases continue to rise (Branca et al, 2019). These trends are associated with a reductionist approach that attempts to dominate nature and, therefore, does not recognise the links between soil, food and healthy ecosystems.   Read the full article...

Empirical Nutrient Testing

November 2019

I've been waiting a decade to write this column. I'm always squeamish about touting something too early. Like friend and fellow pastured poultry enthusiast Andy Lee always said: “I don't want to hear ‘I'm gonna;’ I want to hear ‘I did.’” How many times have businesses or well-spoken visionaries described "gonna" and everything falls off the rails before it happens? Or it runs out of steam or out of money or the concept doesn't work. The point is I'm pretty conservative about making announcements too early, so I've sat on this one almost to the point of embarrassment but it was worth the wait. Do I have your attention now? Good.   Read the full article...

We Can Solve These Problems

May 12, 2017

The Bionutrient Food Association is working with producers to establish growing practices that yield more nutritious crops, while developing a standard for nutrient-dense foods and a handheld tool to measure those nutrient levels. The idea behind the tool is to use existing technology, like the camera in a Smartphone, to scan produce right in the grocery store, measuring the nutrient-density of the consumer’s food options. The Association’s mission is to empower consumers to choose the most nutrient-dense foods, ultimately rewarding farmers for their improved growing practices. Read the full article...

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...

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... Read on