Proving regenerative agriculture yields nutrient-dense food
Bethany Davis, MegaFood Director of Advocacy, Impact & Government Affairs | Aug. 2020
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
Is it common for dietary supplement company to do ground-breaking agricultural research? Well, no, but we have never been a normal dietary supplement company!
We are thrilled to announce that we funded and launched a five-year project to study how regenerative agriculture practices affect nutrition levels in food!
If you’ve hung with us for a while, you know that our mission is to change the world, starting with food. And when we notice something missing in the world, we aim to do something about it. And in this case, what we feel is missing is high-quality agricultural research on how regenerative agriculture may increase the nutrient density of food.
Fruits and vegetables have gradually become less nutrient dense over the last 50 years due to our industrial, chemical-heavy agricultural practices. This means you can eat the same healthy diet as a few decades ago but get less nutrition from your fruits and veggies. To build a thriving, healthy world, nutrient-dense food is key and we believe that healthy soil is the key to healthier food!Footnote 1
We are deeply committed to regenerative agriculture as a way to draw down carbon, improve soil health, and to yield more nutrient dense food. While there is a lot of evidence that healthier soil yields healthier food, there actually isn’t a lot of peer-reviewed research that proves this theory. Yet.
Our current project is in collaboration with one of our Farm Fresh Partners - Kauai Organic Farms in Hawaii, plus world-class researchers at the University of California, Chico. Researchers are planting turmeric and ginger, with and without regenerative practices, on organic land so that we can compare them. We are doing various soil testing and nutrient testing upon harvest.
We are looking to prove that regenerative agriculture is not only better for the environment, but for people, and even the farmer too. Our goal is to document and better understand what it takes to not only transition a farm to regenerative agriculture and advance a principle (like no-till or microbe compost or cover cropping) but to scientifically link the outcome of those practices and increased nutrient density. We will publish the data not only to prove that regenerative is beneficial on a personal level because food is more nutritious, but also with the hopes that many farmers all over the world will be able to use this information and apply similar tactics to their own crops.
We are stoked to keep you all updated on progress over the next five years. And remember, be the change (or in this case, the research) that you want to see in the world!
1 “Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?” Scientific American, Scientific American, 27 Apr. 2011, www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/.Functional Soil Microbiome: Belowground Solutions to an Aboveground Problem; Venkatachalam Lakshmanan, 2014. http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/2/689.shortDavis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004;23(6):669-682. doi:10.1080/07315724.2004.10719409 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15637215/ Thomas D. The mineral depletion of foods available to us as a nation (1940-2002)--a review of the 6th Edition of McCance and Widdowson. Nutr Health. 2007;19(1-2):21-55. doi:10.1177/026010600701900205 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18309763/