Press release from Living Web Farms:
The commitment to eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables is a great first step toward optimal health, but what do we know about the actual nutrition within our produce? Studies have shown that the mineral content of vegetables, fruits and meat has declined significantly in the past few decades. Living Web Farms features Dan Kittredge for a series of events exploring this problem and its solutions, beginning with a free public lecture on the evening of Thursday March 9th.
Asheville, NC—If you stopped a specialty chef, farmer, or local food advocate at the Co-op tailgate market, you probably wouldn’t have to wait long to hear the argument that one can taste the difference in foods which are more nutrient-rich. Yet many people are still shocked to hear that the iron content of one apple in 1950 was equivalent to twenty-six apples in 1998. Furthermore, this staggering change in nutritional profile doesn’t stop with apples, but applies to fresh foods across the dietary spectrum.
Indeed, the foremost study on this subject first made waves in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Donald Davis and a team of nutrition scientists at UT studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional profiles from 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, and reported “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the fifty-year span of the study. Several other studies report the same: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent.
How can the average person understand nutrient density, and how can our community begin to build a food system that supports the growth of the highest quality food?
The answer relates directly to agriculture, and ultimately soil health. Dan Kittredge, a farmer in the northeast, has been working on these questions for over a decade. He founded the Bionutrient Food Association, a non-profit organization that advocates for nutrient-dense foods by working with farmers, food retailers, and consumers. On March 9th, 2017, beginning at 6pm, Kittredge will offer a free lecture in the upstairs meeting room at the French Broad Food Co-op, introducing the concept of nutrient density, and discussing how to address a lack of quality in fresh food.
“This is more than just getting crops to market,” says Kittredge, “this is getting the highest vitality from the soil to the plants. You can get a crop to market if it has 12-16 essential minerals in it. But the body has been shown to use up to 84 minerals for healthy function.” As an example, Kittredge was able to discuss the specific requirement of cobalt, and the lack of it being linked to chronic human disease.
Attendees can expect more of this unique perspective from Kittredge, who links nutrition and agriculture in tangible, measurable ways. He will discuss the dynamic interplay between how our food is grown and how it subsequently effects our health. He will also share tell-tale signs of food that is more nutritious, such as more intense or complex flavor, longer shelf life, greater yields, and the tendency to dry out rather than to rot, among others. Kittredge will also discuss the methods used to produce food of the highest quality, and monitoring tools he hopes consumers will be able to use to be able to tell the difference.
Directly following the lecture, Kittredge will speak at the 24th annual Organic Growers School Spring Conference, addressing a farmer audience and emphasizing specific practices on the farm to increase the quality and availability of nutrients in their soils and their crops. Taking applicability even further, he will re-visit North Carolina in April, when he delivers a two-day intensive workshop for farmers at Living Web Farms.
To RSVP for the lecture, or to register for Dan Kittredge’s two-day event for farmers, visit http://livingwebfarms.org/workshops/
To register for the Organic Growers School Spring Conference, visit organicgrowersschool.org