The longer I’m in the agricultural world, the more I realize that there is food, and then there is FOOD.
Food produced in the conventional system uses synthetic chemicals as a substitute for healthy soil. The promise of chemicals in the agricultural system was that of higher yields, less work, less weeds, and greater profits. In the short term it worked. But in the medium to long term, we now see that chemicals kill soil biology which makes nutrients in the soil unavailable to plants. This leads to even more chemical use, which means greater costs, less profit, and even less life in the soil. It’s easy to see how this self-perpetuating cycle has led to larger farms, larger debt, more chemical use, monocrops, dead soil, and less farmers on the land. But the greatest tragedy of this system is that the food we eat should be the building blocks of our own personal health but in reality much of the food we now eat takes away from our well being.
Every year I strive to improve the life in the soil that I manage. I do this through growing cover crops, adding mulches, using organic amendments, and making smart crop rotations. New this year I am experimenting with no-till vegetable production to further foster an environment that is supportive of the life in the soil. I’m really excited about this and feel confident that my vegetables are going to get even better.
If this all sounds overwhelming to you, don’t be stressed. Fortunately, we have all been given a tool that helps us determine what type of soil the veggies we are eating have come from. This tool is called our taste buds. When you eat a carrot that tastes bland, cardboardy, and unexciting, it is lacking in the nutrients that are essential to your health. When you eat a carrot that is sweet, succulent, and tasty, your taste buds are telling you that YES! this is real food! This is what you need! This is the fuel that will lead you down a path of health and well being!
These days, virtually all I’m thinking about is soil health and the impact it has on our bodies and our society. If you listen to podcasts I can’t recommend this episode enough if you want to delve deeper into soil and the impact it has on all of us. https://www.richroll.com/podcast/zach-bush-414/. Let me know what you think! I’m hungry for some conversation and community around this topic.