We are what we eat and what we eat comes from thesoil. If our food producing soils are minerally depleted,biologically inactive and chemically contaminated,then so is our food! Unfortunately the tale of extractiveagriculture over the past few decades involves all threeof these limiting factors and our food has suffered as aresult. There have been several studies that havehighlighted this decline. In fact, there are nutritionistsnow claiming that the food we currently consume hasjust thirty percent of the nutrition found in the foodconsumed by our Grandparents when they werechildren, This dramatic decline is not solely related to adecline in soil fertility, It is also linked to foodprocessing, preparation and transport, but the soil is amajor player.
Conventional, acid, salt fertilisers seemed like agood idea at the time. There seemed no longer aneed for the high maintenance, soil restorativepractices of the past, when you could just throw onsome nutrition from a bag each season.However, “easy”, is not necessarily best, and inthis case the new approach proved unsustainable.The acid salt fertilisers decimated some of the keycreatures in the soil, responsible for soil rebuildingand nutrient delivery. The most visible of thesecreatures is the humble earthworm which hasdisappeared from many conventionally farmedsoils.
However, the fungal organisms that buildhumus were similarly affected. Humus is thestorehouse for all minerals and the home basefor the soil organisms that deliver theseminerals to the plant. Humus levels havedeclined by 70% during the decades ofextractive agriculture and we are all paying theprice. Nutrient deficient plants always requiremore chemical intervention. The use of farmchemicals is now astronomical and ourfood, our children and our planet are sufferingfrom this toxic deluge!
When we remineralise our soils and invigoratethe soil biology, we reclaim, forgottenflavours, nutrient density and medicinalqualities in our food.
Animals grown on nutrient dense pasturesupply meat, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids,Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA – a powerfulanti-cancer compound) and that meat featuresmuch lower levels of saturated fat than meatfrom grain-fed animals (5 times less!)
Vegetables grown in these soils contain much higher levels of antioxidants. We now know that compounds like lycopene and sulphurafane are incredibly protective but the levels of these compounds in vegetables depends upon soil life activity and the mineralisation of the soil.
Fruit quality is similarly dependant upon soilfertility. Several years ago in the UKresearchers found conventionally grownoranges that contained zero vitamin C. Itappears that if you ignore the nutrient deliverymechanisms in the soil (biology and mineralbalance) for long enough you producesubstandard food. This compromised produceis invariably chemically contaminated becausenutrient density and inherent pest and diseaseprotection are directly linked.
The first thing to realise is that there is nosacrifice required to become more sustainablein your farming operation. In our popular, fourday, Certificate in Sustainable AgricultureCourse, you will learn that this change can bethe best thing that ever happened in yourfarming operation. You will see that what isbest for the environment is actually best foryou! Your productivity and profitability isexpected to improve from the first season, notfive years down the track!
Attendance at an NTS course is a good startingpoint but you may simply choose to call anNTS Agronomist for free advice on anyproblem you are experiencing at any time. Youmay decide to soil test your property or leaftest your crop, to improve nutrition precision.You may also opt to trial some of ourbreakthrough products. Platform™, forexample, is a unique mycorrhizal fungiinoculum that can be remarkably productivefrom just $5 (AUS) per hectare.