Predominantly In an increasingly toxic world it is becoming more important for producers to grow food without toxic chemicals and for consumers to seek food that is grown in nutrient-rich soils. When we started Farming Secrets our mission was to show farmers the importance of farming without chemicals in order to create healthy, living soils which in turn grow healthy foods and raise healthy animals. This is still our mission today.
When Farming Secrets started out we were a lone voice and sought out educators and successful farmers to help farmers understand the many benefits of growing healthy food. The organic and biodynamic movements were a minority amongst conventional systems and many farmers were wary of their rules and regulations. However, over the years there has been a growing awareness of the importance of a healthy soil and with it a more natural way of farming. The latest movement, Regenerative farming, has led to a wider regard for the health of the ecosystem and the importance of carbon in the soil which in turn creates a far more resilient system.
So how do you know if the food that you buy is full of nutrients and is free of toxins? There are accreditation systems in which registered farmers can label their food accordingly and assure the consumer that their produce is free of nasties and give consumers value for their money. So that you know exactly what you are eating we recommend cooking from scratch. If it’s fresh foods you are using, try growing your own or join a local food co-op.
A fun thing to do is to measure the nutrient density yourself using a simple tool called a brix meter (refractometer). The brix reading is mostly a measure of sugars and minerals dissolved in water however, many other chemicals may be present and contribute some small factor to the brix reading. Both growers and consumers can use it to measure the brix levels in any plant. There are brix charts which give the various levels for a particular food. Farmers use a brix meter also to track the progress and improvement of their crops and soil over time.
When buying at a farmers’ market, check the authenticity of producers by asking questions about how their produce was grown. Don’t be intimidated by stallholders who say there is no difference between organically grown products, there is, often proved by taste! Some markets are accredited, such as in Victoria the VFMA Accreditation Program ensures this, advocating best practices and celebrating the work of aware farmers and specialty product makers. Look for the symbol of authenticity!
Elsewhere read the labels carefully. We find that some companies now use the term organic but may have nothing to do with accredited organic production. Companies are very clever and tricky at marketing! And don’t think that you can wash the chemicals off the food. If the food is grown with chemicals not only will the toxins be in your food, the soil it was grown in will be unable to release the full range of nutrients into food because they are not simply there or are locked up by chemicals.
The importance of a healthy, living, functioning soil is the basis of our health and the role farmers play cannot be underestimated. The fact is our health and wealth come from the soil. Farming Secrets will continually advocate that farmers follow regenerative agricultural systems which include organic and biodynamic agriculture, agroforestry, agroecology, pasture cropping, permaculture, holistic grazing, sylvopasture, syntropic farming and other agricultural systems that can increase soil organic matter rather than depleting it. We encourage both the farmer and the consumer to become an agent of change to promote good health for all of mankind, animals and the soil.