Today’s Solutions: April 24, 2024

We’ve written in the past about regenerative agriculture and how it benefits the planet. It’s a simple system of farming that involves plowing less, using cover crops, and diversifying to create healthier soil. The practice has made products that are 100 percent carbon negative, and it has proven to greatly increase the biodiversity of an area while also pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. 

Did you know that it also makes healthier food?

Recent research from the University of Washington has found that farms using regenerative agriculture techniques produced crops that had a healthier nutrition profile than neighboring farms using more traditional techniques. 

The study looked at 10 farms in the Midwest and Eastern US that agreed to use regenerative farming techniques on an acre of land growing test crops such as peas, corn, and soybeans. These were the same crops grown on neighboring farms that used traditional techniques that were the control of the experiment. 

“The goal was to try to get some direct comparisons, where you controlled for key variables: The crop is the same, the climate is the same, the weather is the same because they’re right next to each other, the soil is the same in terms of soil type, but it’s been farmed quite differently for at least five years,” said David Montgomery, professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington and lead author of the study. 

The findings showed that after five years the farms using regenerative techniques showed a much higher carbon content in their topsoil and thereby a much higher health soil score than the farms using traditional techniques. What this meant for the beans and peas grown there was an increase in beneficial nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and vitamins B1, B12, C, E, and K. 

“Across the board we found these regenerative practices imbue our crops with more anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants,” Montgomery said.

Not only that, crops that were produced with regenerative practices were found to contain fewer elements that were harmful to people’s health such as nickel, sodium, and cadmium. 

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