High Nutrient Density
HIGH NUTRIENT DENSITY
Food with a lot of nutrients per calorie is defined as nutrient dense. Some foods e.g. Garlic, are very nutrient dense and some foods e.g. sugar breakfast foods are full of empty calories.
Nutrient density is complicated but some farming practices enhance nutrient density. Industrial food production using harsh chemicals and excessive tillage and mono-cultures of GMO seeds e.g. Corn every year; produce low nutrient density food. Especially if they are imported.
Imported food is picked far before ripeness (maximum nutrient density) so that it can be shipped thousands of miles and reach supermarkets looking nice. Plastic food looks nice too but has zero nutritional value.
Biological farming practices, as defined the Canadian Organic Regime (COR) Production Guide, have been shown by research to build healthy soil. It is healthy soil with high levels of available nutrients that contribute to nutrient dense foods.
There are other factors too which growers can control e.g. crop varieties, which can influence nutrient density. We discuss this in more detail in the Farmer area of this web site.
Organic research in Canada has identified key beneficial practices which lead to nutrient dense, healthy soils e.g. use of legumes in crop rotations. use of manures and compost, reduced tillage and crop rotations of at least 4 years. It takes more that just a research report to get farmers to adopt new farming practices. Organic food security cannot be achieved unless all growers are making use of the best biological practices that are available.
Our goal is to transfer this research technology to farmers using the web site as one way to do this. This is a key need identified in many studies over the last few years but nothing much is being done.
Consumers values nutrient density in food and willingly pay a premium for food that meets their expectations. Why don’t we target nutrient density in crops instead of just bigger yields?