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Phyllis Tichinin: Farming for Nutrient Density – Honour the Microbes and don’t Kick the Cow – #1/3


First of three articles on issues related to farming and agriculture in the modern world. (H/T Rod Oram at Newsroom)

I found the article interesting, I am not sure I understand all of it as yet

Why is it that one carrot just tastes ho-hum and another carrot seems to explode with flavour in your mouth? What’s going on? Aren’t they both just carrots? In short, your ‘wow’ response to the flavourful carrot is your body’s way of telling you to focus on getting more of that item into your mouth. 

Flavour is a powerful indicator of the mineral and antioxidant content of food. Flavour sets up a positive feedback loop encouraging us to seek out that produce to more fully nourish ourselves. Flavour tends to equate with nutrient density. Nutrient density is shorthand for foods with high levels of health-giving minerals and complex plant compounds that contain the vitamins and molecules we need for building all aspects of our bodies with nutritional integrity. With the exception of the purposefully addictive, processed variety, food tastes good because it is good for us. 

This is in large part why children tend to not like vegetables. Most of the vegetables they are served are flavourless and low in vitamin and mineral content… they lack nutrient density. This is a practical, at-the-dinner-table manifestation of the decline in nutrient density that has rapidly accelerated over the last 100 years. In part, it is a result of massive hybridisation of our commercial seeds, but mostly it’s because of how we are fertilising and managing our agricultural soils. We can turn this around and for the sake of our health we’re best to get on with it pronto. In the New Zealand context it is a precious opportunity to further excel.


I recommend it to you whatever your views. It provides an interesting perspective.

About the author

Phyllis Tichinin

Phyllis Tichinin has had a life-long interest in agriculture and natural systems. She describes herself as an ‘eco-nutritionist’. Raised rurally in Northern California, she attended University of California at Davis where she studied Environmental Management and Soils, meeting her husband, a Kiwi getting his PhD in Ecology. For most of her life she has raised her own fruit and vegetables and for the last 10 years her own meat on a dairy support block in Hawke’s Bay. She has been an environmental policy specialist in California State government, a biological soils consultant, an organic farmer and is a consultant, educator and purveyor of plant-based alternatives to dairy antibiotics.

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