Regenerative Farming Boosts Soil Health, Yielding More Nutritious Crops

Environmental News from the USA: 

  • Researchers compared the nutritional content of the food crops grown using conventional versus regenerative farming practices — those that build the soil by using cover crops, a diverse rotation of crops and minimal tilling
  • Food grown on the regenerative farms contained, on average, more magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc; more vitamins (including B1, B12, C, E and K), and more phytochemicals.
  • “Most notably, soil health appears to influence phytochemical levels in crops,” the authors write, “indicating that regenerative farming systems can enhance dietary levels of compounds known to reduce risk of various chronic diseases.”
  • The regenerative farms also had overall healthier soil with more carbon content.

Plants build themselves from sunlight, water, and soil. And, as it turns out, what crops “eat” can influence the nutrients on our own plates.

A recent study, published in the journal PeerJ, compared the nutritional content of food crops grown using conventional versus regenerative farming practices — those that build the soil by using cover crops, a diverse rotation of crops, and minimal tilling.

“It was very difficult to find studies that had explicitly looked at soil health and how that affects what gets into food,” lead author David Montgomery, a professor of Earth and space science at the University of Washington, told Mongabay. “We did the experiment that we wished was out there.”

The researchers turned to a network of farmers who they knew had successfully rebuilt soil fertility on their land using regenerative agricultural practices. Ten regenerative farms agreed to grow 1 acre (0.4 hectares) each of peas, sorghum, corn, or soybeans to compare results with the same crop grown on a neighboring conventional farm.

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Source: Mongabay

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