Health Hotline Magazine | April 2023



Once, in a farmer's field, a billion tiny soil organisms were finally remembered, and the farmer's focus shifted from howmuch a crop could yield to how future harvests depended on the soil being healed. Once, in a neighborhood grocery store, the proprietors said, no more—our standards for food must place human and environmental health over profit. Once, at the dinner table, you and I chose to understand the consequences of each forkful's production. And once it happened, it happened again and again. We all—the farmer, the grocery store proprietor, and the eater—began to act for hope because we understand that the roots of our hope are planted in evidence. Together, we are starting a movement to redirect the future. The influence of our collective actions can ensure we all have access to nourishing food, restore our topsoil, sequester greenhouse gases that imperil our planet, improve our health, and create more robust and equitable economies. And because we are acting together, it will echo in the halls of policy and power with a persistence that can no longer be ignored. We are Regenivores! Regenivore, noun: A person who eats in a way that supports a shift from degrading, stripping, and crippling to regenerating and sustaining—our planet, our health, and our economies. Regenivores know that the food on our plates and the farmers, ranchers, and grocers we support are directly connected to the biodiversity of our food web, the integrity of the soil, the health of the planet, our own health, and the health of our families and friends.

1. Regenerative organic farming “encourages continuous innovation and improvement of environmental, social, and economic measures.” It eliminates toxic synthetic inputs while promoting biological diversity and the harmony of natural cycles. Consequently, the health and welfare of all living things is inherent to its success. 2. A teaspoon of healthy soil is alive with billions of organisms that play a role in its function as the foundation of our food supply. Soil organisms convert decaying matter into plant nutrients, improve soil structure, increase water-holding capacity, and enhance carbon sequestration. Yet soils are degrading at such a rate the United Nations has said we may only have 60 harvests left. The principles of regenerative organic agriculture restore and maintain soil health. 3. Soil carbon (i.e., carbon dioxide that has been pulled from the atmosphere and locked into the soil) is significantly higher in regeneratively-managed grazing systems when compared to un-grazed land. And because of this increased carbon sequestration in regenerative grazing systems, these ranches can o set 100 percent of the emissions from the cattle, and up to as much as 85 percent of the farm’s total carbon emissions. 4. Approximately 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. go to livestock production, often as feed additives to increase growth and to prevent infections caused by being confined in a CAFO (concentrated animal feed operation); around 70 percent of these drugs are “medically important” for humans. Organic regenerative systems prohibit antibiotics, and one study found that grazing cattle have a more e cient immune response than cattle in a feedlot (i.e., a healthy cow doesn’t need preventative antibiotics). 5. The micronutrient content of fruits and vegetables has declined over the last 70 years, including vitamin C, calcium, and iron, while proteins in wheat, rice, and barley have decreased by 30%, 18%, and 50% respectively. Organically grown crops, by contrast, consistently demonstrate higher levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous and other important bioactive compounds, and one study found levels of health-supporting phytonutrients in pasture-raised animal products that are undetectable in their grain-fed counterparts. 6. Regenerative organic agriculture is more climate resilient. Data from the Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial (FST), the longest running comparison of organic and conventional farming, found that organic yields were 40% greater than conventional in times of drought. “The health of soil, p ant, animal, and man is one and indivisible.” —Sir Albert Howard

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