Alchemy Farm and Apiary is Chad Skinner’s project in sustainable lifestyle. Recently he has taken on growing food and plants with Nutrient Dense practices. Here is the scoop on what nutrient dense is. To contact Chad, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE NUTRIENT DENSE STORY
Hundreds of years of agriculture have depleted the soil’s trace minerals. Each year plants take up the minerals that they need to build and maintain their cellular structure. We harvest the food for consumption, and the trace elements are removed from the land. Farm lands that are depleted of the nutrients to support crop production are not a new thing. The answer that was developed by the US Agricultural department during the great depression era, and into WW2 was to pump the soil full of Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium. It’s the NPK ratio that you will see on the side of any fertilizer bag. What this has lead to is food that has less nutritional value, and crops that are grown in a weakened state requiring more water and pesticides. This agricultural practice has left fields so devoid of the microbial, and fungal elements that play a major role in plant development that when turned under, corn stubble does not decompose. The soil is drained of the building blocks of life.
Interestingly, at about the same time that the US Agricultural department was turning to NPK and pesticide, an agronomist by the name of Albrecht was developing another theory and method. By measuring the amount of the different elements in the soil, and seeing the effects of each element on plant life Albrecht began to realize that the very same minerals that were important for human cellular development were also need by the plants. Look on the back of any multi vitamin bottle you will find the following trace elements listed: Zinc, Copper, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Potassium, Boron, Selenium, Manganese, Nickel, Silicon. These are the very same trace elements that soil is measured for in the nutrient dense practice. What Albrecht realized was that by balancing out the soil with the trace elements required, and boosting the biological components the plants were much stronger.
Today what has been developed based on Albrecht’s model is called nutrient dense farming, or re-mineralization. It’s a combination of Albrechts work, the Organic/sustainable movement, and bio-dynamic farming. The nutritional value of the plants grown in a nutrient dense environment are measured with a unit called Brix. You may have heard of this recently. Some upscale restaurants in Manhattan are on the nutrient dense band wagon. Essentially, brix are measured using a refractometer to determine the density of the sap within the plant. The denser the sap the more the nutrients. The refractometer is also used to determine what is needed by the plant on a real time basis. Rather than scratching your head and wondering why your plants are not growing quite right the refractometer can help to determine what is out of balance. Large scale operations are doing the very same by sending certain parts of the plants into be tested, and amending accordingly using drip irrigation. In addition to balancing the soil, Nutrient Dense farming also includes adding the right biological elements to the soil, and to the plants. These are the micro organisms that help facilitate the uptake of nutrients to the plants, and aid in over all soil health.
Not only do these plants and veggies look better, they are better for you. Enjoy and may these plants add to your thriving good health.