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Natural Awakenings of Greater Ann Arbor & Detroit / Wayne County Michigan

Food to Heal the Planet

Jun 30, 2021 09:30AM ● By Julie Peterson
Green and purple lettuce growing in healthy soil

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Eating healthy also means making a choice for the health of the planet. 

Organic, locavore and small-farm advocates are speaking out against the industrialized U.S. food system with its extensive use of pesticides, poor treatment of animals and lack of regenerative soil management. Organizations like the Rodale InstituteRegeneration InternationalKiss the Ground and the Ecological Farming Association are working to train farmers to regenerate soils to not only restore climate stability, but also provide far healthier foods from nutrient-rich soils.

“I believe if we have a greater understanding of our local and regional food systems, we will be moving in a more sustainable, intentional and responsible direction for ourselves, our communities and the planet,” says Andrea Bemis, author of the farm-to-table cookbook Local Dirt and operator of Tumbleweed Farm with her husband Taylor in Mount Hood, Oregon. 

Local food is easier on the planet for several reasons. “Large commercial farms work the soil so intensively that they must use synthetic fertilizers to get anything to grow,” says Brock Hall, owner of Florida Fields to Forks, in Malabar, Florida. Alternatively, cover crops keep nutrients in the soil, requiring less water and naturally sequestering more carbon from the atmosphere. Shorter transit or shipping distances after picking uses less pollution-causing fuel.  

“Choosing the right food is not only important for our personal health, but also is important for our planet and for our checking account,” says T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study and The Future of Nutrition. “I have come to believe, after being in this discipline for 65-plus years, that our choice of food is the easiest and most important choice we can make to address the many existential problems that we now face.”


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