There is a growing awareness of the benefits from increasing soil quality. The typical American consumer is not aware of how far the flavor, nutritional content, and shelf life of produce, dairy and meat have declined over the past sixty years. One cause of this decline is due to the physical loss of soils from erosion and mechanical tilling. Another is poor soil management and lack of understanding of how to support natural biological organisms. The greatest destruction of soils has come from the application of billions of tons of chemicals and poisons that have killed subsoil organisms vital for soil and plant health. Additionally, selective plant breeding has sacrificed appearance, taste, and nutrition for standardization and increased levels of production – quantity over quality.
Mineralize Madison is a simple program that will help growers test their soils and source, transport, and apply the right combination of minerals and organic soil amendments to stimulate the soil organisms that symbiotically assist plants in growing to their full potential.
The cost to the growers for soil testing and the application of mineral and organic amendments will be reduced through group buys and the establishment of a central materials depot. As each farmer improves the soil on their property, the entire county will benefit from increased taxes and new business activity. As a bonus, the ability of improved soils to hold rainwater and reduce runoff will improve water quality and recharge subsurface aquifers, helping the County conform to water quality regulations. There is even scientific evidence that soils with optimal biological activity can restore soils polluted with industrial and pharmaceutical residues, offering a transition path to sustainability for farms now engaged in industrial/chemical agricultural practices.
Mineralize Madison will help our farmers earn a reputation for growing the most nutritious and best tasting local food money can buy. This countywide commitment to quality will give our producers a powerful competitive edge in the regional food marketplace as more consumers demand high nutrient/high flavor food products.
Too often the food we eat doesn’t deliver the nutrition our bodies need to be truly healthy. Evidence is mounting that lack of adequate dietary nutrition is the cause of our rising rates of degenerative diseases. People are surprised when they learn how little nutrition is in the food we buy every day.
Only two generations ago the average nutrient levels in food were many times higher. The decline is due to a number of causes, mainly from a loss of the quality and quantity of the single most valuable asset on earth – soil. Much of conventional agriculture treats soil like “dirt” – something into which synthetic fertilizers are added for each successive crop. Billions of tons of chemical-laced soil are washed away by storms each year. Reduced food value is also due to the loss of living organisms in the soil. When you fight pests with strong poisons, you also kill native soil organisms. Fortunately we have organic farmers that grow food with fewer chemicals which is safer to eat. Surveys show that the organic carrot you just bought may not have more nutrition than a conventional one. If human health depends on a variety of nutrients, what do growers need to do to equal or exceed the nutrition found in the food our great grandparents enjoyed?
Soil is a living, breathing, and self-healing entity made up of a complex web of living organisms. Uncountable numbers of bacteria, fungi, insects and protozoans interact with each other and break down and convert minerals from rocks into the compounds plants need to grow. In exchange, plants make a form of energy (sugars) by combining sunlight and water through photosynthesis. They exude that energy through their roots down into the soil which in turn feeds the soil creatures. Healthy soil biology yields healthy, highly nutritious plants. Nutrient-rich plants provide humans and animals with what their bodies require to be vigorous and healthy. To speed up this process, Mineralize Madison is a straightforward program to teach, assist, and support farmers in restoring their soil to optimal health so they can produce top-quality products people want to buy.
Of the two simple ways to measure nutrition in food, the first is to use a refractometer to measure the Brix (percentage of dissolved solids) value found in the sap of plants. The higher the Brix value the more nutrition is present in the food. Carrot juice can hit a Brix value of 18 (percent), which would a carrot to remember! The second way to measure nutrition is through our taste buds. Since flavor and nutrition are inseparably linked, our palates have evolved into highly-accurate nutrition-measurement devices because high-Brix food just tastes better. We’ll record Brix levels at every step of the process, and verify our progress by comparing mineralized versus non-mineralized garden plots.
Our mission is to help farmers and growers produce high-Brix food – the “next big thing” in the local food movement. As people discover the direct link between soil, plant and human health, they’re disappointed to learn they can’t buy this food anywhere for any price. As demand increases, our participating farmers will earn a reputation as a trusted source for top-quality high-Brix food, and gain a competitive edge in the fast-growing local food marketplace.