Food For People

Food For People

By James Andrews

High quality, nutrient dense food supplies all the minerals and vitamins necessary for human health and wellbeing while low quality, nutrient deficient food leaves its consumers open to diseases of the body and mind.  Nutrient deficient plants need agrichemical props to survive. Nutrient deficient humans need drugs and doctors to survive.

Its simple and intuitive stuff for many of us but these statements have far reaching and intriguing implications for agriculture and human health.  Your grandma probably told you that you are what you eat and she was right, but what she may not have told you is that plants with a higher refractive index have higher mineral density, a greater spectrum of trace minerals and, (good lord, the perfection of it all) they even taste better.  The contraption used to measure this refractive index is called a refractometer, or brix meter. Brix meters are not new and have been used by various industries including horticulture for decades.  They work on the basis that light is refracted at an increasingly greater angle as the level of dissolved solids in the liquid being measured increases.

What is relatively new (in New Zealand particularly) is using the brix meter as a measure of food quality and crop health.  It has been established that high brix food tastes better, contains a greater range and quantity of minerals, is heavier per volume (ie, a sack of high brix corn will weigh more than a sack of the same variety of low brix corn), is more frost tolerant and more resistant to insect pests and disease than low brix food.  In much the same why as a healthy body is resistant to cold, flu and other ailments.  “Wheew, thats quite a list you’ve got there son” I hear you say, but these are far from fictitious fantasies and fanciful notions, they are the result of decades of research that began in the U.S. before I was even born, but have somehow managed to bypass the majority of New Zealand food producers, until recently.  The movement associated most strongly with nutrient dense food production is known as Biological Agriculture (Bio Ag) and their principal prophet in our neck of the world is Dr Arden Anderson. He is a gifted and knowledgeable speaker, look up for upcoming course dates.

Bio Ag is focused on producing high quality food for human health.  This should not be earth shattering stuff, but it is.  Most food is grown for profit, not people.  The irony being that possibly the greatest profit is to be made from selling high quality food bursting with flavour and nutrition.  The basic requirements of life are: air, water, food and comfort, in that order.  Whether we are considering humans, plants or the microbial communities in the soil, these requirements hold true.  Keeping these basic requirements in mind can help gardeners and farmers make good decisions and clarify priorities for their plants and animals.  In combination with addressing these basics of life, the key to opening up the genetic potential of plants lies in effective composting, diversity and abundance of microbial populations, soil mineral balance and a paramagnetic growing medium.  If these things are working optimally in your system your plants will not need biocides, whether they are organically certified or not.

Arden estimates that only 20% of organic produce is of good or excellent quality when assessed for nutrient density.  Organic certification does not guarantee quality, it guarantees that a management system was followed and limited inputs were used.  It is not the food that is tested, it is the management system.  We don’t eat management systems.   Successfully applied Bio Ag principles will strengthen an organic system and improve quality of outputs and consequently the health of those who eat them.  Likewise, successful application of Bio Ag principles to a conventional farm will improve quality and remove the need for many of the biocides and agrichemicals that may have previously been used.

If you are interested in further reading on this topic, please check out the following websites:



Dr. Arden Andersen

Dr. Arden Andersen is a world leader in the field of sustainable agriculture. He is an esteemed consultant, teacher and, more recently, a physician currently involved in a major US Clinic specializing in alternative medicine. His impeccable credentials, dynamic lecturing style and genuine passion for the soil, and all who live from it, have won him many friends and admirers. Dr. Andersen has published three books: Science in Agriculture describes a professional farming system designed to enhance biological activity in the soil, provide energy to crops and build resistance to pests and diseases. Real Medicine, Real Health describes the importance of diet and a healthy environment in treating and preventing human disease. Good nutrition comes back to agriculture and the way our foods are grown. He states that conventional Western farming systems have raped the soils, depleted the minerals and compromised our food resources. Anatomy of Life & Energy in Agriculture describes the energies in fertilizers and in the cosmos, which preside over crop production. Through learning to tap and use “life-force energy” it is possible to develop food production practices that are both high quality and nondestructive.


Summary of Arden Andersen’s perspective:

•Human health and disease are directly linked to nutrition.

• Nutrition comes from food/agriculture.

•Current systems of food production has degenerated our food and environment and our health.

•The latest assault on our food quality, environment and health is GMO crops.

•Conventional (organic or chemical) agriculture is stealing our quality of life via cancer, Parkinson’s heart disease, dementia, etc.

•It is reducing and weakening our next generation via cancer, Autism, ADHD, etc.

•It is slowly starving us of vital nutrients we need to be healthy, vibrant and live out our full genetic potential.

•Science proves the direct connection between health/disease and nutrition.

•Farming should be all about health.

•Nutrition comes from agriculture and only agriculture.

•Farmers truly hold in their hands the health, well-being and longevity of their fellow humans