Local Farm Food and Your Own Amazon Rainforest

By Rik Langendoen

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In last month’s newsletter, I confessed to being somewhat of a healthy food fanatic (True Confessions of a Former Farmer).  I reported how landmark studies have shown locally-grown farm food using sustainable practices is commonly more nutritious than commercially-grown food.  At the end of the article I committed to sharing another surprising reason for eating locally grown food.

So, here it is.
It has to do with you and the Amazon Rainforest.
Alright, kind of…
I assume you haven’t missed all the hype in the news about gut health and the microbiome.

Did you know that in a healthy human there are over 100 trillion microbial cells that live in our digestive system?  That equals about 3 to 5 pounds.
Most of the microbes consist of the bacteria, viruses and fungi.
A healthy microbiome has significantly more biodiversity than the Amazon rainforest.
Incredible, right?

Well, when you eat local produce that is grown using sustainable farming methods you gain access to beneficial microbes that help to maintain the health of your microbiome.  Why is that important?

This is a relatively new science, but several health conditions and chronic diseases have been linked to an unhealthy microbiome, including but not limited to depression, obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, brain diseases, autism and allergies.  Assuming the produce is raised without the use of chemicals and other contaminants, some doctors are encouraging us to avoid scrubbing produce and instead simply giving it a quick rinse with water.

Shopping at local farmer’s markets and/or via Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) also supports our farmers and allows you to eat produce in its most unaltered state.
If you want to learn more:
There are other reasons for eating locally-grown food.
I’ll be sharing one more in the next newsletter.
Until then, I encourage you to try out Erin’s nettle pesto recipe – yum!