Building the evidence for nutrient dense food: Citizen science, feedback loops and peer-to-peer learning to empower the regenerative grower
Hosted by Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn)
This session introduces the concept of nutrient density and its importance for citizen and planetary health. Key findings from the Bionutrient Food Association’s research on crop nutrient variation will be presented along with an update on the development of the Bionutrient Meter. Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn) will give an overview of their citizen science project working with growers and farmers mainly from the UK, including Scotland, as grower partners learning how to measure crop quality, and provide results of vegetable brix values, a taste testing and demonstration garden trialling three different growing practices. Additionally, key advocacy messages will be shared, including the need to shift the narrative from food quantity based on yield to food quality based on nutrient density; essential for improving population health.
Graham Bell’s career as an internationally respected Permaculture teacher, author and lecturer has spanned over 30 years and in 1990 was the first person in Britain to be personally awarded the Diploma in Permaculture by Bill Mollison. During the nineties, he was lead instructor and trainer of trainers on the Countryside Premium Scheme (for farmers) in Scotland. Graham’s home in the Scottish Borders with his wife Nancy boasts the longest standing intentional food forest garden in Britain. His main career “is as a storyteller”, teaching about the living environment, sharing skills for a better future and respecting the prior knowledge of everyone who joins this progression.
Dan Kittredge has farmed organically for 30+ years, and is the founder and executive director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), whose mission is to “increase quality in the food supply”. As a leading proponent of “nutrient density”, Dan works to demonstrate the connections between soil health, plant health and human health. The Real Food Campaign, now the Bionutrient Institute, has engineered a prototype of a hand-held citizen spectrometer designed to test nutrient density at point of purchase. Via the Bionutrient Meter, the goal is to empower citizens to choose for nutrient quality and thereby leverage economic incentives to drive full system regeneration.
Matthew Adams is Co-Founder and Director of Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn). He studied Holistic Environmental Management (B.Sc.) and is inspired by Deep Ecology. Matthew was Director of The Good Gardeners Association (2000-2011) and author of ‘Beyond Organic, a Vision of the Future’, published in the Soil Association’s journal Mother Earth. He contends that food quality can be defined by its nutrient content which relates directly to ecosystem health – the aim of regenerative practices.
Elizabeth Westaway is Co-Founder and Director of Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn). She is an international public health nutrition specialist, who has worked since 1995 as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in academia, non-governmental organisations and the United Nations on health, nutrition, food security and agriculture projects in emergency and development contexts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Elizabeth has a PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia, UK and interests in community-based nutrition, healthy and sustainable diets, food quality, nutrition security, food systems, regenerative agriculture, permaculture, livelihoods and poverty reduction.
Mark Ridsdill Smith founded Vertical Veg in 2009, after discovering how much food he could grow on the balcony of his flat. Mark’s website and Facebook page inspire and support people to grow food in small, urban spaces, and he has run workshops across the UK, including for Garden Organic and Capital Growth.
Mark is the author of The Vertical Veg Guide to Container Gardening: How to grow an abundance of herbs, vegetables and fruit in small spaces, to be published by Chelsea Green in March 2022.