REGENERATIVE FOOD MANIFESTO
Food has the power to heal, nurture, and connect. We believe in growing, harvesting and honoring food and communities as a crucial element of the regenerative transition.
Plants get their nutrients from the soil. Soils worldwide have been depleted by human activity mainly through industrial agriculture. The food we eat today contains less protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vit B2, and vit C than food produced just 50 years ago. Plants have not been bred for nutrition but instead for size and rate of growth in order to increase yields. Healthy food comes from healthy plants, and healthy plants come from biologically vital, ecologically regenerative, and carbon-rich soils. Focusing on the nutrient density in crops will be key to improve both human and ecosystem health.
Regenerative animal products
Human and environmental health can be enhanced through regenerative livestock management practices which promotes regeneration of the soil, limits environmental impacts and enhance the healthfulness of meat and dairy products. Greater botanical diversity in pasture results in higher concentration and variety of health-promoting phytonutrients (terpenoids, carotenoids, phenols, and tocopherols) in grass-fed meat and dairy products. Conventional animal agriculture is highly unethical and also extremely damaging to the planet’s ecosystem. Reducing per capita consumption of meat in industrialized countries combined with the focus on consumption from regenerative farms is key for planetary health.
Diversified Plant-rich diets
Dietary fiber is used to describe a variety of plant-derived compounds that are not broken down by human enzymes. Without our microbes, humans are unable to make full use dietary fibers. Different microbes are specialized at breaking down different types of fiber, as a result, a wide variety of fiber is important to support a healthy gut microbiome. The translation of this principle is to have a diversified plant-rich diet. The gut microbiome have been associated with health and disease states, including CVD, T2DM, IBD, cancer, and obesity. The interactions between the food we eat, the microbes they support, and chronic disease outcomes highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Eating a diverse plant-rich diet also creates a demand for diversified agricultural systems.
Fermented foods have an important place in human history, and while their primary function was originally shelf life extension of seasonal foods, health benefits associated with their consumption have long been recognized. Fermented foods can be more easily digested due to partial protein digestion during fermentation as well as increasing bioavailability of certain minerals and vitamins and having high antioxidants content. Certain bioactive compounds produced by the microbes within food, including polyphenols and SCFAs, can have beneficial effects when consumed. Certain microbial strains found in food are capable of surviving digestion, and fermented foods can be useful vehicles to carry probiotic strains into the gut.
Eat local and
“Farmers producing for a local and direct market (...) are more likely to place a higher value on plant varieties that are more nutritious, unique, and tasty, instead of yield” (Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). When the demand for local food increases, consumers support local economies. Studies show how building community connections through local agriculture has a positive impact on the economic wellbeing of farmers and people’s diets by creating social relationships through the food production system. Foods in season are more nutritious and flavorful and can also be cheaper. The benefits of buying and eating locally seasonal food are wide and far-reaching, beginning at the individual health level and even having the potential to influence entire food systems.
Access to forests and tree-based systems has been associated with increased fruit and vegetable consumption and increased dietary diversity (Powell et al., 2011). Forests and tree-based systems are extremely important for supporting food production and contributing to dietary diversity and quality, addressing nutritional shortfalls. Traditional agroforestry systems often have high biodiversity and can deliver a wide array of tree foods including fruits, nuts and leafy vegetables, therefore particular nutrients, minerals and vitamins are made available year-round. Tree plantations provide important ecosystem services including: soil, spring, stream and watershed protection; microclimate regulation; biodiversity conservation; and pollination, all of which ultimately affect food and nutritional security.
Ultra-processed foods include packaged baked goods and snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, ready meals containing food additives, dehydrated vegetable soups, and reconstituted meat and fish products - often containing high levels of added sugar, fat and salt, however lacking vitamins and fibre. They are thought to account for around 25-60% of daily energy intake in many countries.
Previous studies have linked ultra-processed foods to higher risks of all-cause mortality, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers.
Most of the salt and sugar introduced with the diet does not come from the amount added while cooking or dressing, but mainly from processed foods. In this regard, the best behavior would be to substitute these processed foods with natural products cooked and dressed at home. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the first causes of death worldwide. Reduction in the dietary intake of salt and sugars is important lifestyle advice that is useful for NCD prevention. Strategies to reduce both sugar and salt consumption are: increasing patient awareness, replacement with substitutes in foods, gradual reduction to allow a progressive adaptation towards less intense taste .