The Soil

 In the last newsletter I presented findings from a Rutgers University study that showed the amazing difference in mineral content of foods grown organically versus those grown conventionally. To appreciate why there is such a significant difference a discussion of what really goes on in the soil is of utmost importance.

Mineral rich soil is full of microbial life. The primary function of these bacteria is to break down anything that falls onto the ground, as well as break down mineral deposits into available plant food. It's the plants that can convert inorganic minerals in the soil which we are unable to metabolize, to organic minerals so that when we eat the fruit or vegetable we get the minerals in a form that our bodies can utilize.

How come these bacteria in the soil don't destroy the plants? Well, there are little hair-like fungi on the plants rootlets called mycorrhiza. The mycorrhiza secrete small amounts of highly toxic protective substances that are "anti-bacterial." Fungi and bacteria in the soil are antagonists--they keep each other in check. (Penicillin is a secretion from a fungus.) So the mycorrhiza are the plants immune system. When they are present, the plant is free from disease and is able to absorb the minerals that the soils microbial life has released. Many of you may have noticed the difference in the quality of your backyard fruits and veggies when using compost instead of chemical fertilizers!

So what does a conventional farmer do? First, he goes down to the agriculture chemical supply store and buys some fungicide. He sprays that on his crops. It drips down the plant and decends into the soil. In a few days the fungus is off the plant. The mycorrhiza are dead so the bacteria can now attack the lettuce for example. We can't have that, so the farmer goes back to the Ag store for a chemical to kill the bacteria. So now the mychorrhiza and the bacteria are dead. Since the bacteria are dead, what can break down the organic matter in the soil to release the minerals--nothing!!!! Now the soil ecosystem has been broken down and what comes next--the insects. Can't have them around so back to the store for more chemicals to get rid of those pests. This pattern has gone on for years and American farmland has been literally dying. This process unfortunately has been going on for decades. I read a report where it was stated in a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing in 1936 on the state of our agriculture that the soils at that time had become so depleted that the scientists wanted to advise that all Amercians be told to take mineral supplements.

So is it any wonder that conventional agriculture produces such inferior quality produce? Is it any wonder that so many of today's degenerative conditions are directly linked to mineral depletion such as the dreaded osteoporosis. In the next issue I will discuss calcium and other trace minerals that are important for good bone density. Remember, minerals are found in fruits and in vegetables. You need to eat these daily for optimum health. Minerals are not to be found in sodas, candies, coffee, or alcohol. Processed foods such as pastas, cakes, cookies, donuts, french fries and ice cream may have some poor quality minerals added in but don't depend on those for good health.

In my opinion, with the state of the soil and our food supply, everyone should be taking mineral supplements. There are some good ones on the market today but most are of poor quality. If you have any questions, please feel free to call to the office or email me.