REFERENCES: BENEFITS OF ORGANIC/REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE ON HUMAN HEALTH (Nutrient Density) & ENV’T

🍎 The case for the effects of organic/regenerative agriculture/agroecology on soil health, environment/climate and human health (including human gut microbiome)
What-is-Food-Justice

 

This section also details the connection between the health of the soil and the implications it has for the health of the plants (“nutrient density/nutrient richness”) and how that translates into human health, the gut microbiome, and immune function.  There are likely to be additional resources in other areas of these sustainability resources pages that also showcase the benefits of organic/regenerative/agroecological farming methods on the human and planetary health. I’ve marked some below with *** as those that are most recent and most substantial.  Please be sure to look through other resource areas as well. Note that some of the benefits or organic/regenerative also means a reduced exposure to chemicals which also can carry health benefits and lower risk for numerous health issues. Be sure to see the section on the impact of pesticides on human health and the environment

You can also find more info on the connection between “Nutrient Density” and Regenerative Organic agriculture from my colleagues over at the “Nutrient Density Alliance” resources page HERE (You’ll see some crossover) Additionally, see their fantastic presentation given on this topic here

You can find a downloadable list of sources and resources about the connection between farming practices, soil and nutritional health of food at this website of David Montgomery and Anne Bikle who wrote the powerful book “What Your Food Ate” (Again, there will be more crossover)

Please note: These articles have been update through April 2024

  • 5 benefits of regenerative agriculture – and 5 ways to scale it. World Economic Forum. Published January 11, 2023. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/01/5-ways-to-scale-regenerative-agriculture-davos23/
    • Regenerative agriculture is the way forward to decarbonise the food system and make farming resilient to climate shocks.
    • The solution to both the climate emergency and the food crisis is in the soil, quite literally. Farmers are stewards of the soil and they must be incentivized and rewarded as such. We call on players across the food value chain to commit to achieving that by helping progress these 5 key areas and unlock regenerative agriculture at scale.
  • Abbey, L., Ofoe, R., Gunupuru, L. R., & Ijenyo, M. (2021). Variation in frequency of CQA-tested municipal solid waste compost can alter metabolites in vegetables. Food Research International, 143, 110225.
    • Variations in frequency of MSW compost application altered metabolomics profiles of vegetables.
    • Metabolites composition varied with vegetable species as influenced by compost application frequency.
    • Annual compost application enhanced all the metabolites except glucose.
    • Food nutrients density and functional property were improved.
  • Agroecology in Andhra Pradesh, India: Unveiling Hidden Costs and Benefits through True Cost Accounting . Glol Alliance for the Future of Food. Published June 29, 2023. https://futureoffood.org/insights/agroecology-in-andhra-pradesh-india/.
    • Food systems debates and discourse are often skeptical about agroecology and regenerative approaches, arguing that there is a lack of research and evidence that demonstrate its potential to scale up and feed the world. There is in fact a wealth of evidence showing that these approaches can repair our relationship with nature and build climate resilience while producing nourishing and sustainable food. 
    •  The analysis demonstrated that the agroecological practices and principles of natural farming generated the most beneficial economic, environmental and social outcomes, resulting in 49% net increases in farmer incomes, increased diet diversity, and yes, even 11% higher yields. Altogether, the study showed the highest positive returns on public investment from agroecological natural farming. 
  • Andrieu, Nadine & Faure, Guy & Paracchini, Maria-Luisa & Geck, Matthias. (2024). What agroecology brings to food security and ecosystem services: a review of scientific evidence. 
    • There is a strong theoretical basis and empirical evidence that food security outcomes(availability, access, utilization, stability) are as good or sometimes even better for agroecological systems than conventional alternatives.
    • Agroecology is a science,as et of practices and a social movement. It is defined by the Food and Agriculture  Organization of the United Nations(FAO)as“an integrated  approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management  of food and agricultural systems”that“aims to optimize the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment while taking into account the social aspects  that must be addressed for a sustainable and equitable food system”.
  • Averill C, Bhatnagar JM, Dietze MC, Pearse WD, Kivlin SN. Global imprint of mycorrhizal fungi on whole-plant nutrient economics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019;116(46):23163-23168. doi:10.1073/pnas.1906655116
    • Most plants on Earth form a symbiosis with root-associated (i.e., mycorrhizal) fungi, trading plant photosynthate for fungal-acquired soil nutrients.
    • Mycorrhizal fungi are critical members of the plant microbiome, forming a symbiosis with the roots of most plants on Earth. Most plant species partner with either arbuscular or ectomycorrhizal fungi, and these symbioses are thought to represent plant adaptations to fast and slow soil nutrient cycling rates. 
    • Different mycorrhizal associations are linked to differences in a suite of plant traits related to nutrient economic strategies
    • Mary’s Note: healthier soil has a more rich mycorrhiza network which means that they are part of the plant’s defense system and therefor its health
  • Abbey L, Ofoe R, Gunupuru LR, Ijenyo M. Variation in frequency of CQA-tested municipal solid waste compost can alter metabolites in vegetables. Food Res Int. 2021;143:110225. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110225
    • Variations in frequency of MSW compost application altered metabolomics profiles of vegetables.
    • Metabolites composition varied with vegetable species as influenced by compost application frequency.
    • Annual compost application enhanced all the metabolites except glucose.
    • Food nutrients density and functional property were improved.
  • Banerjee, S., van der Heijden, M.G.A. Soil microbiomes and one health. Nat Rev Microbiol (2022). ***
    • The concept of one health highlights that human health is not isolated but connected to the health of animals, plants and environments. 
    • In this Review, we demonstrate that soils are a cornerstone of one health and serve as a source and reservoir of pathogens, beneficial microorganisms and the overall microbial diversity in a wide range of organisms and ecosystems.
  • BaraƄski M, Rempelos L, Iversen PO, Leifert C. Effects of organic food consumption on human health; the jury is still out! Food Nutr Res. 2017 Mar 6;61(1):1287333.
  • BaraƄski M, ƚrednicka-Tober D, Volakakis N, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: A systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition. 2014;112(5):794-811. 
    • Found significantly higher levels of these phytochemicals in addition to vitamins C and E. In comparison, pesticide residues and toxic metal content was four times as high in conventional fruits.
    •  Researcher state that shifting to organic farming can increase the phytochemical content in produce to the current equivalent of eating 2-4 portions of fruits and vegetables!
    • Concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenols have been found to be substantially higher in organic crops/organic cropbased foods which have not been sprayed with pesticides. Many of these compounds have been
      linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases
  • Baudry J, Assmann KE, Touvier M, et al. Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk: Findings From the NutriNet-SantĂ© Prospective Cohort Study [published correction appears in JAMA Intern Med. 2018 Dec 1;178(12):1732]. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(12):1597-1606. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4357
  • Baudry et al –A higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer.  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2707948
  • Blum WEH, Zechmeister-Boltenstern S, Keiblinger KM. Does Soil Contribute to the Human Gut Microbiome?. Microorganisms. 2019;7(9):287. Published 2019 Aug 23.
    • From early childhood, we are in contact with soil; we taste it, we inhale it, and we drink water which has passed through soil. Moreover, we ingest plants grown on soils together with soil microbiota.
    • The colonization of the human gut starts at birth, with the rapid expansion of microbial diversity, influenced by endogenous and exogenous factors [], such as human genetic variation as well as diet, infections, xenobiotics, and exposure to environmental microbial agents including the large plant and soil microbiome
    • On top of little contact with soil and feces, hygienic measures, antibiotics and a low fiber diet of processed food have led to a loss of beneficial microbes. At the same time, loss of soil biodiversity is observed in many rural areas. The increasing use of agrochemicals, low plant biodiversity and rigorous soil management practices have a negative effect on the biodiversity of crop epiphytes and endophytes. These developments concur with an increase in lifestyle diseases related to the human intestinal microbiome. 
  • Brevik EC, Slaughter L, Singh BR, et al. Soil and human health: Current status and future needs. Air, Soil and Water Research. 2020; ***
    • There has been research which support the link between contact with the “natural environment, including soils, and microbially driven immunoregulatory responses in humans that positively influence mental and physical wellbeing.
    • There are a number of positive ways that soils enhance human health, from food production and nutrient supply to the supply of medications and enhancement of the immune system. It is increasingly recognized that the soil is an ecosystem with a myriad of interconnected parts, each influencing the other, and when all necessary parts are present and functioning (ie, the soil is healthy), human health also benefits.
  • Brevik, E. C. & Burgess, L. C. (2014) The Influence of Soils on Human Health. Nature Education Knowledge 5(12):1
    • Approximately 78% of the average per capita calorie consumption worldwide comes from crops grown directly in soil, and another nearly 20% comes from terrestrial food sources that rely indirectly on soil
    • Soils are also a major source of nutrients, and they act as natural filters to remove contaminants from water. However, soils may contain heavy metals, chemicals, or pathogens that have the potential to negatively impact human health.
    • The ability to produce nutritious crops in sufficient amounts depends on soil properties and conditions. In particular, soils that have well-developed structure, sufficient organic matter, and other physical and chemical properties conducive to promoting crop growth lead to strong yields and are thus important for food security
  •  Brevik, E. C. and Sauer, T. J.: The past, present, and future of soils and human health studies, SOIL, 1, 35–46, https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-1-35-2015, 2015.
    • We recognize that soils influence (1) food availability and quality (food security), (2) human contact with various chemicals, and (3) human contact with various pathogens. Soils and human health studies include investigations into nutrient supply through the food chain and routes of exposure to chemicals and pathogens. However, making strong, scientific connections between soils and human health can be difficult. There are multiple variables to consider in the soil environment, meaning traditional scientific studies that seek to isolate and manipulate a single variable often do not provide meaningful data.
  • Brooke, L; Johnson, A.  Grow Organic: The Climate, Health, and Economic Case for Expanding Organic Agriculture   Natural Resources Defense Council published in partnership with the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University and Californians for Pesticide Reform. Website.  Published  October 27, 2022. Accessed January 2023.  (You can download the report from the website) 
    • Organic agriculture reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of farming by eliminating most fossil fuel–based inputs, and it builds climate resilience by promoting healthy soils, diversifying food crops, and supporting threatened wildlife habitats and biodiversity. 
    • Data show that organic farming emits less nitrous oxide by avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides commonly used in conventional agriculture, and organic livestock production leads to fewer methane emissions compared with conventional concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).  
    • Research demonstrates that organic agriculture benefits our health by dramatically reducing exposure to agricultural pollution in air, water, and food. Farmworkers and others working and living near conventional farms suffer serious acute and chronic health ailments associated with pesticide exposure, and studies indicate that pesticide residues in our food may be harmful to consumer health.
  • Çakmakçı S, Çakmakçı R. Quality and Nutritional Parameters of Food in Agri-Food Production Systems. Foods. 2023 Jan 11;12(2):351. doi: 10.3390/foods12020351. PMID: 36673443; PMCID: PMC9857782.
    • The present review summarises and evaluates research comparing the quality of traditionally, organically and conventionally produced foods. In some cases, although the results of the studies contradict each other, organically grown in vegetables, especially berries and fruits are slightly higher dry matter, minerals such as P, Ca, Mg, Fe and Zn, vitamin C, sugars, carotenoids, antioxidant activity, phenolic and flavonoid compounds. In addition, their sensory properties are more pleasant. 
    • The yield in organic systems lower than conventional ones, but organic foods have significantly less or no synthetic pesticide residues. This is especially important in children nutrition [6]. In addition, it is a fact that there are differences in manufacturing, processing, preparation, packaging, preservation, and marketing methods that can affect the quality of organic and conventional foods.
    • Organic agriculture targets social, cultural, economic and ecological sustainability and better balances economic viability; moreover, it is more profitable and environmentally friendly Zhu et al. [7] determined that an organic production system could help reduce environmental impacts despite having lower productivity, while Clark [8] concluded that compared to conventional agriculture, organic farming is more effective at using non-renewable energy, and performs well in terms of energy efficiency.
    •  The yield difference between organic and conventional agriculture may decrease over time, as organic agriculture will have a higher organic matter concentration, greater stability of soil properties, and improved soil structure with higher soil aggregation
    • Several studies reveal that some of the prominent motivating factors for buying organic food are health-promotion or nutrition, attractiveness, nutritional and biological value, domain-specific innovativeness, origin, regionalism, health benefits and awareness, product quality, health and environmental consciousness, social and self-identity, food safety, trust, freshness, credibility, emotions, perception, and sensory properties such as taste, appearance, odour, flavour, intensive aroma, mouth feel and texture
    • Soil nitrogen appears to affect nutritional quality, and organic crops generally have higher dry matter, sugar, ascorbic acid, flavonoids and phenolics, as well as lower yields and moisture, nitrate and protein content. The literature shows that organic grains, vegetables and fruits have higher or equal amounts of minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins C and E, while organic cereal has less protein, but an equal amount in vegetables and fruits
  • Coller, E., Cestaro, A., Zanzotti, R. et al. Microbiome of vineyard soils is shaped by geography and management. Microbiome 7, 140 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-019-0758-7
    •  The biodiversity of soil microbial communities is increasingly recognized as a major factor for human health both directly, by limiting the spread of potential pathogens, and indirectly, by contributing to processes that provide clean air, water, and healthy food [3]. Soil serves as a primary reservoir for plant-colonizing bacteria [4], that play a major role in determining plant productivity [5] and preventing invasion by bacterial pathogens [6].
  • Cusworth G and Garnett, T. (2023). What is regenerative agriculture? TABLE Explainer. TABLE, University of Oxford, Swedish University of Agricultural  Sciences and Wageningen University and Research.
  • Dixon KA, Michelsen MK, Carpenter CL. Modern Diets and the Health of Our Planet: An Investigation into the Environmental Impacts of Food Choices. Nutrients. 2023; 15(3):692. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030692
    • The diets found to have the lowest environmental impacts were the vegan, climatarian, and Mediterranean diets. These low-carbon-footprint diets can likely be attributed to a reduced reliance on ruminant meat (cattle and sheep) and processed food consumption, while diets with high carbon footprints are more dependent on ruminant meat and saturated fat.
    •  Making simple substitutions within each individual’s diet can be advertised as an effective approach to collectively lower the environmental impact in tandem with improving health and longevity.
  • Dobrowolski, H., Szumigaj, B., WƂodarek, D., Kazimierczak, R., ObidziƄska, J., & RembiaƂkowska, E. (2024). Dietary intake of polish organic and conventional fruit growers and their life partners–a pilot study. Frontiers in Public Health, 12, 1345402.
    • The aim of our study was to examine the diets of orchardists and their immediate life partners in terms of meeting energy requirements, nutrient intake and fulfillment of dietary recommendations in this group. Fifty-three participants (28 in the organic group and 25 in the conventional group)
    • In conclusion, the orchardists’ diets mostly provided adequate amounts of nutrients, with inadequate intakes of calcium, vitamin D, cholesterol, and fatty acids. The diets of organic fruit growers were significantly richer in selected nutrients.
  • Fagan J, Bohlen L, Patton S, Klein K. Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary glyphosate levels in U.S. children and adults. Environ Res. 2020 Oct;189:109898. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109898. Epub 2020 Aug 11. PMID: 32797996.
    •  This study demonstrates that diet is a primary source of glyphosate exposure and that shifting to an organic diet is an effective way to reduce body burden of glyphosate and its main metabolite, AMPA. This research adds to a growing body of literature indicating that an organic diet may reduce exposure to a range of pesticides in children and adults.
  • FAO. 2022. Soils for nutrition: state of the art. Rome.
    • This booklet aims to review the role of soil fertility in producing sufficient, safe, and more nourishing food for healthier plants, animals, and people. It also offers recommendations for solutions that can provide a more nutritious agrifood system for enhancing human health and wellbeing while protecting the environment. Soil fertility and nutrition involve processes at scales ranging from molecules to the entire planet. 
    • This booklet contributes to understanding processes related to soil fertility from the perspectives of food production and food security, and the environmental and climate change impacts associated with fertilizer misuse and overuse. The booklet also outlines the main areas of opportunity and the way forward to solve the nutrient imbalance prevailing in our current agrifood systems.
    • Contemporary research has revealed that soils have an impact on human health through influencing food availability and quality (food security), as well as human exposure to numerous pollutants and pathogens (Brevik, 2013; Burras, Nyasimi and Butler, 2013). 
    • Soils are the primary source of essential nutrients that nourish humans and other animals 
    • Human micronutrient deficiency is defined as a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet. Micronutrients enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances that are essential for proper growth and development (WHO, 2022). Micronutrient deficiency is a major threat to the health and development of the population particularly affecting children and pregnant women in low-income countries (WHO, 2022). Besides undernourishment, micronutrient deficiency also underlines other health issues including overweight, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and diabetes (WHO, 2022).
  • Giovannetti M, Avio L, Barale R, et al. Nutraceutical value and safety of tomato fruits produced by mycorrhizal plants. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012;107(2):242-251. doi:10.1017/S000711451100290X
    • The nutraceutical value of tomatoes can be affected by the cultivation conditions, e.g. the phytochemical content of the fruits may increase with the establishment of beneficial mycorrhizal symbioses in the plants.
    • The present results showed that the symbiosis positively affected the growth and mineral nutrient content of tomato plants and enhanced the nutritional and nutraceutical value of tomato fruits through modifications of plant secondary metabolism, which led to increased levels of lycopene in fruits obtained from mycorrhizal plants, compared with controls. 
  • Glibowski P Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig.. Organic food and health.  2020;71(2):131-136. doi: 10.32394/rpzh.2020.0110 ***
    • Organic food contributes to better health through reduced pesticide exposure for all and increased nutritional quality. 
    • Looking only at pesticide residues in food as a measure of pesticide exposure ignores the fact that many foods that do not end up with high pesticide residues nonetheless involve toxic chemicals in production that put workers’ health at risk. Pesticide use in production and farmworker exposure is a necessary consideration in looking at the whole pesticide problem. 
    • A study published by The Organic Center reveals that organic food is higher in certain key areas such as total antioxidant capacity, total polyphenols, and two key flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, all of which are nutritionally significant
    • Risk for isolating antibiotic-resistant bacteria in organic products was lower than in nonorganic products [26].
  • Hadadi N, Berweiler V, Wang H, Trajkovski M. Intestinal microbiota as a route for micronutrient bioavailability. Curr Opin Endocr Metab Res. 2021 Sep 4;20:100285 (NOTE: This is about the impact that poor nutrient status – which MAY result from poor soil health and/and or reduced nutrient value in food because of industrial growing practices)
    • Vitamins and minerals, collectively termed micronutrients, are crucial for human health. These micronutrients are essential core regulators of fundamental biosynthetic cellular reactions such as immune, and energy functions [1], as well as growth, bone health, fluid balance, and other biological processes
    • Micronutrients also modulate the abundance and diversity of the gut microbiota resulting in beneficial or detrimental outcomes to the host
  • Health Benefits of Organic Agriculture  Beyond Pesticides Website https://www.beyondpesticides.org/programs/organic-agriculture/why-organic/health-benefits  accessed June 2023
    • Compared to a conventional diet, regular and frequent consumption of organic products generally reduces the risk of overweight and obesity, both for women and men, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma in case of women. Besides those, consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products significantly reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and eczema in infants, respectively
    • Positive effect on selected health problems probably results from a reduced amount of pesticide residues and an increased secondary plant metabolites intake which characterize organic food
  • Healthy Soils Are the Basis for Healthy Food Production. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.  Graphic Accessed June 2022. FAO, “Healthy Soils Are the Basis- “, (2020).
    • In the past 50 years advances in agriculture technology has led to increased food production, but sometimes with negative impacts on soils and the environment
    • In many countries, intensive crop production has depleted the soil, jeopardizing our ability to maintain production in these areas in the future more food . Soil health and its fertility have a direct influence on the nutrient content of food crops
    • Sustainable soil management could produce up to 58% more food
  • Hills RD Jr, Pontefract BA, Mishcon HR, Black CA, Sutton SC, Theberge CR. Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients. 2019;11(7):1613. Published 2019 Jul 16.
  • Hirt H. Healthy soils for healthy plants for healthy humans: How beneficial microbes in the soil, food and gut are interconnected and how agriculture can contribute to human health. EMBO Rep. 2020 Aug 5;21(8):e51069. doi: 10.15252/embr.202051069. Epub 2020 Jul 31. PMID: 32734701; PMCID: PMC7403703. ***
    • Industrial agriculture requires increasing amounts of fertilizers and pesticides to maintain yield. This seems to be the result and/or the cause of a poor microbial diversity in the soil. Soil erosion and climate change also affect microbial biodiversity and contribute to the loss of large areas of arable land and their microbial populations
    • Since microbes from fruits, salads and vegetables join the human gut microbiome, the plant microbiome can affect the gut microbiome and thereby human health.
    • Great graphics in this paper!
  • Hurtado-Barroso, S., Tresserra-Rimbau, A., VallverdĂș-Queralt, A., & Lamuela- RaventĂłs, R. M. (2019). Organic food and the impact on human health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59(4), 704–714.
    • Organic agriculture seems to contribute to maintaining an optimal health status and decreases the risk of developing chronic diseases. This may be due to the higher content of bioactive compounds and lower content of unhealthy substances such as cadmium and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in organic foods of plant origin compared to conventional agricultural products.
    • Large long-term intervention studies are needed to determine whether an organic diet is healthier than a diet including conventionally grown food products.
  • Jekums, A. (n.d.). Agroecology in Andhra Pradesh, India: Unveiling Hidden Costs and Benefits through True Cost Accounting. https://futureoffood.org/insights/agroecology-in-andhra-pradesh-india/.
    • Recently, the Global Alliance partnered with GIST Impact to use the TEEBAgriFood framework developed by the UN Environment Program – and apply True Cost Accounting (TCA) – to measure the impacts of the Andhra Pradesh Community-Managed Natural Farming project, which has transitioned over 630,000 farmers to agroecology. 
    • The analysis demonstrated that the agroecological practices and principles of natural farming generated the most beneficial economic, environmental and social outcomes, resulting in 49% net increases in farmer incomes, increased diet diversity, and yes, even 11% higher yields. 
    • Full REport here: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://futureoffood.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/apcnf-tca-study_2023.pdf 
  • Johansson E, Hussain A, Kuktaite R, Andersson SC, Olsson ME. Contribution of organically grown crops to human health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014;11(4):3870-3893. Published 2014 Apr 8.
  • Kavamura, V.N., Robinson, R.J., Hughes, D. et al. Wheat dwarfing influences selection of the rhizosphere microbiome. Sci Rep 10, 1452 (2020).
    • The development of dwarf wheat cultivars combined with high levels of agrochemical inputs during the green revolution resulted in high yielding cropping systems. However, changes in wheat cultivars were made without considering impacts on plant and soil microbe interactions.
    • results suggest that the development of semi-dwarf plants might have affected the ability of plants to recruit and sustain a complex bacterial community network in the rhizosphere.
  • Kawano et al. Microbiota imbalance induced by dietary sugar disrupts immune-mediated protection from metabolic syndrome. Volume 185, Issue 19, 15 September 2022, Pages 3501-3519.e20
    • “highlight(s) an elaborate interaction between diet, microbiota, and intestinal immunity in regulation of metabolic disorders”.
  • Kucheruk, M., Midyk, S, Zasekin, D. & Kepple, O. (2019). Comparison of fatty acid content of organic and traditionally grown broiler chickens. Food Science and Technology. 13(4), 51-57. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15673/fst.v13i4.1570
    • In the meat of chickens grown using organic technology, the amount of saturated fatty acids increased significantly by 11.13%, there is a significant decrease in omega-6 fatty acids by 7.57% and an increase in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids by 0.8% compared to with chicken from the retail chain.
  • LaCanne CE, Lundgren JG. Regenerative agriculture: merging farming and natural resource conservation profitably. PeerJ. 2018 Feb 26;6:e4428. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4428. PMID: 29503771; PMCID: PMC5831153.
    • Regenerative farming systems provided greater ecosystem services and profitability for farmers than an input-intensive model of corn production. Pests were 10-fold more abundant in insecticide-treated corn fields than on insecticide-free regenerative farms
    • Regenerative fields had 29% lower grain production but 78% higher profits over traditional corn production systems. Profit was positively correlated with the particulate organic matter of the soil, not yield. These results provide the basis for dialogue on ecologically based farming systems that could be used to simultaneously produce food while conserving our natural resource base
  • LOEFFELHOLZ, T How Regenerative Farming Heals the Soil  And makes healthier food than even organic farming. Yes Magazine.  Published March, 2023. Accessed July 2023
  • Lezaks, D; Ellerton, M. The Regenerative Agriculture and Human Health Nexus: Insights from Field to Body:  Published 2021***
    • Growing more nutritious food does influence human health. And that this nexus of regenerative agriculture and human health calls for an inclusive movement made up of a diverse group of organizations and leaders working in concert to improve the human condition.
  • Li et al.The productive performance of intercropping   PNAS. Vol. 120 | No. 2 January 3, 2023
    • Intercropping, the planned combination of two or more crop species in one field, is a promising practice.
    • Based on a meta-analysis of 226 field experiments:  Overall, although intercropping does not achieve transgressive overyielding on average, our results show that intercropping performs well in producing a diverse set of crop products and performs almost similar to the most productive component sole crop to produce raw products, while improving crop resilience, enhancing ecosystem services, and improving nutrient use efficiency. Our study, therefore, confirms the great interest of intercropping for the development of a more sustainable agricultural production, supporting diversified diets.
  • Lori M., Symnaczik S., MĂ€der P., De Deyn G., Gattinger A. Organic farming enhances soil microbial abundance and activity—A meta-analysis and meta-regression. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0180442. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180442.
    • An active soil microbiota plays an important role for various soil based ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling,erosion control and pest and disease regulation
    • Overall, we found that organic systems had 32% to 84% greater microbial biomass carbon, microbial biomass nitrogen, total phospholipid fatty-acids, and dehydrogenase, urease and protease activities than conventional systems
  • Lucia RM, Liao X, Huang WL, Forman D, Kim A, Ziogas A, Norden-Krichmar TM, Goodman D, Alvarez A, Masunaka I, Pathak KV, McGilvrey M, Hegde AM, Pirrotte P, Park HL. Urinary glyphosate and AMPA levels in a cross-sectional study of postmenopausal women: Associations with organic eating behavior and dietary intake. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2023 Jun 29;252:114211. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2023.114211. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37393842.
    • Animal and epidemiologic studies suggest that there may be adverse health effects from exposure to glyphosate, the most highly used pesticide in the world, and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA). 
    • The vast majority of subjects sampled had detectable levels, and significant dietary sources in the American diet were identified.
  • Manzeke-Kangara M et al Do agronomic approaches aligned to regenerative agriculture improve the micronutrient concentrations of edible portions of crops? A scoping review of evidence . Front. Nutr., 12 July 2023 Sec. Nutrition and Sustainable Diets ***
    • Regenerative Agriculture (RA) is widely used to describe agronomic approaches based on the principles of improving soil health and sequestering carbon
      • (1) minimize the external impacts of agriculture beyond the farm; (2) minimize energy and other inputs into the farm; (3) sequester carbon, improve nutrient cycling and wider ecosystem services, (4) increase biodiversity, and (5) promote social justice. Soil conservation is considered as the entry point for most agronomic approaches informed by RA, although universally accepted formal definitions and inclusion criteria for RA are lacking
    • This scoping review supports a potential role for RA approaches in increasing the concentrations of micronutrients in the edible portions of several crop types under specific practices, although this was context specific. For example, rice grown under increased organic inputs showed significant increases in grain zinc (Zn) concentration in 15 out of 16 studies. The vitamin C concentration of tomato fruit increased in ~50% of studies when plants were grown under increased organic inputs, and in 76% of studies when plants were grown under deficit irrigation. Overall, the magnitude and reproducibility of the effects of RA practices on most crop nutritional profiles were difficult to assess due to the diversity of RA approaches, geographical conditions, and the limited number of studies for most crops in each of these categories.
    • Papers included combinations of agronomic approaches that could be defined as Regenerative: “Organic Inputs” including composts and manures, cover crops, crop rotations, crop residues and biochars; “Reduced Tillage”, “Intercropping”, “Biostimulants” e.g. arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; plant growth promoting bacteria, and “Irrigation”, typically deficit-irrigation and alternate wetting and drying. 
    • Reductions in the intensive use of agrochemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides can also deliver potential health benefits on-farm during handling and application, and beyond the farm-gate. This can be directly, during processing and consumption; and through decreased potential for environmental pollution of landscapes (soil, water and atmosphere).
  • Mie A, Andersen HR, Gunnarsson S, et al. Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: A comprehensive review. Environmental Health. 2017;16(1) ***
    • Diet choices and the associated food production methods also have important impacts on environmental sustainability
    • Organic dairy products, and perhaps also meats, have a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional products. However, these differences are likely of marginal nutritional significance.
    • Of greater concern is the prevalent use of antibiotics in conventional animal production as a key driver of antibiotic resistance in society; antibiotic use is less intensive in organic production.
    • Overall, this review emphasises several documented and likely human health benefits associated with organic food production, and application of such production methods is likely to be beneficial within conventional agriculture, e.g., in integrated pest management.
  • Mondal DD, Chakraborty U, Bera M, Ghosh S, Kar D. An overview of nutritional profiling in foods: Bioanalytical techniques and useful protocols. Front Nutr. 2023 Mar 21;10:1124409. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1124409. PMID: 37025612; PMCID: PMC10070841.
    • This is about nutrient density testing of food
    • Nutritional profiling (NP) models are developed to evaluate the nutritional value, calorie content, and the amount of micronutrients and macronutrients contained in a given food accompanied by additional details on the nutritional anomaly provided by published standard nutrients and nutritional databases. 
    • In this review, we are focusing on the different bioanalytical techniques and the various protocols of NP and their application and refinement of the models. We have evaluated various NP techniques currently used in the food industry for the detection of different components present in food items.
  • Montgomery d et al, Soil Health and Nutrient Density: Beyond Organic vs. Conventional Farming: Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 04 November 2021 ***
    • More recent studies have shown how reliance on tillage and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers influence soil life, and thereby soil health, in ways that can reduce mineral micronutrient uptake by and phytochemical production in crops. While organic farming tends to enhance soil health and conventional practices degrade it, relying on tillage for weed control on both organic and conventional farms degrades soil organic matter and can disrupt soil life in ways that reduce crop mineral uptake and phytochemical production. 
    • More consistent differences between organic and conventional crops include that conventional crops contain greater pesticide levels, whereas organically grown crops contain higher levels of phytochemicals shown to exhibit health-protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Montgomery DR, BiklĂ© A, Archuleta R, Brown P, Jordan J. 2022. Soil health and nutrient density: preliminary comparison of regenerative and conventional farming. PeerJ 10:e12848 ***
    • 10 Farms with no-till, cover crops, and diverse rotations produced crops with higher “soil organic matter” levels, soil health scores, and levels of certain vitamins, minerals,  (Cu, Ca, Zn)
    • Higher levels of phytochemicals (including phytosterols) with regenerative farming than conventional  (promote immune health)
    • Regenerative grazing practices produced meat with a better fatty acid profile & ratio
  • Moyer J, Stoll S, Schaeffer Z, et al. THE POWER of the PLATE: The Case for Regenerative Organic Agriculture in Improving Human Health. Rodale Institute. 2020 ***.
    • ‱ In addition to lacking nutrition, industrial farming directly and indirectly affects human health via exposure to potentially toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants.
    • Regenerative organic agriculture grows food without synthetic chemicals or salt-based fertilizers while improving soil health, which can increase the nutrient density of food and help combat environmental issues like climate change.
  • Muller, A., Schader, C., El-Hage Scialabba, N. et al. Strategies for feeding the world more sustainably with organic agriculture. Nat Commun 8, 1290 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01410-w
  • Ren F, Reilly K, Kerry JP, Gaffney M, Hossain M, Rai DK. Higher antioxidant activity, total flavonols, and specific quercetin glucosides in two different onion (allium cepa L.) varieties grown under organic production: Results from a 6-year field study. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2017;65(25):5122-5132. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.7b01352
    • Total flavonoids were higher in ‘Red Baron’ and when onions were grown under organic soil treatment. Differences were primarily due to different soil management practices used in organic agriculture rather than pesticide/ herbicide application.
  • Optimizing Health and Nutrition. Soil to Society. Accessed March 20, 2024. https://www.soiltosociety.org/.
    • The SAS Soil to Society project involves over 20 researchers from Washington State University and Johns Hopkins University, and evaluators from Kansas State University to improve the soil quality where these crops are grown, develop more nutritional varieties and products that can be brought to market, and evaluate the impact of these foods on human health. By bringing together soil scientists, plant breeders, food scientists, and health researchers, the Soil to Society grant will cross disciplines to develop holistic agricultural management strategies and healthy, affordable food products to meet the needs of diverse individuals and communities.
  • Parizad S, Bera S. The effect of organic farming on water reusability, sustainable ecosystem, and food toxicity [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jul 7]. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021;10.1007/s11356-021-15258-7. doi:10.1007/s11356-021-15258-7
    • Organic farming is one of the best ways that does not only reduce the deterioration of water quality but also decrease food toxicity.
    • Fields that are organically managed continuously for years have fewer pest populations and were attributed to increased biodiversity and abundance of multi-trophic interactions as well as to changes in plant metabolites.
  • Popa et al. Organic foods contribution to nutritional quality and value. Trends in Food Science & Technology Volume 84, February 2019, Pages 15-18 ***
    •  Due to the fact that synthetic fertilizers offer more bioavailable sources of nitrogen, plant development is accelerated, and all plant resources go to growth purposes and not to the production of secondary metabolites (e.g. polyphenols).
    • The second hypothesis is related to the plant exposure to stressful situations resulted from the absence of pesticides (such as attacks from various insects, weeds and plant pathogens) leading to an increase of natural defence substances, such as phenolic compounds
    • There are several reasons favoring organic food consumption, such as less exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria; natural pesticides defense system activation
    • A significant imbalance continues to exist between the current supply of organic produce and the growing demand for organic food
  • Puigbo et al. Does Glyphosate Affect the Human Microbiota? Life 2022, 12(5), 707;
    • Our results demonstrate that more than one-half of human microbiome are intrinsically sensitive to glyphosate.
  • Rahman A, Baharlouei P, Koh EHY, Pirvu DG, Rehmani R, Arcos M, Puri S. A Comprehensive Analysis of Organic Food: Evaluating Nutritional Value and Impact on Human Health. Foods. 2024; 13(2):208. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13020208
    • This review identified some of these health benefits, including a reduction in obesity and body mass index (BMI), improvements in blood nutrient composition as well as reductions in maternal obesity and pregnancy-associated preeclampsia risks. Furthermore, organic food consumption can reduce the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and colorectal cancers. 
    • It was found that organic food contained higher levels of iron, magnesium and vitamin C. However, the evidence available to draw definitive causations remains limited due to study biases, short study durations and confounding variables;
    •  Thus, it cannot be concluded that the organic diet provides any related health benefits.
  • Ramkumar, D., Marty, A., Ramkumar, J., Rosencranz, H., Duvvuri, R., Goldman, M., … & Rosier, C. (2024). Food for thought: Making the case for food produced via regenerative agriculture in the battle against non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs). One Health, 100734.
  • Reganold JP, Wachter JM. Organic Agriculture in the twenty-first century. Nature Plants. 2016;2(2).   
  • Regenerate Soil, Regenerate Health: Author/Soil Scientist Anne BiklĂ© in Conversation With Zach Bush, MD (VIDEO)
    • There are never-ending connections between us and nature. This conversation between leaders in the field sheds more light on the link between the health of the soil, soil microbiome, nutrient density of food and the impact this all has on human health & the human gut microbiome.
  • Reid, T. E., Kavamura, V. N., Abadie, M., Torres-Ballesteros, A., Pawlett, M., Clark, I. M., … & Mauchline, T. H. (2021). Inorganic chemical fertilizer application to wheat reduces the abundance of putative plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12, 642587.
    • The profound negative effect of inorganic chemical fertilizer application on rhizobacterial diversity has been well documented using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and predictive metagenomics.
    •  fertilizer addition decreased the proportion of nutrient-solubilizing bacteria (nitrate, phosphate, potassium, iron, and zinc) isolated from rhizocompartments in wheat
    •  our study suggests that rhizobacteria that potentially benefit plants by mobilizing insoluble nutrients in soil are reduced by chemical fertilizer addition
  • Rempelos, L  and others, Diet and food type affect urinary pesticide residue excretion profiles in healthy individuals: results of a randomized controlled dietary intervention trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 115, Issue 2, February 2022, Pages 364–377
    •  Organic farming standards prohibit the use of most pesticides, and organic food consumption may therefore reduce pesticide exposure. This may explain the positive health outcomes linked to organic food consumption in observational studies.
    • Organic food consumption reduced exposure to all groups of synthetic chemical pesticide
  • Röös E, Mayer A, Muller A, Kalt G, Ferguson S, Erb KH, Hart R, Matej S, Kaufmann L, Pfeifer C, Frehner A, Smith P, Schwarz G. Agroecological practices in combination with healthy diets can help meet EU food system policy targets. Sci Total Environ. 2022 Nov 15;847:157612. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157612. Epub 2022 Jul 25. PMID: 35901890.
    • Large-scale implementation of agroecological practices without concurrent changes on the demand side could aggravate existing environmental pressures. 
    • These results confirm the importance of dietary change for food system climate change mitigation. Economic modelling showed a need for drastic changes in consumer preferences towards more plant-based, agroecological and local foods, and for improvements in technology
  • Rouphael, Y et al.Phenolic composition, antioxidant activity and mineral profile in two seed-propagated artichoke cultivars as affected by microbial inoculants and planting time. Food Chemistry Volume 234, 1 November 2017, Pages 10-19
    • Another key preharvest factor able to enhance plant growth and quality would be through inoculation with beneficial microorganisms such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and Trichoderma (LĂłpez-Bucio et al., 2015, Rouphael et al., 2015).
    • Experimental studies showed that AMF can enhance the accumulation of secondary metabolites (phenolics and carotenoids), vitamins (ascorbate and tocopherols), sugars as well as anthocyanins in several vegetables (Battini et al., 2016, Rouphael et al., 2015, Sbrana et al., 2014). Such physiological changes during mutualistic association may be ascribed to a transient activation of plant defense reactions in colonized roots leading to the accumulation of secondary metabolites (Rouphael et al., 2015, Sbrana et al., 2014). In a previous paper, Ceccarelli et al. (2010) reported a higher phenolic content and antioxidant activity in artichoke flower heads as affected by mycorrhizal symbiosis.
  • Ruuskanen et al. Ecosystem consequences of herbicides: the role of microbiome Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Published: October 13,  2022
    • The changes in soil microbiome are likely to influence key nutrient cycling and plant–soil processes. Herbicide-altered microbiome affects plant and animal performance and can influence trophic interactions such as herbivory and pollination.
  • Schreefel, L., Schulte, R. P., De Boer, I. J. M., Schrijver, A. P., & Van Zanten, H. H. E. (2020). Regenerative agriculture–the soil is the base. Global Food Security, 26, 100404.
    • we propose a provisional definition of RA as an approach to farming that uses soil conservation as the entry point to regenerate and contribute to multiple ecosystem services.
  • Schultheis A. Optimizing Human Health and Nutrition: From Soil to Society . Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. Published May 16, 2023. https://csanr.wsu.edu/optimizing-human-health-and-nutrition-from-soil-to-society/.
    • The understanding of agriculture’s role in societal health include a historical separation of the involved scientific disciplines, and an economic incentive to focus on crop yield rather than nutrition. 
    • The SAS Soil to Society project involves over 20 researchers from Washington State University and Johns Hopkins University, and evaluators from Kansas State University to improve the soil quality where these crops are grown, develop more nutritional varieties and products that can be brought to market, and evaluate the impact of these foods on human health
    • . By bringing together soil scientists, plant breeders, food scientists, and health researchers, the Soil to Society grant will cross disciplines to develop holistic agricultural management strategies and healthy, affordable food products to meet the needs of diverse individuals and communities.
  • Sciligo, A et al. Local diversification enhances pollinator visitation to strawberry and may improve pollination and marketability  Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 22 August 2022 Sec. Agroecology and Ecosystem Services
    • “These results suggest that both polyculture and semi-natural habitat cover support more abundant and diverse pollinator communities, and that ambient levels of pollinator visitation to strawberry provide an important crop pollination service by improving berry marketability”
  • Sharpe RM, Gustafson L, Hewitt S, Kilian B, Crabb J, Hendrickson C, Jiwan D, Andrews P, Dhingra A. Concomitant phytonutrient and transcriptome analysis of mature fruit and leaf tissues of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv. Oregon Spring) grown using organic and conventional fertilizer. PLoS One. 2020 Jan 13;15(1):e0227429.
  •  Seufert, V., & Ramankutty, N. (2017). Many shades of gray-The context-dependent performance of organic  agriculture. Science advances, 3(3), e1602638. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.160263
    • Lower yields can range depending on the situation and they say it’s possible to see a lower yield that’s only 5-9% less than the traditional counterpart. This same study also found that it can be a larger amount of 30-40% less of what the organic crops are producing. It’s fascinating that there can be such a wide range of yields with organic depending on the conditions
  • ƚrednicka-Tober D, BaraƄski M, Seal C. Composition differences between organic and conventional meat: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2016;115(06):994–1011. +  ƚrednicka-Tober D, BaraƄski M, Seal CJ. Higher PUFA and n-3 PUFA, conjugated linoleic acid, α-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: a systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analyses. Br J Nutr. 2016;115(06):1043–1060.
    • organic meat, milk, and dairy products have approximately higher concentrations of nutritionally-desirable omega-3 fatty acids; intakes of very long chain omega-3 fatty acids in Western diets 
    • organic milk was reported to contain higher levels of total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), higher iron and α-tocopherol concentrations, which are all considered to be nutritionally desirable, although the evidence for health benefits of CLA is mainly from in vitro and animal studies
    • conventional meat has slightly, but significantly higher concentrations of the saturated fatty acids myristic- and palmitic acid, which were linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Steffan JJ, Brevik EC, Burgess LC, CerdĂ  A. The effect of soil on human health: an overview. Eur J Soil Sci. 2018 Jan;69(1):159-171. doi: 10.1111/ejss.12451. Epub 2017 Jul 17. PMID: 29430209; PMCID: PMC5800787.
    • Soil has a considerable effect on human health, whether those effects are positive or negative, direct or indirect.
    • Many anthropogenic factors such as the use of organic fertilizers on crops, antibiotic use in humans and livestock and antibiotic use on crops (typically through the application of manures or waste water that contain antibiotics to crops (; )) increase the incidence and persistence of antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotic resistant species in the soil
  • Soil: The Foundation of Nutrition Food and Agriculture Foundation Graphic
    • Soil degradation leads to the loss of soil micro and macronutrients 
    • Nutrient-poor soils are unable to produce healthy food with all the necessary nutrients for a healthy person
  • Tasnim N, Abulizi N, Pither J, Hart MM, Gibson DL. Linking the Gut Microbial Ecosystem with the Environment: Does Gut Health Depend on Where We Live?. Front Microbiol. 2017;8:1935. Published 2017 Oct 6. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.01935
  • Vigar V, Myers S, Oliver C, Arellano J, Robinson S, Leifert C. A systematic review of organic versus conventional food consumption: Is there a measurable benefit on human health? Nutrients. 2019;12(1):7. doi:10.3390/nu12010007. ***
    • “Significant positive outcomes were seen in longitudinal studies where increased organic intake was associated with reduced incidence of infertility, birth defects, allergic sensitisation, otitis media, pre-eclampsia, metabolic syndrome, high BMI, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”
    •  “However, a growing number of important findings are being reported from observational research linking demonstrable health benefits with organic food consumption.”
  • Wassermann, B. et al. An Apple a Day: Which Bacteria Do We Eat With Organic and Conventional Apples? Front. Microbiol., 24 July 2019
    • CONCLUSION: Organic and conventional apples are occupied by a similar quantity of microbiota; consuming the whole apple includes an approximate uptake of 100 million bacterial gene copy numbers. However, freshly harvested, organically managed apples harbor a significantly more diverse, more even and distinct microbiota, compared to conventional ones; Moreover, organic apples conceivably feature favorable health effects for the consumer, the host plant and the environment in contrast to conventional apples, which were found to harbor potential food-borne pathogens
  • Wittwer, R. A., Bender, S. F., Hartman, K., Hydbom, S., Lima, R. A. A., Loaiza, V., Nemecek, T., Oehl, F., Olsson, P. A., Petchey, O., Prechsl, U. E., Schlaeppi, K., Scholten, T., Seitz, S., Six, J., & van der Heijden, M. G. A. (2021). Organic and conservation agriculture promote ecosystem multifunctionality. Science advances, 7(34), eabg6995.
  • Zhang et al. Exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides and risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A meta-analysis and supporting evidence.Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research Volume 781, July–September 2019, Pages 186-206
    • Our current meta-analysis of human epidemiological studies suggests a compelling link between exposures to GBHs and increased risk for NHL.

SOME STUDIES DISPUTING THE BENEFITS OF REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

 

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