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WHAT YOUR FOOD ATE by David R. Montgomery Kirkus Star


How To Heal Our Land and Reclaim Our Health

by David R. Montgomery & Anne Biklé

Pub Date: June 21st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-324-00453-0
Publisher: Norton

An examination of the link between soil health and human health.

In this follow-up to The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health, Montgomery and Biklé explain that we are suffering from micronutrient malnutrition. “Far too many of us remain poorly nourished despite eating more than enough food,” they write, noting the primary causes involve conventional farming practices. The authors explain the ways that these methods, including tillage and use of commercial fertilizers, disrupt the necessary, healthy symbiosis between plants and the soil. “We traded away quality in pursuit of quantity as modernized farming chased higher yields,” they write, “overlooking a farmer’s natural allies in the soil.” Alternatively, they contend, regenerative farming practices build organic matter and help maintain the fertility of the soil over a longer period of time. As in their previous book, Montgomery and Biklé offer highly readable prose, extensive research, and convincing evidence, including pertinent information on farms that have successfully implemented regenerative practices. They also share test results from gathered soil and crop samples indicating healthier soil and higher nutrient density. “Farming systems that create and maintain high levels of soil organic matter work like a savings account,” they write, “storing nutrients from one growing season to the next for the use of subsequent crops.” Another difference the authors witnessed between conventional and regenerative farming techniques is the no-till method’s greater capacity for holding water and preventing soil erosion. They take readers on a fascinating tour of a wheat mill in Washington state that bred wheat for flavor while utilizing organic techniques and point to a study that shows how wheat loses almost three-quarters of its vitamins and minerals when milled into white flour. Further, the authors explore the health benefits of consuming a diet rich in nutrients, particularly phytochemicals, from fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, which include reduced risks of dental problems, birth defects, and infectious and chronic diseases.

An engaging and compelling argument for implementing regenerative farming practices.