Industrial farming is rapidly emerging as a significant cause of micronutrient deficiencies in the population, especially of trace minerals.
Soil contains several hundred nutrients and other mineral salts that plants absorb. When we eat these plants, or animals which have been fed on these plants, our bodies retain them.
In natural ecosystems, the plants are returned to the soil and all the minerals find their way back into the soil. However, that does not happen in our industrial farms anymore.
Crops are harvested and the soil is replenished with fertilizers that do not have the sheer diversity of minerals and salts that the soil contains. The fertilizers contain just some of the salts that are needed to ensure good plant growth and a good yield.
So while the farms generate a lot of biomass, the plants themselves are no longer rich in the large number of trace minerals that our bodies need. An example of this is the great reduction in the amount of zinc in plants and seeds over the last 30-40 years. This has become a major reason for widespread zinc deficiencies in the population.
However, zinc deficiency is not the only issue. The human body needs hundreds of different things that we get from the plant and animal products we consume, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, metals, flavonoids, carotenoids, and so many more. In fact, I am willing to bet that much of the stuff that is good for us is not yet known to medical science, or even if known, their short and long term positive effects on the human body are not known, neither is their level of sufficiency.
How do we fix this? Is organic food the solution? Not really.
Organic food from farms that use a significant amount of compost from other areas, including compost from plant material in virgin forests or unfarmed areas, would possibly start solving the problem.
A lot of food from aquaponic facilities are nowadays sold as organic food. Unfortunately, they suffer from the same problem as the plants from depleted soil. I would argue that they are worse because there is nothing for the plants to absorb, except for the salts they are fed in the nutrient solution. So aquaponic produce like green leafy salad vegetables are probably a bad choice. I would love to hear a contrarian argument from someone in the aquaponics industry.
Where do you get your veggies from? I am trying some interesting local sources to fix this problem. Unfortunately, while they will solve the issue for my family, they are not a scalablesolution that can work for most people.