What Happened to the Essential Nutrients in Our Food?

Everyone needs vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and others to stay strong and healthy. Find out why these essential nutrients have decreased in our food and how we can get them back.

| July 2014

  • CornField
    What carbon sequestration efforts in a Kansas corn field can teach us about getting essential nutrients back into our food.
    Photo by Ben Collins. Wikimedia Commons
  • Grass Soil Hope Book Cover
    "Grass, Soil, Hope" by Courtney White tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability?
    Cover courtesy Chelsea Green

  • CornField
  • Grass Soil Hope Book Cover

Scientists maintain that a mere two-percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset a large amount of greenhouse-gas emissions going into the atmosphere. In his book, Grass, Soil, Hope (Chelsea Green, 2014), author Courtney White walks readers through a series of low-tech carbon sequestration efforts already in use to help limit these emissions. In the following excerpt, learn about one such effort—no-till farming. This practice can increase the amount of carbon in the soil and therefore stimulate the production of essential nutrients in our food we need to thrive.

Buy this book from Chelsea Green: Grass, Soil, Hope.

Essential Nutrients

Cover Crop Workshop, Emporia, Kansas



It must have looked silly. Twelve of us were hunched over in a corn field under a blazing July sun, a few miles north of Emporia, Kansas, swishing butterfly nets among the corn stalks like deranged collectors chasing a rare breed of insect—deranged because it was a record-breaking 105 degrees! The federal government announced two days before I arrived that the Midwest was in the grip of the worst drought since 1956. Legions of farmers had begun plowing under or chopping up their stunted corn and soybean crops, already writing off the year as a complete failure. There we were, however, swishing our nets back and forth fifty times in a good-looking corn field owned and farmed by Gail Fuller, with nothing between us and the blazing sun except our determination to follow instructions and find spiders.

We found lots of spiders.






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