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Food for Thought: Dinner and Conversation with Nutrient Density Proponent Dan Kittredge

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2020 January Issue Newsletter

By Christy Bassett, NOFA/Mass Communications Director

Dan Kittredge, Founder of the Bionutrient Food Association, will give a short keynote speech at the Food for Thought Dinner

As an organic farmer that grew up in the organic movement, Dan Kittredge is well-versed in growing food without the use of chemical pesticides and biocides.  But is food that is grown organically inherently healthier than conventional food?  Dan’s on a mission to find out.

“When I started trying to make a living farming, I realized that one of the reasons we [as farmers] were struggling was that our plants were unhealthy.” recalled Kittredge.  Unhealthy plants produce a limited quantity of edible food and the quality of the food from these unhealthy plants does nothing to inspire consumers to buy more of it.  But what deems plants “healthy” and what causes them to be that way?  When this question first started pulsating in Dan’s mind over 10 years ago, it was difficult to find anyone discussing the need for a measurable way to define food quality.  “Everyone claims that the food they grow is high quality.  But how do we ascertain what’s good and what’s not?  Without that clarity we don’t fully understand what it is that we are aspiring towards.”

Dan began asking this question a lot.  He spoke with peers, elders, friends and colleagues.  The more he asked, the more he realized that this was a subject that needed attention.  It was also an organizing point where everyone interested in the broader food movement could connect.  Farmers, scientists, nutritionists, environmentalists, chefs, and eaters at large all have a vested interest in the quality of our food supply.  But throughout his travel and conversations, despite the obvious need, Dan found that there was no universal way to measure how “good” food was.  Through this determination, the Real Food Campaign was born.

WC DinnerNutrient density, or the number of minerals, vitamins and organic compounds found in a particular food item, would be a way to qualitatively measure the value of our food.  But up until now, it has not been readily measurable.  The Real Food Campaign’s primary goal is to create a physical device that quickly and effectively measures the nutrient density of specific fruits and vegetables.  Then, ultimately, the open sourced data collected could be used by farmers to improve growing practices and quality of food produced.  Read the overview of the Real Food Campaign on their website.

Dan envisions a world where we can restore the health of the earth and our communities by understanding the value of our food.  Placing the emphasis back on the health of our plants, and in turn the health of our soils, waterways, air, animals and people, can create full system revitalization where we can live in balance with nature.  Changing our current course of destruction in the midst of a climate crisis is completely doable.  But we must act now.

Founder of the Bionutrient Food Association, Dan continues to advocate for healthy food and the importance of measuring nutrient density at the annual Soil and Nutrition Conference, and through speaking engagements throughout the world.

You have an opportunity to hear from Dan Kittredge firsthand at the Food for Thought Dinner on Saturday January 11, following the 2020 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference at Worcester State University.  Join us at 6pm in Sheehan Hall to be inspired by Dan’s work, connect with others in the greater food movement, and nourish your brain and body with a gourmet organic dinner.  See what’s on the menu here.

All proceeds from the Food for Thought Dinner go to support NOFA/Mass’s year-round work to educate and advocate for organic agriculture in Massachusetts.  Sliding scale donations start at $35 per plate.

Through food and farming we can learn how to create a healthy environment, children, communities and culture together.

Register now


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