Building Healthy Communities

Dr Maarten Stapper discussed food production & processing, with support of Marieke Rodenstein, nutritionist & dietitian, ‘How our gut flora influences our health’.

World-wide industrial farming practices are degrading soils and bringing about dependency on the use of more synthetic fertilisers and chemicals, which increase chemical contamination of foods and the environment. Their continuous use affects the health of humans and soils. It decimates the abundance and diversity of soil-microbes which greatly lowers the nutrient density of food. Synthetics in foods and living environments are also increasingly associated with chronic diseases.

Healthy soils and healthy humans are both dependent on an abundance and diversity of beneficial microbes. Producers’ soil awareness and consumers’ healthy food demand are now leading to farming practices that use far less synthetic fertilizers and chemicals, or none (ie. organic). Such agroecological, low-external input farming improves food quality, soil health, landscape biodiversity and farm profitability. Associated soil carbon sequestration, reduction in GHG emissions and increased soil water retention help slow global warming.

Our gut flora influences our health. The gut is a major producer of our immune system and the gut-brain connections determine what and how we feel. Consumers, supported by nutritionists, are driving the process of change to healthier foods.

An important skill consumers, gardeners and farmers do need to (re)develop and use is the capacity to be biosensitive, that is, to trust nature and to be in tune with, sensitive to, and respectful of the processes of life.

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