The Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), founder of the Real Food Campaign (RFC), announced today the expansion of its nutrient density in food research study, which is funded by a grant from Bank of America. Through a partnership with Pipeline Foods, the RFC is adding grain to its survey of nutrition in the food supply. The research will evaluate the connection between the health of the soil in which crops are grown and the resulting levels of nutritional quality, or nutrient density, in the final products at harvest. In addition, the study will examine the connection of carbon sequestration in the soil from the atmosphere.
“The Real Food Campaign is dedicated to shifting the market to recognize high-quality food and to doing it in a way that educates and serves growers and consumers,” said Dan Kittredge, executive director of the BFA. “We understand there is a direct relationship between the manner in which crops are grown and the health-giving attributes they provide when consumed. We are working to define nutrient density empirically in order to drive this shift.”
Over the past four years, the RFC lab has conducted research on the nutrient density of six horticulture crops: carrot, spinach, lettuce, tomato, kale and grapes. This new study will expand that research by comparing organic and conventional grain production, specifically oats and wheat. Pipeline Foods’ role in the project is to identify, recruit and onboard farmers in its network, and provide support to both them and the BFA as the work in the field and lab is being done.
“The topics of soil health and the nutritional quality of food are incredibly important to the work we’re doing to develop sustainable supply chains for organic grain crops,” said Erin Heitkamp, Pipeline Foods’ senior vice president of Impact. “Supporting groundbreaking work like this is consistent with our company’s core value of collaboration; the more we can work with organizations to understand the impacts of organic farming, the more information and resources we can bring back to our grower partners to help them better their practices. We are thrilled to have found such high-caliber partners in the team at the BFA and Bank of America.”
“Working with these two organizations on such important research is a critical step toward more sustainable agriculture and advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Rich Brown, Environmental Program director at Bank of America. “Exploring solutions that can improve food quality and focus on the role soil can play in storing carbon supports our focus on sustainable agriculture and farming practices.”
The study will be conducted during the 2020 fall harvest season, with samples being analyzed throughout fall and winter. The BFA plans to release preliminary study results in the first quarter of 2021. The process includes several steps. The first is to document environmental and management conditions on the farm site, which include soil type, fertility program, varietal and weather data, tillage and cover crop practices. Next, farmers will submit samples of the grain and the soil for assessment. In the lab, the RFC team assesses soil organic matter, biological activity, and mineral levels. The final step is to assess the grain for a suite of different elements and compounds. This metadata process allows us to identify correlations among farm management practices, soil health results, and crop nutrient density effects.
Established in 2010 with a mission to increase quality in the food supply, the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA) is the preeminent organization working globally to bring forward the importance of focusing on Nutrient Density. Bringing forward empirical definitions of nutrient density and through developing a Bionutrient Meter for consumers, the BFA is poised for a much larger role in the food system. Learn more about the BFA at https://www.bionutrient.org.
Pipeline Foods is the first U.S.-based supply chain solutions company focused exclusively on non-GMO, organic, and regenerative food and feed. Its dedicated team brings transparent, sustainable supply chain solutions to connect the dots for its farming partners and end users of organic grains and ingredients. Learn more about Pipeline at https://www.pipelinefoods.com.
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Kelly Sapp, Bank of America