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Kids Living Near Forests Have More Diverse Diets

A study of 43,000 households spanning four continents shows that children living close to forests have a 25 percent greater diversity in their diets, according to ABC News. The parameters appeared to apply to those living within 2 miles of a forest; researchers commented that the study results suggest that clearing forests in poorer areas to make way for farmland may not be the best idea after all. They also noted that living near markets and roads appeared to help increase diversity for children living longer distances from forests.

If you read this article and follow the actual study you’ll find that researchers considered a number of different factors to help them understand food diversity patterns; living near a forest was just one component of their research. As I read, I found that one of the more intriguing notations the researchers made was that monocrop farming methods are coming into question. Even in developing countries — and maybe more so in poorer countries — experts are conceding that we as a human race NEED a wide range of plants to have access to nourishing foods that give us diversity in our diets.

To that end, I agree, and I believe regenerative agriculture is the only thing that can return us back to where we should be when it comes to farming and food production, no matter where in the world you live. Regenerative agriculture is a return to what organic was originally all about — the protection and rebuilding of topsoil and ecological biodiversity.

It's well worth noting that as we look for the best in regenerative methods, top notch "gold standard" certification for regenerative farming already exists. Biodynamic farming is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture that can provide far superior harvests compared to conventional chemical-based agriculture, while simultaneously healing the Earth.

The difference between regular organic farming and biodynamic farming is that, while an organic farmer can section off as little as 10 percent of the farm for the growing of certified organic goods, to be certified as a biodynamic, 100 percent of your farm must be in compliance.

In addition to that, 10 percent of the land must be dedicated to increasing biodiversity. This could take the form of forest land, wetland or insectary, for example. Biodynamic farming also has all of the features associated with regenerative agriculture, such as crop rotation, the use of cover crops and so on.

Having animals integrated on the farm, with a focus on animal welfare, is another core principle of biodynamic farming. In short, the farm is viewed as a living organism — a living, self-sustainable whole — and biodiversity of both plants and animals are viewed as integral. In my view, this is really as good as it gets, and buying foods produced by farms certified as offers the greatest assurance of food quality, diversity and environmental sustainability.
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