A new white paper released by Rodale Institute and The Plantrician Project, leaders in the US regenerative agriculture and healthcare movements, reveals how the American food system has contributed to epidemic levels of chronic disease and lowered immune systems – and how regenerative organic agriculture could be a solution to improve the health of people and the planet.

Titled The Power of the Plate: The Case for Regenerative Organic Agriculture in Improving Human Health, the white paper compiles historical data, as well as comprehensive health, nutrition and agriculture research from around the world, to conduct a holistic analysis of the global food system and recommend the ways in which agriculture and lifestyle medicine can come together to improve quality of life.

Presenting the concept of regenerative health, with contributions from farmers, scientists, and medical doctors, this paper is the first of its kind to consider the deeply intertwined effects of industrial agriculture on nutrition and healthcare and recommend solutions for restoring human and planetary health.

A full version of the paper can be downloaded for free here.

Key findings:

  • Over the last 50 years, quality of life has decreased while lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases have increased rapidly, due in large part to diet.
  • The Standard American Diet derives more than half of total calories from highly processed foods and only 11% of calories from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
  • US agriculture grows fruits, vegetables, and nuts on just 3% of cropland, and crops have continued to lose nutrient density, leading to health issues and lifestyle diseases.
  • In addition to lacking nutrition, industrial farming directly and indirectly affects human health via exposure to potentially endocrine-disrupting chemicals and through environmental pollutants.
  • The key to improving human health lies in both what we eat and how it was produced and requires shifting to a regenerative health model that incorporates regenerative organic agriculture and nutrition into all levels of our food and medical systems

“Our research has proven that a regenerative organic system cannot only feed the world, but feed it better quality food,” said Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute CEO. “This white paper gives us the opportunity to lay out in detail the ways in which our food system has a direct impact on our health, and how what we put on our plate—and the way it is produced—dramatically affects our health and our society.”

Photo: Rodale Institute 

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