Monday, June 11, 2007

Making Food Healthy

Over the last few days I've been reading about the question "what makes food healthy", and there are a huge range of definitions, decisions and frames of knowledge out there. I am busy deciding what to grow, and how to grow vegetables and herbs. More broadly, I'm interested in knowing how to think about healthy food.

Here, I decided to just emphasize one distinction I fell upon. Food may be:

1) Healthy for the planet
2) Healthy for the individual

There are two excellent examples of food practices that are unhealthy for both the planet and the individual:

Some foods are unhealthy for both the planet and for the individual because something has been added (pesticides, particularly organophosphates), other things are unhealthy because they've travelled so far. Food has the most nutritional value when it is harvested ripe and eaten there and then. So if food is picked before being ripe, or eaten many days after harvesting, its nutritional value has decreased. As is so often the case, the environmental and individual interests are the same.

There's a lot more to be said and explored. My next post will involve me thinking about what is special about what "natural" means, and whether there's a value to that ambiguous term.

I'm exciting to be beginning my concrete gardening journey on the top of a hospital. I'm starting square foot gardening, hopefully with a group of interested women. I'll keep you updated...

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