I would say this is actionable information:
Produce Is Less Healthy Than It Was 70 Years Ago, USA Today, 5 July 2018
70 years ago, [broccoli] contained twice the calcium, on average, and more than five times the amount of vitamin A. The same could be said for a lot of our fruits and vegetables.
And that’s because:
Over the past two centuries, U.S. population growth and food production methods have stressed and degraded our dirt. Our farming soil is not as alive* as it once was, and experts say that’s a problem.
* By alive they mean: “Healthy soil should be teeming with microbes and worms and rich with decomposed organic matter.”
Some direct causes of poor soil health:
- In the 1950s, farmers began using synthetic fertilizers.
- Monocropping: Farmers began producing one or two crops, planted year after year, especially corn and soy.
This was startling:
- From 1800 to 2017, the U.S. population grew from 5 million to 325.7 million people.
- Today, 25 million — 8 percent of Americans — are food insecure, meaning they are unable to consistently access or afford adequate food.
That’s a lot more people to feed in a relatively short time. And it looks like we’re not keeping up. Food insecurity, however, has more to do with politics, wealth inequality, and racism than it has to do with food production. Still, this isn’t helping:
Yet, over a quarter of U.S. cropland is used to grow corn, a crop we barely eat. Most of the corn we grow goes to feeding livestock or our gas tanks. And of the small portion we do eat, most of that goes into making sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup.
Back to the actionable part … The article talks about what farmers can do to improve soil health, for example not tilling fields and using cover crops. But in the mean time, we’re eating foods that may contain fewer nutrients than these tables say they do.
What can we as consumers do?