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Farmer Says Nutritious Crops Start with Dirt

Farmer Dan Kittredge is spreading the word about the importance of growing and eating bionutrient foods.

Dan Kittredge has been an organic farmer long before the word "organic" became so prevalent. Born and raised by his organic farmer parents in Barre, Kittredge is now working to give people some food for thought through his knowledge of eating and planting bionutrient foods.

One could say farming was in Kittredge's blood from the beginning. "My parent's righted the (organic) regulations in the early 80s," he said. Now, Kittredge is the Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase quality in the food supply. Still a farmer in North Brookfield, Kittredge now spends his days growing foods rich in nutrients, as well as educating farmers and consumers on the benefits of the practice. He recently spoke to those interested in more heathful eating and growing at the Bancroft Library in Hopedale.

He says his organization has three key messages. The first is to educate growers on planting the most nutritious foods. The second is to take that education to the consumer population, as well. And lastly, to make certain people understand the direct correlation between eating better and healthier living.

Through his organization, Kittredge educates farmers and gardeners on how to grow better quality and more nutritious crops and plants. One of his basic beliefs is using more nutrient based soil which he says can be obtained by using sea water. Due to past agricultural practices, the use of rich, nutritious soils has declined over the decades. As a result, the United States Department of Agriculture has show consistent mineral and nutrient deficiencies in crops over the past decades. According to Kittredge, using the proper soil will produce crops that are not only more nutritious but more flavorful.

Because farmers' livelihoods are based on the amount of crops produced, Kittredge says his methods support the farming community. "The more flavorful their foods are, the more people will eat their crops instead of the more mass produced foods," he said. And eating healthier foods will ultimately produce healthier people.

Now, Kittredge is in the process of researching new technology called a "Bionutrient Meter" which will help consumers eat the healthiest foods. The hand-held gadget will allow shoppers or stores to determine the quality of food before it is purchased.

He also seems to practice what he preaches, eating organic foods about 95 percent of the time; but admits that on the rare occasion, he'll indulge.

Kittredge has been busy lecturing to consumers and growers for some time. "I'll speak to garden clubs or town libraries," he said. However, it's easy to tell that farming is what makes him happiest. "I'm a farmer at heart and most happy when I'm playing in my own dirt," he said.


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