Taking care of people and planet

Taking care of people and planet

Leigh-Anne Wooten MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, LSS BB
Registered Dietitian

Every April, the world participates in two incredibly important campaigns, World Health Day (WHD) and Earth Day. At first glance, these two might seem, while equally important, vastly different. In truth, the topics couldn’t be more entwined, as taking care of our health is taking care of our planet.

How, you might ask?

According to the World Health Organization (founders of WHD), heart disease and stroke continue to be the top two causes of death worldwide.  Diabetes has also entered the top ten causes of death, rising 70% since 2000. These three chronic diseases are all to a great extent diet-related and preventable by turning our focus on a more plant-forward and balanced way of eating (along with other healthy lifestyle choices).  It just so happens that a more plant-forward diet is not only better for our bodies, but it is less stressful on the environment

Plant-based agriculture is innately less resource-intense and taxing on the environment than animal-based agriculture, but some farmers and businesses take it a step further.  Companies like SOW have incorporated sustainability into every step of the supply chain.

Starting in the fields

A big ‘buzzword’ these days, regenerative agriculture,is not a buzzword in SOW´schia fields, it is integral to their way of farming.  In essence, regenerative agriculture is a set of farming techniques aimed at maintaining, rehabilitating, and enhancing the ecosystem around the farm.  It focuses on building healthy fertile soil, increasing biodiversity, creating healthier water systems, and stronger farming communities. Here’s a glimpse at some of SOW’sregenerative farming practices:

  • Rotating crops – with sorghum, sunflower, soy, maize, and rice balances nutrient consumption from the soil and allows the soil to regenerate and self-regulate soil carbon levels.
  • Creating natural barriers - protects crops from the wind, one of the major causes of soil erosion, promotes plant, and animal diversity, and protects against water erosion.
  • No-tilling direct sowing practices - While tilling sounds like a good thing, it has a number of negative effects* on soil quality.  Instead of tilling the chia, farmers leave old crops in the fields and plant chia seeds directly into the layers of nutrient-rich soil.

Moving through the supply chain

Sustainable farming is just the first step of SOW’s sustainable supply chain. Carbon reduction efforts are found every step of the way, from production to processing and distribution.  In fact, SOW’s chia processing plant is near ZERO waste.  And when it comes to packaging, they have chosen the most ecological (recyclable and compostable) solutions available.

And what about our health?

As we know, this tiny but mighty seed is packed with healthy fat, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that impart quite a number of health benefits supporting the body from top to bottom including the brain, heart, bones, and GI tract. When incorporated into the diet and other healthy lifestyle choices, chia can be an integral component to help prevent chronic disease.

So, this Earth Day, World Health Day, or any day – enjoy chia seeds in a smoothie, SOW Chia Milk in your cereals, or SOW Chia Oil in salad dressing, however you choose! And rest assured that you are making a choice that is good for both you and our planet.

*SOW is a trademark of Benexia.