- "Over the past 70 years the levels of crucial minerals in our basic foods have declined significantly. This is bad news for consumers in the west, but potentially deadly news for those in the developing world who cannot afford a perfectly balanced diet.
Alice Roberts sets out to uncover the culprit and find a solution. Do we need to shorten our food chains, de-intensify our agriculture, or simply turn to the varieties of fruit and veg enjoyed by our grandparents?
In Perthshire, Moira and Cameron Thomson spread their own mixture of compost and rock dust onto their poor Highland soils. They are convinced that the rock dust is replacing the lost minerals from the soil, resulting in enormous and very tasty broccoli, parsnips and carrots.
Meanwhile at the University of Nottingham, Dr Martin Broadley uses a combination of mathematics and applied biology to find a way to breed crop roots that extract more of the minerals that are available in the soil.
From the Cotswold kitchen of food writer Diane Purkiss to the world's largest potting shed at the National Soil Archive in Aberdeen, Alice compares and contrasts the diet, soils and plants of the 1930s and the present day in her search for the world's lost minerals."
Their inspiration comes from a book published in 1982 called, rather dramatically, 'The Survival of Civilisation' by Jon Hamaker and Don Weaver. In this book the authors suggests that glaciers ensured our soils were mineral dense, but intensive agriculture has depleted these minerals. And in the absence of any glaciers in the near future happening along to revitalise the soil, we should do the glacier's job for it! You can download the book for free here.
My composting skills are becoming most excellent (we have lots of dark, rich looking and fresh smelling compost in our bin), and this, perhaps along with a little rock dust, might be just what is required to make Captain Kid and Flash's vegetable patch move up gear next summer! We are currently enjoying a feast of homegrown raspberries, but are hoping to branch out (bad pun intended), in to other berries.