Small family farms in the Balkans provide healthier food. These micro or family farms generally practice multi-speciated farming. The net result is the food tastes better and has more nutritional value. In short, permaculture family farms are just healthier.
One key element of permaculture farming includes growing and raising a variety of vegetables, fruits, and animals. This method stands in contrast to a large or corporate farm with only one or a small number of items like corn or wheat. The multi-speciated, circle-of-life approach provides both better nutrients and flavors to the foods.
Having organic beef where chickens also have free range improves the food supply at all levels. Conditions improve for the chickens as they find worms in the cow manure. As the chickens explore for worms, they, in turn, break up the cow manure. This spreading of the manure improves the quality of the grasses. Improved grass quality means better dairy and beef. Better grasses also improve the quality of the eggs and chicken meat. This small example translates into significant, measurable health benefits using a multi-speciated, organic approach for the vegetables, fruits, and other livestock. Ultimately, this is farming as it was meant to be.
Multi-speciated Permaculture – A Scientific Study
One study compared a series of farms using a multi-speciated farming approach against the standards of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). One farm’s results came back with massive improvements in the nutrient content found in their eggs in every area except two–cholesterol and saturated fat. These two categories showed drops (health improvements) in the permaculture approach. The results of the USDA standard versus Polyface’s multi-speciated approach were:*
USDA Polyface Farms
Vitamin E 0.97 mg 7.37 mg
Vitamin A 487 IU 763 IU
Beta-carotene 10 mcg 76.2 mcg
Folate 47 mcg 10,200 mcg
Omega-3s 0.033 g 0.71 g
Cholesterol 423 mg 292 mg
Saturated fat 3.1 g 2.31 g
The science is clear on improved nutrition as well as a reduction in pathogens because of the diversity of organisms. You can say it’s nature in a more natural way. Besides knowing that this farming approach is healthier, it also just tastes better. Those eggs with more nutrition also have more color, structure, and taste. At least that is our experience, but we suggest you try for yourself. At worst it will be healthier for you. At best, it may just be some of the best ingredients you have ever tried.
* Joel Salatin, Folks This Ain’t Normal, 2011. pg 253.