The Reversing Climate Change podcast with Nori
A podcast about the different people, technologies, and organizations that are coming together to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse climate change. We also talk about blockchains.

#63: Reading Nutrient Density to Improve the Quality of Our Food—with Dan Kittredge of the Bionutrient Food Association

March 5, 2019


Our current agricultural systems produce food with little nutritional value. And even the products labeled organic are not necessarily more nutrient dense. We assume that every carrot is as healthy as the next, but in truth, there is enormous variation and our existing standards assess process—not quality. So, is there a reliable way to determine the nutritional value of a particular food? To compare one carrot with another and make an informed decision on what to buy?

Dan Kittredge is an organic farmer and founder of the Bionutrient Food Association, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of our food supply. The organization works with growers, consumers and purveyors of food, providing the information and relationships necessary to create a market for high-quality food. Dan’s team has developed a prototype ‘bionutrient meter,’ a spectrometer that reads the nutrient density in foods, allowing consumers to compare nutritional value and make decisions accordingly.

Today, Dan joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the assumption that all food has the same nutritional value, explaining why the organic label can be misleading and how his organization is working to help consumers choose the most nutrient-dense food. We speak to the many benefits of producing food with high nutritional value (including carbon sequestration) and Dan describes how the conventional ag mindset impacts our health. Listen in for Dan’s insight around the open-source ethos of the Bionutrient Food Association and learn how you can get involved as a citizen scientist—and host your own spectrometer house party!


Bionutrient Food Association

Real Food Campaign

Soil & Nutrition Conference

The Bionutrient Meter

No-Till on the Plains

Northeast Organic Farming Association

Joel Salatin

Mother Earth News Egg Study

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

Greg Austic

Dan Kane

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Connect with Ross & Christophe


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Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Email [email protected]

Nori White Paper

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Key Takeaways

[0:55] Dan’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up on organic farm, parents ran NOFA
  • Yields improved after learning to work WITH nature
  • Started educational nonprofit to share practices

[8:32] Why the organic label can be misleading

  • Standard assesses process rather than quality
  • Indicates ‘less bad’ but not necessarily ‘more good’
  • Nutritional value is better gauge of food quality

[14:47] The assumption that all food has the same nutritional value

  • Huge variation in nutrient density among same crop
  • Plants part of biological rather than mechanical system
  • Food with flavor comes from living ecosystem

[21:46] How Dan wants to affect change through consumer dollars

  • Give people ability to choose more nutritious food
  • Technology called spectroscopy reads frequency
  • Inspire shift in management practices

[29:49] Dan’s take on privilege and the availability of nutritious food

  • Cost of production decreases when produce healthy crops
  • Farmers growing healthy food can outcompete conventional ag
  • Historical Indigenous model proves can be done with low tech

[33:28] The challenge of shifting the traditional mindset

  • Violation of life’s principles leads to death
  • Poor food quality leading to cancer in children
  • Unable to make coherent decisions

[38:46] The open-source ethos of the Bionutrient Food Association

  • Technology can’t belong to any one entity (held in commons)
  • Model of life to flourish by supporting each other

[43:34] How we can get involved with Dan’s organization

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