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'Organic isn't always more nutritious' - says Seedy Saturday speaker
Cultivating Soil Solutions owner Kathleen Millar is on a mission to educate people about "how to buy and grow better buy organics."
Millar is the first keynote speaker at the upcoming Seedy Saturday event in Qualicum Beach. Her presentation — the Elephant on Your Table; Organic doesn't always mean nutritious — will look at soil quality, shopping smart and growing for yourself.
"Organic isn't always more nutritious," said Millar. "There seems to be a misconception that organic food equals nutritious food."
But she said organic does not guarantee quality.
"It's the process which is being 'certified organic,' not necessarily the end product," said Millar. "They're not certifying the quality."
Millar goes on to say that often consumers can purchase two different vegetables both certified organic, one which is nutrient dense and one which is not, pay the same price and never know the difference.
So how do we find out?
Millar religiously uses something called a brix metre, a test which is able to reflect the nutritional quality of food based on a small juice sample.
"There is a correlation between your brix metre results and how nutrient dense your food is, and how nutrient dense your food is can be linked to how nutrient rich your soil is," explains Millar. "In that roundabout way I'm trying to get people to care about soil and better understand their gardening results."
Millar said when she first started using a brix metre to measure the quality of her food she realized half the produce she was bringing home "wasn't worth eating" and some was "actually so poor it was having a negative effect on my body."
Since then, Millar has become increasingly passionate about soil.
In an effort to cultivate a solution to nutrient-depleted soil she offers a custom built kit which includes a blend of minerals specific to your soil. Clients are asked to send in a sample of their soil (approx. two cups), which Millar analyses thoroughly before customizing a mineral-blend "prescription." Depending on the soil you are working with, Millar's soil-specific solution should help your garden flourish byway of higher nutrient-dense produce, better tasting results, longer shelf life, higher resistance to diseases and a lower freezing point.
"This is my solution for backyard growers," said Millar. "People are going through all the work of gardening so they minds as well be growing something worthwhile."
To learn more about brix tests, soil quality and the nature of organic food come see Millar's presentation at 10.30 a.m. She will be speaking at the 12th annual Seedy Saturday event on Feb. 1 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre. Alongside Millar, Arzeena Hamir and Kathy Claxton will also be keynote presenters. The event will see more than 70 vendors, a Farmer's Market, seed swap, Milner Garden's Shoots with Roots children's program, door prizes and raffles. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Admission by donation.