Natural Foods Merchandiser


Feed your head
Consumers should remember to add more produce to their shopping lists. A pair of studies reported in September found that a variety of veggies can stave off mental decline in the elderly. A group of researchers at Tufts University found that men aged 50 to 85 who ate foods high in folate—leafy greens and citrus top the list—had better verbal and spatial skills over the course of three years than those who didn?t eat foods rich in this B vitamin.

Similarly, scientists at King?s College London found that compounds in broccoli (and other Brassica-family vegetables), potatoes, oranges, apples and radishes inhibit acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that is the target of common Alzheimer?s drugs.

Small footprint, big potential
A Delaware entrepreneur has created a new model of farming. Rather than growing crops on acres of pasture, he uses foam trays stacked high in greenhouses, while robotics and electronic sensors control lighting, temperature, humidity and air pressure. The vertical farm doesn?t use any pesticides and uses as much solar energy as it can. Lior Hessel, the chief executive officer of OrganiTech, told Wired: ?This is a factory, not a farm. We just build lettuce instead of CPUs.? OrganiTech also saves transportation costs (because the farms can be built almost anywhere), has higher yields and doesn?t waste money in water, fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide runoff. ?It might turn out that the only way to make agriculture truly sustainable is to stop farming the crops and start manufacturing them,? Hessel told Wired.

Move over, Tang
Ever wonder what holiday fare is like in outer space? For now, it?s not very natural. NASA?s space food chefs have prepared irradiated smoked turkey, rehydratable mashed potatoes and thermostabilized cranberry sauce to help astronauts feel more at home when their journeys extend through the holiday season. Looking to the future, chefs Vickie Kloeris and Michele Perchonok foresee Martian holiday tables decked out with hydroponically grown sweet potatoes and rice. Maybe if they start now, OrganiTech (see above) can help NASA create organic foods for space travel.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 12/p. 20

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