Connecting Regenerative Agriculture and Health

Meet True Grace, a supplement brand concerned about the health of the planet and passionate about regenerative agriculture. They have intentionally partnered with stores that have like-minded values and mission, and pride themselves on the highest quality dietary supplements – that’s part of the reason why we are so excited to introduce their supplement line to our Apothecary. We asked the True Grace team about their commitment to soil health and their partnership with Rodale Institute.

Tell us about True Grace. What was the spark that started your business?

Founded in 2020, True Grace was born out of passion to improve the health and well-being of future generations for years to come. This passion grew from True Grace’s Founder and CMO, Kristie Hall after she saw first-hand the health challenges faced by her father, who battled metastatic prostate cancer for 2 years. When she became a mother and learned about the widespread issue of nutrient deficiency — and its root cause, degraded soil — Kristie was inspired to create a vehicle for change focused on restoring human health and wellness while protecting our planet’s precious resources.

True Grace Chief Operating Officer Sara Newmark on her regenerative farm in Vermont.

What’s the connection between nutritional supplements and regenerative agriculture?

Created by a team of industry veterans and pioneers in the regenerative agriculture movement, True Grace is an advocate and supporter of regenerative agriculture and is revolutionizing traditional supplements by focusing on nutrient density and sustainable practices that regenerate the earth and the body.

According to The Council for Responsible Nutrition, one-third of the world’s population isn’t getting enough of the nutrients that are critical for maintaining proper health. Further, Rodale Institute recorded up to a 38% decline in fruit and veggie nutrients with grain protein concentrations declining 50%, a result of modern farming methods that degrade and destroy soil, the source of food’s nutritional value.

We prioritize thoughtfully sourcing our ingredients and building partnerships with like-minded farms and organizations that are also contributing to the regenerative agriculture movement. These partnerships help to build our supply chain and provide the most nutrient dense ingredients for True Grace supplements.

What’s the soil food web and how do we restore it?

Dirt is not soil as it is devoid of living microorganisms. Soil is life. Soil is alive with millions of microorganisms and larger creatures, like earthworms, beetles, and grubs.

The soil food web is the network of all these organisms. The fungi and bacteria living in the soil are the food for other larger organisms like protozoa and nematodes and others. This web is very important to the health of the planet and to people. The microorganisms in the soil require oxygen to live and thrive. And without oxygen the bacteria die and leave the soil sterile and turn it into dirt.

Keeping the soil porous and full of organic matter keeps oxygen in the soil and the microorganisms happy and alive. This is important because soil microorganisms hold nutrients in the soil, so that the nutrients can be available when your plants need them. But much of our healthy soil has been degraded, turned into dirt. To restore it we need to commit to regenerative agriculture. Some important principles of regenerative agriculture are:

  • No tilling the soil: By not tilling the soil, the fungal and bacterial networks are undisturbed.
  • Diversity of crops: Diversifying crops and rotating them leads to a more diverse soil food web, which aids in nutrient uptake by plants, and leads to more nutrient density.

Healthy soil leads to healthy plants and healthy humans.

You’re working on a program with Rodale Institute on regenerative organic agriculture. Tell us about that relationship and what the studies have indicated about soil health and farm management.

True Grace has partnered with Rodale Institute’s Organic Consulting Program, to provide funding for strategic consulting services to farmers in Wisconsin and, more recently, farmers in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. These consulting services help the farmers make the transition to regenerative organic farming. True Grace has also partnered with Rodale Institute to support scientific research on how regenerative organic agriculture impacts nutrient density in crops and contributes to climate mitigation through sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in the soil. Known as the Vegetable Systems Trial, this study is the first to examine side-by-side how soil health and farm management practices impact the health of humans and the planet.

The nutrient density of fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. has declined in the past 50-70 years. That means many people today are struggling with “hidden hunger”—they’re getting enough calories but not the vital nutrients necessary for health. In fact, the food we eat today contains less protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C than food produced just a half-century ago.

Rodale Institute started studying side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional grain cropping systems in North America in 1981. Over the last 40 years, they’ve discovered that regenerative organic systems are competitive with conventional yields, use 45% less energy, release 40% fewer carbon emissions, leach no toxic chemicals into the waterway, and deliver higher nutrient concentrations in food.*

True Grace Bottles

True Grace’s bottles include post-consumer recycled plastic and are partnered with the ReSea Project.

True Grace has a Science and Agriculture Advisory Board. Who are they and how do they influence and inform decisions about the brand?

True Grace is guided by our Scientific and Agricultural Advisory Board: a range of experts who bring the rigor of scientific research, a grounding in nutrition, and breakthroughs in regenerative agriculture to the table. Each board member has their unique expertise and experience that helps us with our decision making process when it comes to the strategic direction of the company. Learn more here.

Why did you choose to launch True Grace products at Kimberton Whole Foods?

True Grace chose Kimberton Whole Foods because they provide a valuable experience within the aisles of their stores. True Grace has partnered with stores that have like-minded values and mission, and pride themselves on the highest quality dietary supplements. We want to partner with independent retailers who prioritize education, and bring awareness to environmentally sustainable brands. Our commitment to supporting independent retailers is deeply personal for us because our leadership team has a combined experience of 70 plus years working with retailers, such as KWF, in the natural products industry.

*Adapted from Rodale Institute’s website and white paper reports

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