The ABCs of the Farm

The following information is to help provide clarity around terms or words we use on a regular basis. 

Brix readings: We use a refractometer to measure the percentage of sugars in a crop we’re growing. In other words, we conduct brix readings. We then harvest the vegetables when the numbers show that they’re at the peak of flavor. 

Cardiometabolic: Cardiometabolic disease describes a spectrum of conditions beginning with insulin resistance, progressing to the metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and finally to more severe conditions, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) (Guo et al., 2014).

Cover crops: Although cover crops are not intended to be eaten, they are the most important crops we grow. We strategically plant a mixture of these crops to build healthy soil and as a natural form of weed and pest control, among other reasons. 

FARMACY: Farmacy is the art and science of growing and distributing nutrient dense plants in their optimal state of health, which are intended to nourish the consumer and optimize health and wellness.

Functional medicine: Functional medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.

Food as medicine: This term has no agreed-upon definition. We use it to mean allowing the food we eat to nourish our bodies and, therefore, improve overall health and wellness. Here is an in-depth look at the topic in text and video form from one of our Roots Conferences. 

Integrative medicine: Integrative medicine (IM) is healing-oriented medicine that takes the whole person into account, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies. (Source)

Microbiome: The microbiome is the community of microorganisms (such as fungi, bacteria, yeasts, and viruses) in a particular environment. In humans, the microbiome describes the microorganisms that live in or on a particular part of the body, such as the skin or gastrointestinal tract.

Nutrient dense: Nutrient density refers to the amount of nutrients in a food compared to the number of calories it contains.

Phytonutrient (phytochemical): These are compounds found in plants that may be beneficial to human health and the prevention various diseases. Common phytonutrients include carotenoids, glucosinolates,, anthocyanins, chlorophyll, isoflavones, lignans, and plant sterols. Phytonutrients give plants their color, taste, and fragrance. 

Regenerative farming: This describes the farming practices and principles we use to enrich the soil and overall ecosystem where our crops are planted and grown. Our goal is to leave the soil in even better shape than when we first found it. 

Soil health: At The Chef’s Garden, we use regenerative farming techniques with a focus on building and maintaining healthy soil. We support microbes in the soil by using cover crops, minimizing tillage and pesticide/herbicide use, and using non-GMO seeds. 

Sustainable farming: This describes farming practices that aim to keep the soil in status quo condition, a less eco-friendly goal than regenerative farming. Until a few years ago, the terms of “sustainable farming” and “regenerative farming” were often used interchangeably.