Whether you’re eating a carrot, a cracker or a protein powder, it’s important to think about the quality of the soil where the ingredients of your food or supplement originally grew. Soil is not always top of mind when we grocery shop—but it should be. At the Center for Regenerative Agriculture & Sustainability, a 110-acre farm in Middle, Tennessee, that is also the new company headquarters for Ancient Nutrition, makers of nutritional powders and products, soil is a top priority.
“Most of the things we do on the farm are about improving the soil,” says Ancient Nutrition farm director, Todd Vincent, who explains that just like the human gut, the soil has its own microbiome that is teeming with life. “I’ve had to learn to become partners with nature and not try to control it. I have stopped trying to bring nutrition to the plant, but to bring it to the soil microbe because they know how to divvy it up to the plant way better than I could do it. It is much simpler when you partner with nature’s system, and that is letting the soil’s microbes do all that work for you.”
Vincent oversees the farm’s operations, managing more than 110 varieties of tropical plants and herbs and 30-plus varieties of indigenous trees, shrubs and vining plants, all of which contribute to the establishment of a Million Member Regenerative Food Forest. The plants are either used in Ancient Nutrition formulations or in research and development for possible end use, with the goal being for every Ancient Nutrition product to have a regenerative story. Ingredients that aren’t found on the farm can be sourced from the 4,000-acre Missouri-based Beyond Organic Ranch and Heal the Planet Farm, owned and operated by Ancient Nutrition cofounders Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe. Ultimately, all of this work ladders up to support Ancient Nutrition’s R.A.N.C.H. Project, which is based on the company’s commitment pillars: regenerative agriculture, nutrition and climate health. By tending to the soil using organic, regenerative practices, the plants garner enhanced nutrition while at the same time pulling carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the soil to help offset global warming.