SP0218: Microbiome Project

Status: COMPLETE June 2019 - August 2020

This project hopes to educate the community about the health benefits of fermented foods and a plant-based, biodiverse diet while demonstrating sustainability of extending the shelf life of foods that are grown locally.

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Global warming poses one of the most serious threats to the global environment ever faced in human history. One of the single most important steps an individual can take to reduce global warming is to adopt a vegetarian diet. This causes a shift away from methane-emitting (23 times more destructive to the ozone layer compared to carbon dioxide) food sources. By choosing a plant based diet individuals can also dramatically reduce the amount of land, water and energy resources that they consume and the amount of pollution they otherwise might cause. A meat diet is generally considered twice as expensive as a vegetarian one and increases an individual’s chances of obesity, cancers, heart diseases, and other illnesses.

Research is starting to point to the role of the gut microbiome (the sum of all gut bacteria) as one of the prime determinants of the state of human health. The gut microbes play a central role in digestion, shaping appetite, allergies, metabolism, and neurological function. Studies also suggest that gut microbiota may factor into one’s risk of developing neuropsychiatric illnesses as well as autoimmune diseases. These are increasingly adding to health care costs in North America. People are eating too many processed foods and sugars, overconsuming meat, not exercising enough, and leading stress filled lifestyles which all lead to an increase in the ratio of bad to good bacteria in the human gut microbiome.

With all this in mind, we propose to create a campaign of awareness and education about the importance of incorporating probiotic friendly foods and achieving a biodiverse, plant based diet. This project is a natural outgrowth of the Macdonald Showcase Permaculture Garden Project (SPF #162). The Showcase Garden demonstrated the potential of sustainably cultivating more than forty plant species of plants (trees, herbs, vegetables, flowers) in a confined area, which resulted in a self managed garden that fertilizes and waters itself, protects itself from insect pests, and attracts beneficial pollinators. Incorporating many of these species into a regular diet will build a flourishing gut microbiome.

he goal of the project will be to educate the Macdonald community about the benefits of incorporating a plant based biodiverse and probiotic friendly diet. We will have various events, guest speakers, and workshops to educate attendees about probiotic friendly foods and how they can lead to better overall health. There will also be a probiotic bed in the Macdonald Showcase Permaculture Garden Project to educate people about some of the foods that can be grown to make probiotic friendly dishes.

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Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Related Projects

Macdonald Showcase Permaculture Garden (SP0162)


PDF icon Project Book: Don't Throw It Out, Ferment It Out









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