Are the foods that we eat providing us with the proper living quality of forces? The greater part of what we eat daily is not there to be received as substance in the body, but to give the body the forces which the food contains. Matter is never without spirit, and spirit is never without matter. The material foods have a spiritual component; their forces vary according to how they were grown. (Synonyms of the word force include strength, energy, and power.)
With an end view of the best possible sustenance for human nature, how our foods are grown may be more important than the kinds of foods we eat. Whatever a particular diet consists of, the forces in the food ultimately depend on a plant’s interaction with its environment, which is primarily the soil.
For example, a plant needs nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Water-soluble, artificial fertilizers put these nutrients into the soil’s water content, but they do not bring life to the earth. When fertilized in this way, plants get forces to grow from the water element, which has the various commercial fertilizers dissolved in it.
There is another, more traditional way to supply the plant with nutrients. In compost we have a means of kindling the life within the earth itself. For many plants there is absolutely no hard and fast line between the life within the plant and the life of the surrounding soil in which it is living. A fuzzy, white, fungal growth often covers the roots of plants growing in a humus-rich soil. These fungi are capable of extracting and releasing previously unavailable nutrients, such as potassium and phosphorus, which many soils have adequate reserves of.
Similarly, legumes can breathe in atmospheric nitrogen through a symbiotic relationship with a soil bacteria, and the small white nodules are visible on their roots. These fungi and bacteria have their functions usurped when the soil is burdened by water-soluble nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. When the flush of chemical fertilizer washes away, they are no longer active in unlocking potassium and phosphorus or accessing the free nitrogen from the air.
When we fertilize our fields with compost, cover crops, and organic matter, the soil becomes full of living beings. The microbes lie dormant until awakened by a plant whose root exudates can supply them with food. With the residues sloughed off by the root as it grows through the soil as their main food source, beneficial fungi and bacteria colonize the area and do all they can to protect and feed the plant. There is an unfathomable intelligence in nature, in these forces under the ground.
Fields using chemical fertilizers also have forces, although they are different ones. Plants grow quickly under the influence of water-soluble nutrients, but tend to require some kind of protection that the natural intelligence of microbial activity now no longer provides. Here we find the forces of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, all deadly to microbes.
The living forces are far more important to the plant than mere substances. The plant being can be open to the wide spaces of the universe, and have its senses awakened in such a way as to receive from all quarters of the universe the forces it needs. However, we as human beings can utterly prevent the soil’s receiving what the plant needs in this respect.