The medicinal value of food is something that is greatly overlooked in our modern age of microwave meals and drive-throughs. Lavon Sajona and Michel Fretin believe that fresh, nutritious, and healthful foods should be easily accessible to everyone. They own The Green Anarchist, located in Annapolis Maryland. This minority female and veteran-owned urban farm specializes in growing farm-to-table microgreens.
Growing up in the south, Lavon learned from her grandmother at a young age the importance of growing her own food in the garden. Her grandmother taught her that food not only provides nutrients, it also heals ailments within the body. She had high blood pressure and diabetes and chose food over medicine to solve her problems. “She controlled it with food,” says Lavon.
Lavon’s partner, Michel Fretin, had a different source of inspiration. His sister passed from cancer, and he wanted to assist others in similar situations by providing them with wholesome foods to nourish their bodies. He realized the need for fresh, nutrient-rich produce that was easy to eat and incorporate into a healthy and balanced diet.
Michel, a former restauranteur, believes in the enjoyment of the food, as well as receiving many of the nutritious benefits it can deliver. These microgreens offer many interesting combinations for foodies and chefs alike. Michel and Lavon describe an apple and pear tart a la mode served with microgreens on top and flambeed. “There’s just so many great things you can do with them if you want, you can just let your creativity and imagination run wild,” says Michel.
Microgreens provide a way for people to get more nutrients than mature vegetable greens in a smaller amount of food, and they can be grown in many locations. When comparing the nutrient levels of microgreens to regular vegetables, Lavon says, “They are 40 times more nutrient dense than the mature best local counterparts. So, what I mean by that is, a broccoli microgreen is more nutritious in that state of growth than a full mature head of broccoli, which is incredible!”
These young vegetable greens only grow to their second set of leaves before they are harvested for use in all types of culinary fare as well as juices. Their aromatic flavor and concentrated nutrient content even come in a variety of colors and flavors. Due to their short growth period, they can be grown indoors in settings that enable them to be quickly distributed to the local community without needing to travel too far.
Michel and Lavon took the opportunity to bring more nutritious food to the local community by farming microgreens. As Michel sees it, “Our food supply chain is very antiquated, and food is planted so far away from cities. We wanted to be a catalyst to provide more nutrient dense food to the community.” The Green Anarchist uses only pure organic materials and no pesticides when growing their microgreens to eliminate impurities.
To back up their approach, current research has shown that antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of various types of cancer. The microgreens grown by Lavon and Michel are vegetables rich in polyphenol, an antioxidant considered by various research studies to lower the risk of cancer. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997428/)
We are grateful to Michel and Lavon for providing some of The Green Anarchist’s microgreens to Wellness House members to aid in their healing. These microgreens will be utilized to teach individuals diagnosed with cancer and their families about proper diet and nutrition along their journey.