Over the course of some 400 million years, one of the grandest partnerships in the history of life developed between the green-bodied botanical world and vast communities of soil-dwelling fungi and bacteria. It was a spectacular success. Plants now grace the planet with greenery, color, and sustenance for all, including one of the Earth's youngest species—Homo sapiens.
Although our species is young, we too have links to the soil. Special receptors for taste and flavor pepper every major organ system of the human body. From our tongues to our lungs, phytochemicals, as well as certain fats and amino acids, activate these receptors unleashing a cascade of activity. Our gut microbiome also takes cues from these same compounds. The pleasure we find in a "good" wine and the ability of respiratory cells to sweep pathogens out of our airways are thus intimately connected to the grand partnership between plants and their soil microbiome.
Agricultural practices, however, all too often interfere with this grand partnership, diminishing the ability of human body wisdom to act on the intelligence embedded in minimally processed foods and beverages. In short, what we do to the soil on vineyards, farms, and pastures pours into our bodies for better or worse.