Some myths have been stated here. I have had a large vegan veg garden for about 7 years and I have extensive experience
along with lots of reading to see why my experience didn't coincide with things I was told.
Yes, conventionally cultivated vegetables may be lower in micronutrients than cultivated vegetables were in the past. Because soil has become depleted of all nutrient, macro and micro, and farmers put back the macro nutrients and don't do as good a job of putting back the micronutrients. Plants get "empty calories" the same way people do, when they eat white flour and white sugar, instead of whole cane juice and whole grain flour. They may or may not take a "vitamin pill" to compensate. Farmers may or may not do the same thing, by buying "micronutrient" products to put on their soil, along with the macronutrients they put on their soil.
However this is NOT a good argument for eating animal foods - because animals are fed these very same plants, and thus they don't have all the micronutrients we expect from them, either. All nutrients needed by humans (and other animals) are synthesized by either micro-organisms or green plants. The animals that people eat do not synthesize anything we need, that we can't get from plants. They simply pass on plant-produced nutrients to us, second hand. This is basic junior high school health or biology.
Feeding inadequate food plants to animals first, does not solve the problem of humans getting the nutrients they need. The only solution is to grow better food plants. Then either feed THOSE to us, or feed THOSE to animals and eat the animals.
The best thing to do for plants is to feed them "whole foods" such as decomposing plant matter. Decomposing seaweed is particularly high in mineral micronutrients. Tree leaves are also a good source of micronutrients because they bring up nutrients from down deep, so deep that humans haven't depleted the nutrients yet, at that depth.
Orange cloud says "Farmers that use chemicals and pesticides and herbicides and crazy fertilizers and GMO products no longer have to manage the nutrients in the soil so much.'
The "crazy fertilizers" that farmers use [I]are[I] nutrients. But they are not whole foods. They are like white sugar. Gentically engineered products do not help farmers avoid putting nutrients back in the soil. Gentically engineered plants may require higher
levels of macronutrients and micronutrients, in order to have the high yield that they have expected of them.
4evergrounded "Crop rotation puts back into the soil what the plants take out." Uh, crop rotation is just different plants. What one plant takes out, the next plant may not need, or not need as much of. So it will grow. But eventually you are back to the first plant again. And none of the plants you grew put anything back into the soil, that they didn't take out first. So you end up with depleted soil - but not so soon as you would if you didn't rotate. There is really no fool-proof solution to the problem of micro-nutrient depletion. Even leaving the land fallow and tilling in the wild weeds that take over, does not solve the problem. It just delays it. To solve the problem you have to get input from ELSEWHERE. Trees and seaweed are 2 examples. From down deep, and from far away. But trees also just delay the depletion. Another is cultivated plants grown on better soil, and composted or tilled in to your depleted soil. Only seeweed and plants from other soil (or the soil itself) really counteracts
depletion. Everything else I mentioned just delays it.
sharon "Be comforted to know that all the nutrients are in your plants - a plant cannot produce without the proper nutrients in the soil."
Plant nutrients, yes. Plants cannot produce without plant nutrients. But many of the nutrients that animals and humans traditionally have acquired from plants, are not needed by the plants themselves. Some are waste products of plant metabolism. Others are taken up by the roots and distributed by the vascular system thruout the plant, but simply are not needed by the plant for anything. An example is iodine. Plants do not need iodine. Too much will harm them. But if there are traces of iodine in the soil, plants will absorb them. Then humans can get iodine they need, as a micronutrient, from the plants. But the plants themselves would grow just as well without iodine. See this
; find "iodine" on the page.