GMO’s – the lowdown (guest post)

Occasionally I cross-post something: “60% of our DNA is identical to that of corn and soy, and we have no idea how this transgenic process of altering genes in our food will affect us in the short term or the long term.” 
Congratulations to Baker Seeds, The Seed Bank and all those who worked hard on getting the signatures for the requirement to LABEL GMO products, on the California ballot!  … and this guest post is definitely one on GMO’s that presents a very clear argument for the issues involved.

The Truth About Genetically Modified Organisms – GMO’s

A Guest Blogger ….It’s a fantastic article that could also be titled; Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about GMO’s.

From April 28, 2012 by Soulsby Farm – A Very Small Farm Blog.

My name is Chris Vogliano and I am currently studying nutrition and dietetics at Kent State University in their Master’s Program.  I am conducting my thesis study on the topic of Genetically Modified Organisms related to Dietitian’s knowledge and perception of them.  According to previous research, the public trusts dietitian’s to relay current and scientific information on this controversial topic.  However, as I hope to prove in my research, there is a significant knowledge gap in the perception of what dietitian’s know versus the knowledge they actually hold.

I chose this topic because genetically modified foods is personal and strikes an emotional cord.  Ever since discovering the topic, I have unveiled more and more unsettling information about this complicated and controversial process.

Most of American’s have no idea what genetically modified foods are, even though over 80% of our supermarket foods contain them.  Many American’s believe that simple crossbreeding is the same or at least a similar process to that of genetic modification.  Some American’s place trust in the “assumed” strict regulatory processes of the FDAUSDA, and EPA.

Politics plays a much more pertinent role in our lives than anyone wants or cares to believe, and I adamantly feel this with GMO’s…

The patenting of a transgenic soybean in the early 1990’s has had more of an impact than we would have ever imagined. We have seen a revolutionary agricultural shift in the way we grow our produce form even twenty years ago.

Many see this synergy of biotechnology and agriculture as a positive step towards our goal of creating a more economically sound production method for our food.  Big agriculture business has consolidated hands over the years to just a few large corporations, leading with the illusion of solving world hunger and bridging the world’s nutritional deficits.

As a soon to be dietitian who heavily values nutritional philanthropy, I could not have been more eager to learn more about this technology that could potentially curb our world hunger problems.
Let’s take a step back and look at the role of corporations in our society.

While we all vary on our opinions of specific corporations, deeming some as good and some evil, we have to remember one simple fact.  Through all the humanitarian efforts some might drape over their figurative bodies to display a positive PR image, corporations have one goal and one goal only.

The primary goal of a corporation is to increase profits for its shareholders. Plain and simple.

While some corporations may choose donations and community building tactics to seem selfless, at the end of the day it is simply to make you feel better about being a customer of their product.  This is not to demean the great things some corporations have done, but to call it an altruistic act is not so valid (arguably, is anything actually selfless? a question better saved for your philosophy 101 class).

Back to the grit of GMO’s – The basics of genetically modifying organisms is as follows:

A desired gene from a species not related to the host organisms is transferred into the cultivar or desired product (while sounding simple, this is actually quite a complex process).  The interesting part is that we don’t know how this transgenic, or crossing DNA from one foreign species to another affects humans or the environment.  This technology was developed and implemented into our food supply less than 15 years ago.

Monsanto is the largest corporate sponsor of GMO’s, fighting for their governmental acceptance worldwide ever since their creation.  A quick lesson on Monsanto’s history:

One of the first products Monsanto created was the artificial sweetener saccharin, which we now know can cause cancer

The next major products were DDT, Lasso, and Agent Orange, which we now know are highly carcinogenic.

Now they are trying to sell the idea of “genetically modified seeds” to us as being healthy and safe, when in all reality they are a self regulating organization whose primary interest is not the health of the consumers, but the money in their pocket.

European countries have strict regulatory standards and most countries have stopped the production of GMO’s until further testing has taken place.  Those countries who do have GMO corn must blatantly label their products with the phrase “this product contains genetically modified ingredients”, which protects the integrity of the food supply and the safety of the consumers.

GMO seeds have NEVER been tested in human trials to determine the impact they have on our bodies.

60% of our DNA is identical to that of corn and soy, and we have no idea how this transgenic process of altering genes in our food will affect us in the short term or the long term.

The only test currently being done to determine the safety of these products is happening right now, in our grocery stores.

As American’s, we deserve the right to know what is in our food. There is a serious need for us to take action on this issue that will help define the future of the agricultural food chain. We need the health of our food to lean in our favor, and not that of large corporate interest.

While there has been unethical practices that have been slipped passed the American consumers unbeknownst to them in the past decade, there has never been a more opportune moment to express out opinion than now.  More than ever, people are forming organizations and events to express their desire to have genetically modified foods labeled.  It is out food supply and we deserve the right to know what we are consuming.

think. be educated.

For more information or to get involved (highly encouraged!) visit:

www.Saynotogmos.org

www.nongmoproject.org

www.labelgmos.org

www.truefoodnow.org

LinkedIn Account:
www.linkedin.com/pub//chris-vogliano/41/806/370

WordPress account

http://chrisvogliano.wordpress.com/

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Pink Slime Satire… the Colbert Report

You CAN effect changes… with your dollars and your feedback to people who WANT your dollars. I don’t think ethics or health matter much to the bean counters. Last summer when we went to “farmer’s market” I took along a laminated info sheet about “pink slime”. It was quite an eye-opener to many people. You know the left-overs that are scrapped up, chopped up, and extruded into pellets that look like ground beef?…. and then hit with ammonia to kill any nasties it has embedded in it.

We sell our own home-grown grass-fed beef because of the stuff that goes on in the industrial food system. I want the choice… and better yet, I want the taste and the quality of my own meat. So we are blessed at having that choice to grow our own… and to offer it to others who want that same choice.

Here is a hilarious satire I wanted to share.  It’s your smile for the day. (I think there is a brief commercial 😦  )

(looks like link does not return you to the rest of the blog post..working on it.)

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Field Trips to The Heritage Farm

On a side note, we’ve been quite busy on the farm.  We did a couple of school field trips (3rd graders to the farm)… roughly 75 people in all.

It’s awesome to watch the kids get to scratch a pig, see a cow being milked (up close), and watch a mini-horse get trained to trust a human. To feel how warm a pristine egg is, just after it’s been laid by a hen.  To notice what wonderful smells and warmth comes from a small home built greenhouse.  I also appreciate how much the adults value the visit as well!

When I get the pictures, I’ll have to post more.

Another event where school kids got to see calves & mini horses, on the school campus

False Choices

False Choices

This is the link to the article I responded to, dissing the EWG (Environmental Working Group) work on the most heavily contaminated fruits and veggies: The Dirty Dozen (2012). They also listed the Cleanest Fifteen. I neglected to include the link (the title False Choices) to it so you could read it yourself!

My argument was that is was a false choice being set up.

You can NOT know that something is “safe” until you have done long-term studies and some effects don’t show up for 20-30 years.

We need real Info!

There are only “safe” limits for acute toxic effects.

The choice is not between eating food with pesticides or NOT eating veggies/fruit at all.

You CAN choose to eat organic, preferably local, and avoid the whole question. Yes, it will hurt the pesticide companies and their users, but my vote is the longterm safety of our children and the soil.

When you are told that 97% of tested products are “safe” according to federal standards… just what does that mean. First off, how much is actually tested.

If I test 100 apples out of 1 million, that’s not enough data to be significant…. and where did those apples come from… China, Canada, Chili?

And as I pointed out: safe federal levels ONLY refer to acute toxicity… not long-term exposure.

Results of MercuryPoisoning

Do you know where the term “mad as a hatter” came from?  In the 1800’s when everyone wore hats (i.e. big market in making hats) mercury was used in the process. Guess what mercury does to the brain, while it is being absorbed through the skin & the vapors breathed in. I’m guessing those “hatters” were told it was “safe” to use.

My grandfather died from a rare leukemia that was later found to be related to the “benzene” that the men in oil fields routinely used, to clean their hands.

It take a while to get the answer!

He died at 50. He started working in the oil fields when he was 25. I guess enough “retrospective data” was finally collected to get the answer on longterm toxicity with that chemical.

It’s the day in/ day out exposure to this stuff (pesticides, herbcides, neurotoxins) that has me concerned.

The reality is that it is only with conscious choice, that we can begin to control how much exposure we do have.

The “bean counters” are only interested in profit margin… even if they cut their own throat, longterm, in the process! Sad, but I think, too true.

Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen, pt 2

I’m appalled at how much “crap” is on fruits & veggies! The stuff that is supposedly, OK.

Dirty Dozen Fruits/Veggies

The Western Farm Press, dissing of the results of the EWG (Environmental Working Group), tell farmers everywhere to discount the research done.

When we are told by “officials” that eating foods with residual chemicals on them is better than nothing…

I have to differ…. because that is NOT the choice.  We all have access! Yes,  it will cost more or we will have to narrow our food choices.

I think of it in this context:

taking a daily micro-dose of a neurotoxin WILL eventually catch up with me. Not today, not tomorrow, but certainly down the road!

But I do have a choice in this. I can vote with my fork, and make a difference.

FoodNews.org is the link.

Overview: 12 Dirty, 15 Clean

“Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure, according to some researchers.”

How can someone say that with a straight face?

They would say, use EWG‘s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. Do I agree with this statement: Absolutely NOT!

The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

But don’t let me, or anyone else do your thinking for you… Check it out yourself; go to the Environmental Working Group  website, EWG.org, and look at how the studies are done.

Basic Principles to work with:

Dirty Dozen  … leads to a print out of the following info… for your wallet!

Be very careful about imported fruit/veggies… they do not have the same safety standards and most of it is never tested. Also, SWEET CORN. If you have concerns about GMO foods, then you need to buy organic sweet corn, as almost all commercial corn in the USA is genetically modified.

Below the video clip is a list of the Dirty and the Clean… with some informative data about each group. See what YOU think!

Highest Pesticide Residue

The Dirty Dozen – Buy these organic

If you need to really watch your budget (and who doesn’t!), these are the ones I would be sure to purchase from a reputable organic producer.

Of the 12 most contaminated foods, 6 are fruits: apples, strawberries, peaches,  nectarines, imported grapes and blueberries. Notable findings:

  • Every sample of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, followed by apples (97.8 percent) and imported plums (97.2 percent).
  • 92 percent of apples contained 2 or more pesticide residues‚ followed by imported nectarines (90.8 percent) and peaches (85.6 percent).
  • Imported grapes had 14 pesticides detected on a single sample. Strawberries, domestic grapes both had 13 different pesticides detected on a single sample.
  • As a category. peaches have been treated with more pesticides than any other produce, registering combinations of up to 57 different chemicals. Apples were next, with 56 pesticides and raspberries with 51.

Celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce and greens (kale and collards) are the vegetables most likely to retain pesticide contamination:

  • Some 96 percent all celery samples tested positive for pesticides, followed by cilantro (92.9 percent) and potatoes (91.4 percent).
  • Nearly 90 percent of celery samples contained multiple pesticides, followed by cilantro (70.1 percent) and sweet bell peppers (69.4 percent).
  • A single celery sample was contaminated with 13 different chemicals, followed by a single sample of sweet bell peppers (11), and greens (10).
  • Hot peppers had been treated with as many as 97 pesticides, followed by cucumbers (68) and greens (66).
1
Apple
Apples
2
Celery
Celery
3
Strawberries
Strawberries
4
Peaches
Peaches
5
Spinach
Spinach
6
Nectarines
Nectarines
– imported
7
Grapes
Grapes – imported
8
Red Pepper
Sweet bell peppers
9
Potatoe
Potatoes
10
Blueberries
Blueberries
– domestic
11
Lettuce
Lettuce
12
Kale
Kale/collard greens

Clean 15 – Lowest in Pesticide

Here’s where you can save your grocery dollars if you need to, and buy non-organic.

The vegetables least likely to test positive for pesticides are onions, sweet corn, asparagus, sweet peas, eggplant, cabbage, sweet potatoes and mushrooms.

  • Asparagus, sweet corn and onions had no detectable pesticide residues on 90 percent or more of samples.
  • More than four-fifths of cabbage samples (81.8 percent)  had no detectible pesticides, followed by sweet peas (77.1 percent) and eggplant (75.4 percent).
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on vegetables low in overall contamination. No samples of onions and corn had more than one pesticide. Less than 6 percent of sweet potato samples had multiple pesticides.
  • Of the low-pesticide vegetables, no single sample had more than 5 different chemicals.

The fruits least likely to test positive for pesticide residues are pineapples, avocados, mangoes, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon and grapefruit.

  • Fewer than 10 percent of pineapple, mango, and avocado samples showed detectable pesticides, and fewer than one percent of samples had more than one pesticide residue.
  • Nearly 55 percent of grapefruit had detectable pesticides but only 17.5 percent of samples contained more than one residue. Watermelon had residues on 28.1 percent of samples, and 9.6 percent had multiple pesticide residues.
1
Onions
Onions
2
Sweet Corn
Sweet Corn
3
Pineapple
Pineapples
4
Avocado
Avocado
5
Asparagus
Asparagus
6
Peas
Sweet peas
7
Mango
Mangoes
8
Eggplant
Eggplant
9
Cantelope
Cantaloupe
– domestic
10
Kiwi
Kiwi
11
Cabbage
Cabbage
12
Watermelon
Watermelon
13
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
14
Grapefruit
Grapefruit
15
Mushrooms
Mushrooms
Because you want to enjoy what you eat, not worry about what you eat!

Throw some mud in the water: Boiling Mad, pt 1

OK, NOW my blood is boiling! The name of the game: Confuse the Consumer.

Erggg… it’s so hard to keep my mouth shut when “data” gets slanted or manipulated… here is my response, in two parts.

When the Western Farm Press (goes out to farmers all over the USA) says to ignore the results of EWG studies done, I have to ask what their interest is. I mean I could say something like:

New mom, New babe

“Hey, pregnant mom, don’t take that medication ’cause it might hurt your baby, but here, have some wonderful strawberries.

Oh, by-the-way, they were grown in Chile and are loaded with neurotoxins which are systemically absorbed and can’t be washed off!”

Only, guess what! That is not slanted or manipulated data. It’s well know and the EWG (Environment Working Group) has highlighted those issues in their annual Dirty Dozen report.

Many of you know that I am coming from a background in High Risk Labor & Delivery. From working in the newborn intensive care units, to working with high risk moms (heart problems, diabetics, premature labor, mutilples…twins, triplets, etc), working in family centered units with midwives; in the home, in the clinic, and in the hospital. A fairly broad exposure to the field of Maternal-Child nursing.

Systemically Contaminated Foods

Pieces of the Puzzle - Autism

After 30 years in high risk obstetrical nursing… I have some big concerns about the accumulations of “small” amounts of toxins (pesticides, herbicides, neurotoxins) in our bodies, and in the growing fetus.

I’m concerned about the sky-rocketing rates of autism; from 1/10,000 to 1/100! Yes, one out every 100 babies is diagnosed with autism. And guess what, it’s the middle class and affluent who are experiencing the highest increases.

Do I know that contaminants are directly related? NO, but I worry that it does.

It’s been demonstrated that the “placenta” is NOT a barrier, and what mom takes in, the developing fetus is exposed to, during very critical stages of development.

Toxic effects, know only over time

Most medicine/research advances are made when data is collected RETRO-ACTIVELY, meaning… we look back over time to see what happens. We look at that data, and alter our views.  Short term studies are only good for acute issues (drink a poison, you get an immediate response).

Long-term studies are needed to parse out the real effects.

And I have no desire for my children/grandchildren to be the “test subjects”. “Whoops, we thought it was safe… I think we might have made a slight error”…. Right!

OF course we need to eat fruits and vegetables. It’s the “additives” that I want to stay away from. We do have a choice about the “additives” that find their way into our foods… we can talk with our dollars because that’s the only thing Industrial Ag listens to.

Repeatedly, in medicine and in the industrial corporate world, we are told something is OK, only to find over time, that it was absolutely Incorrect. Because it takes time to get to the real answers… and it’s not the sellers who pay the price, it’s the consumer. You pay both short-term and long-term.

Research & Documenting

We need information, without a vested money interest in the results

I would encourage you to look at the Environmental Working Group website.  I find it balanced, thoughtful, and educational.  Look at how their studies are done.  It is in a very friendly format that is easy to understand (not like those usual dense research reports that I have a hard time wading through).

Look at the FAQ’s: frequently asked questions…. the concerns that other people have had… and the group’s response.  Are their answers dogmatic or rational thinking responses.

I think you can tell pretty quick what a site’s bias is and whether it is based in emotional appeals and/or trying to manipulate you. Or if they are explaining their concerns and giving you the data to make your own decisions.

Good & the Bad Guys

Anything you want, it will get served up… somewhere

I agree… you can find anybody on the web to support any side of any argument, theory, conspiracy, etc. The challenge is to educate ourselves intelligently.

We discuss with our interns, working on the farm, how do you tell when something is true? I mean, you can find info to back up anything you believe… and the tendency is to only look for info that will back up what you WANT to believe.

We’ve gotten some good responses, and two of the best:

  1. when the data is confirmed coming from multiple fields.  From math, from history, from biology…
  2. when you use the information/theory/belief and predict outcomes that are consistently true over time
I would enjoy hearing your opinion on this issue. I’d like to know if others share the same concerns.
  • are you aware of the residual chemicals that can not be removed by washing, on your food?
  • do you ever think it’s important, for safety reasons, to choose american vrs imported?
  • did you know about the dramatic rise in autism rates?
  • have you changed your buying patterns once you  became more aware?
  • does your pediatrician ever say anything about organic foods?
Please use the comment section to respond… it would be great to hear everyone’s experiences or thoughts!

Back to the Basics
Eat Healthy, Eat Local, Eat Quality

Fresh Eggs, European style

In La Jolla, San Diego (yuppie-ville to the MAX), at the hugely popular farmer’s market, I made the mistake of asking the gentleman who was selling farm eggs, if they had been refrigerated.

Several Hens use the same nest

He lit into me,“You crazy americans, why do you want to refrigerate your eggs! We NEVER do.”

After a minute or so of this tirade he wound down, and I said to him, “I just wanted to make sure they had NOT been chilled”.  His feathers no longer ruffled, we exchanged dollars for eggs and I went on my way… amused that he was so fanatical about the issue, but understanding totally where he was coming from.

It’s amazing that all of Europe is not dead or dying considering they consume raw milk and eat eggs that have NOT been refrigerated. And eat fresh veggies and meat that don’t have a USDA approved stamp on them. OMG, don’t they understand how dangerous they are living.. .

uh, wait… I think,.. yes, didn’t I just hear… now… they live longer… and healthier than us americans. With much lower obesity rates, heart disease, or diabetes. What are they doing different? How can that possibly be?

But back to the eggs…

Obviously 100 years ago they did not put eggs in the fridge.  What changed? Why were eggs suddenly going “bad” if they were not retrieved twice a day and immediately washed and put in the fridge?

A little biology… eggs stay fresh enough kept at room temperature (warmer and cooler than that actually) for a minimum of two weeks and probably longer than that.  At least fresh enough for a broody hen to collect her eggs (i.e. lay them) over a two-week period, and THEN start to “set” on them.

Chicks hatching over two days

They are fresh enough to develop into quite healthy little chicks. I’ve actually seen them do that! Just amazing.

After two whole weeks, without being washed or put in the fridge!

When an egg is laid it has a coating called “the bloom” which is anti-bacterial in nature, and helps protect the future embryo.

When we collect the egg and wash it, we actually remove that protective layer.

Eggs are then placed, in the industrial industry, in a fridge because now the egg DOES need to be protected…  and chilling it prevents bacterial growth.

Eggs are an excellent media for bacterial growth… they use them to grow vaccines, etc., in the medical world.  If eggs are washed they are at risk of being infected with bacteria. Hot water, opens the pores the of egg… and each egg has 3-6,000 pores that enable a chick to exchange O2 & CO2 while it is developing. Those pores now become “freeway systems”.

And what does putting the eggs in the fridge do, washed or not washed? The egg is chilled and when taken out of the fridge moisture condenses on the shell (basic physics here). That moisture can conduct bacteria.

Salmonella bacteria endemic in the commercial populations

Commercial eggs, even so-called free-range, cage-free, pastured (those descriptions have been

Cage-Free Hens, commercial style

pretty much co-opted by the egg industry) are raised in huge numbers (up to 20,000 hens in a laying house). They are collected, washed, packed, and chilled to go to market. Commercial eggs are fighting an ongoing battle with Salmonella while getting their eggs to market.  Markets that can be hundreds of miles away… and if the trucks were NOT refrigerated, the temps in the summer could get very, very high. High enough, long enough, to trigger the deterioration of the egg itself, or incubate bacterial growth.

I can’t imagine the industrial costs to do all this… a refrigerated truck? But they MUST do it, because the risks are so high.

Farms that have 50,000 thousand laying hens (yes, 50,000 or MORE) must follow specific rules to decrease the risk of Salmonella bacteria, in their eggs. Some 600 hundred farms were to be inspected in 2010-11 . Salmonella is endemic in the commercial egg production population. Egg products (yolk, white, etc), with the shell removed, must be pasteurized. Some large  egg producers are fighting the salmonella problem by pasteurizing ALL their eggs (shell & all).

You should NEVER eat commercial eggs unless they have been well cooked, to protect your family. My mother would get sick even if the eggs were cooked… G.I. upset every time.  We finally figured out she could eat real farm eggs without any problems.  Every time she came to my house, she could eat the eggs, without later running to the ladies’ room.

Down on the Farm

What do I do if I get an egg with “stuff on the shell”? I wipe it off gently.

If it’s totally yucky I wipe if off with a damp room temperature dishcloth, and use it ASAP. If I’m really short on eggs (think winter)… those eggs I might put in the fridge and use them immediately, when I take them out.  I would NOT take a whole carton of eggs out, put them on the counter for a while, and then put them BACK into the fridge. Not if that protective bloom has been removed.

Actually, in my setup for the most part, the eggs would go into the pig bucket because they are extremely high in nutrition and are prized for the food value they give our pigs.

 At our house, we keep things pretty basic.  Eggs are collected, kept at room temp, dusted off but generally NOT washed. Any suspect eggs (very dirty or cracked) go to our pigs. NO WASTE, I just love it!

Teaching the chicks, finding food!

Our hens also get their real diet…. i.e. NOT vegetarian.  They run around freely, for the most part (to the dismay of a neighbor occasionally) and eat bugs, worms, etc. as well as a layer feed. They choose. We do protect garden areas, or a neighbor, by putting up an electric net that encourages them to go elsewhere.  They could jump the fence if they wanted to, but for the most part choose to meander where it’s easy to go.

Backyard Chickens are the way to go!

I encourage everyone, raise your own hens! They are great waste disposals; eat just about everything, give you fertilizer and eggs. You don’t have to have a rooster (hens still lay, just the eggs won’t hatch!). Put down a bed of straw to absorb any odors. It makes a great garden amendment when it breaks down, along with the fertilizer  mixed in, from the hens.

If a hen goes broody, let her set on her infertile eggs and after a couple of weeks trade them out. At night, slip some chicks from the local feed store, under her and let her raise them up. GREAT entertainment and fun for kids, dads, moms, & neighbors.

It’s incredible how good fresh eggs are… commercial eggs are  a bland watery substitute for real food. Can’t raise your own… seek out a local farmer who is and support them.  You will get much more for your food dollars, I assure you!

‘Nipped’ Sweet Potato Crop!

Here is an excellent post from another blog: The Dirt Doctor!

Please do share the info.

The Dangers of Bud Nip in a Compact Sweet Potato Project

by Emylisa Warrick 

The dangers of bud nip, a chemical herbicide also known as Chlorpropham, become clear in a simple yet illuminating message from a young lady named Elise. In the video, Elise is nervous and sweet as she tries to remember her lines and looks down at her cue cards to explain her “Potato Project.” 

With the help of her grandma, Elise buys a sweet potato from three different sources: one from the grocery store, one “organically” labeled from the same grocery store, and one from Roots, a certified organic food market. Each sweet potato is placed in a glass of water in order to track its cultivation of vine sprouts and growth.

The first sweet potato, the one from the grocery store, does not sprout any vines after three weeks. The second one sprouts a “wimpy, little vine” after over a month. The third sweet potato, the one bought from Roots, flourishes with cascading, healthy green sweet potato vines after just one week.

What seems like an innocent fourth-grade science project is actually an informative and effective account of the effects of a commonly used chemical herbicide called “bud nip.” The produce man at the grocery store informs Elise that the first potato won’t sprout any sweet potato vines because it has been sprayed with bud nip.

According to the Pesticide Action Network, the dangers of bud nip include toxicity to amphibians and honeybees, important pollinators of crops we eat every day. Bud nip can be found on potatoes, kale, peaches, broccoli and other common fruits and vegetables.

Find out what other foods have chlorpropham here.

Elise’s sweet potato project is a subtle, but insistent reminder that bud nip and other chemical herbicides harm us as well as the world around us. In her words, “Which potato would you rather eat?”

 If you have any questions on this newsletter or any other topic, tune in Sunday 8am -11am CST to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. The phone number for the show is 1-866-444-3478. Listen on the internet or find a station in your area.

Shop in the Green Living Store for all of the products I recommend in the Organic Program. Products are also available in the Dirt Doctor’s Corner of your favorite Garden Center.

Please share this newsletter with everyone in your address book and all your friends on Facebook and Twitter to help me spread the word on organics.

Naturally yours, Howard Garrett

P.S. Start 2012 with the resolution of healthy eating and living with a membership to the Organic Club of America! Memberships are also great gifts.

Members can log in on Sunday mornings to see the Dirt Doctor’s Live Broadcast.

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