Home Food The Recorder – My Turn: Our soil and our health 

The Recorder – My Turn: Our soil and our health 

by Atlanta Business Journal

We had the car windows down while driving home this summer when we passed a farmer in Hadley tilling his field. The wind was blowing in our direction, and we got a good dose of dust from the field. Both my wife and I tasted a chemical (Roundup?) in our mouths which then began to irritate our throats.

I appreciate farmers and understand the struggles they face, especially this year! But with climate change, topsoil loss and ill health running rampant, farming practices need to change, and fast.

Here in our Valley, I know there are many organic farmers and gardeners who might agree that all chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides such as Roundup (glyphosate) are not needed if the soil is allowed to live and regenerate, but what will it take to convince other hard-working farmers?

I do know of several documentaries that could help. They explain the inherent problems of chemical farming. They are compelling and offer guidance on how to enrich soil which leads to high quality food and bigger yields. Kiss the Ground, GMO-OMG, The Biggest Little Farm, Dreaming of a Vetter World, The Need to Grow, Sustainable, and Before the Plate are worth a watch. These are available on Netflix or Prime.

Despite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s statement that Roundup (glyphosate) is generally safe when used according to directions, there is much research to suggest otherwise. While all synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers pose adverse effects, let’s take a look at the most widely used one …

Monsanto Co. who manufactured Roundup coined the phrase “Without chemicals, life itself would be impossible”. (OK, can’t argue with that!) I would have to say, “Without Roundup, life itself would be much more possible.”

Here’s a few reasons why, and there’s lots more. 

On soil:

• It chelates (binds) organic minerals in the soil and food supply (Originally designed to clean mineral scaling on boiler systems and pipes).

• One application lowers soil microbiome by as much as 40%.

• Has a half-life of 21 years in sandy soil. Clay soils, 30 years. Filters into our drinking water. (One of the reasons I distill my water now.)

• Used to grow over 90% of all corn and soybeans.

• It is used on GMO crops and as a desiccant on non-GMO grains (oats, barley and wheat).

On health:

Human beings are animated dirt. The human body is home to over 1,000 different bacterial species much like healthy soil. The more we spray with pesticides, the more bacteria disappear from the soil and food supply. Our bodies cannot function properly without them.

Why are food allergies, acid reflux, IBS, Celiac and Crohn’s disease, Leaky gut syndrome, SIBO, constipation, bloating, dementia and Alzheimer’s, cancers, etc. so prevalent?

• Glyphosate hides and accumulates in all organs, brain, and connective tissues. Everywhere! Gut biome and neurological pathways breaking down?

• More than 100,000 people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have sued Monsanto

• Glyphosate stores in mothers’ tissues and breast milk and is passed to child (don’t stop breast feeding please) Birth defects on the rise?

• It is an endocrine disruptor that can alter levels of hormones and trigger estrogen sensitive breast cancer cells

Why are young and old suffering from joint injuries?

• Glyphosate substitutes in the body for glycine, an amino acid that comprises of about 33% of our collagen. Glycine supports flexibility in our cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Without it, these connective tissues are weakened, leading to misalignments of joints, torn ACL’s, meniscus damage etc. etc. followed by arthritis, hip and knee reconstruction.

I appreciate Rep. Jim McGovern for supporting our farmers and farmlands. How about helping them turn to safer and healthier ways of farming? Do we want a tasteless GMO tomato that is bruise resistant and contains genes from a pig or fish or a tasty organic heirloom tomato??

Could there be a grant to help show these documentaries around the county? Create the means or support for an organization like NOFA (Northeast Organic Farm Association) for helping farmers make the transition?

It is disheartening to see that many farmers here have returned to tobacco growing. While it must be a needed cash crop, it also uses tons of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

Do we continue using chemicals that destroy our soil and health or rebuild the soil and our lives?

Please, if you haven’t already…

• Support our local organic farms and CSA’s

• Avoid processed and GMO foods

• Join and support (NOFA)

• Grow as much food as you can

• Check meat and dairy sources. Are they GMO grain fed? Look for only grass fed.

• Consider watching/sharing these documentaries.

• Let Jim McGovern know how important this is!

• Demand better labeling practices: Know what’s in our food!

Peter Howe is an alternative health practitioner who lives in Montague. He welcomes and encourages all who would like to explore this issue and references in much greater depth to contact him and share what can be done to protect ourselves.

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