Food Truth Freedom

Your food, where it comes from & what's in it


Words For Earth Day: “If It Doesn’t Grow There, Don’t Leave It There.”

Dad and a neighbor, Cathy Callahan, cooking on one of our camping trips.

“If it doesn’t grow there, don’t leave it there.”

Those words were spoken by my Dad, G.V. Hill, decades before Earth Day.  This is what I was taught as a young child:  respect the Earth.

My Dad loved the woods & everything in it.  As small children, he would take us on camping trips for an afternoon, to our favorite woods, one long block from our house.  Rounding up some of the other neighborhood kids, we’d lug cast iron skillets, cooking utensils, food, condiments and tools to make a fire pit and traipse off to the Creek Woods. If we’d forgotten anything he’d send his “Indian runners” back to the house. (This was the 50’s – everybody was into playing cowboys & Indians.)

We were schooled in creating a fire pit as we collected stones to rest the pots on.  Above all, he reminded us of fire safety (we all believed in Smokey The Bear back then) and how to make sure the fire was out before we left.

Utmost in his instructions were to leave nothing behind.

Don’t litter, ever.

“If it doesn’t grow there, don’t leave it there.”

When I was very young I found Dad’s hatchet.  I was hacking away at a beech tree in our backyard and he caught me.  I wasn’t spanked for it, only told, “That tree is alive.  It can feel what you do to it and you’re hurting it.”  He calmly returned to the garage, found some tar and patched up the gouges.  For years after that, the tree bore those scars, tar and all.  It hurt me to know that I’d hurt a tree.  It still does to this day.

One summer day when I was 10, I walked that long block from my house to my sanctuary, the Creek Woods.

It was gone.

All the trees lay horizontally for as far as I could see.

My only thought was of the animals who were killed by falling trees and others who had lost their homes because of the monstrous bulldozers. What would become of them?

This was the most horrific event of my young life. It struck me to my very core.  I was devastated.  I still can vividly see it in my mind’s eye and remember the exact spot where I was standing, looking at all the trees on the ground, exhaust from the machinery and dust rising as they worked.

Unbeknownst to my sister and me, our beloved woods which was miles long and very narrow, had long been slated to become a 6-lane expressway.  My parents undoubtedly knew, of course, but wouldn’t tell us because it was our favorite place to play.

My Dad has been gone now for 28 years.  He didn’t live long enough to visit me when I lived in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Adirondack Park in upstate New York.

Dad, still camping, June 1987

He would’ve loved my woods.

I tell people: “Littering is against my religion,” and it truly is.  This was taught to me, lovingly, by my Dad: Have respect for the Earth and all its inhabitants, decades before Earth Day.

 

 

 

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The EPA Will No Longer Protect Us

With the recent appointments of the Trump administration to the EPA, the word “protection” in the title, Environmental Protection Agency, no longer applies.

This administration’s vow to roll back government oversight, which was championed by Trump during the campaign, has taken a potentially deadly turn in the installation of Scott Pruitt as EPA head.  Pruitt has been an advocate for the oil, gas and coal industry, has denied the impacts of climate change, and after his appointment, signaled that he will not renew the Obama administration’s Clean Water Act.  He has also gone against the agency’s findings in mothballing a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide widely used on vegetables and fruits, which has been shown to poison groundwater and directly impact human health, especially that of farmworkers.  This is just the tip of the iceberg in the dismantling of the EPA.

Shortly after his inauguration, Trump welcomed coal miners to the White House in an effort to make good on his promise to revive the dying coal industry. This went hand in hand with the rolling back of the Clean Water Act which will allow mines to resume dumping toxic chemicals into waterways.

To further add insult to injury, Nancy B. Beck, joined the EPA in May.  She is a former member of the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association.  She is an advocate of lessening oversight on potentially harmful chemicals.

Just announced is the EPA’s decision not to let 2 of its scientists speak at a conference, 3 years in the making, of the state of the Narragansett Bay Watershed Program and the relation to climate change.  This follows the scrubbing of the EPA website by Trump’s political appointees which addresses human causes in climate change.

This is just the latest in the Trump administration’s assault on the banishment of scientific evidence regarding climate change, environmental impacts of chemicals, pesticides and potentially harmful substances which endanger humans and the ecosystem.

It is horrifically clear to those of us concerned with our planet’s health and that of its people,  this is not a priority of this administration.

Government oversight has protected us from a myriad of potential harm from insidious corporate actions executed in the name of cost-cutting and greed.  Citizens who applauded a rollback of regulations in favor of less government may learn that they are the ones being hurt most.

Therefore, we need that protection in the “P” of the EPA, as well as other agencies under the axe of the Trump administration.

 

 


Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready XTend: Dicamba & Roundup. The Poison Treadmill Continues

Use of Roundup has increased because of resistance to super weeds.

To battle the super weed crisis that American farmers have experienced with Roundup’s failure, the FDA approved  GMO (genetically modified) dicamba-resistant soybean & cotton crops.  This follows on the heels of the EPA green light for the “new &  improved” Roundup, Monsanto’s Xtend, a marriage between Roundup and Dicamba.

Dicamba’s been used since the 60’s. There’s one problem.  It’s highly volatile and prone to drift – even up to 72 hours after application –  to fields where it hasn’t been sprayed.

Soybean plant with Xtend damage. Photo: Andrea Morales for Washington Post

Farmers were told not to spray it directly on crops; only on the soil before planting, for post-emergent weed control. Dicamba has a tendency to drift when airborne,  so instructions were to maintain a sprayer height of 24 inches, adjust nozzles for a larger spray (heavier drops) and avoid use when weather conditions made drift more likely. Because of temperature inversions, night-time spraying was not advised. However, some farmers didn’t heed this advice & sprayed it directly on the GMO crops. In violation of federal pesticide laws, some used an older version of dicamba which is more prone to drift.

 A lawsuit was filed on July 19, 2017, against Monsanto, BASF and DuPont by 7 farmers in Arkansas citing crop damage. Approximately of 22% soybean crops were impacted by dicamba drift.  Over 3 million acres have been involved in 16 states, affecting not only farms but residential areas, as well as organic farms.

Missouri and Arkansas have banned the use of Xtend. Damage has been found in Mississippi, Illinois, Tennesee, and other areas of the South.

Monsanto, in its usual nefarious rush toward approval because of greed, didn’t test Xtend for commercial applications to avoid delay in the process.  BSAF limited their testing of their version, Engenia, further allowing scientists to “selectively choose” data for regulators.  “Monsanto, in particular, did very little volatility field work,” said Jason Norsworthy, an agronomy professor at the University of Arkansas.

More disconcerting is that research indicates this new pairing of herbicides may not work for very long. Scientists have found that in just 3 seasons Xtend is no longer effective against superweeds like pigweed.

So guess what?  More applications of Roundup and Dicamba will be needed. Or Monsanto, BASF, DuPont, Bayer or Syngenta will have to come up with another chemical concoction.

The poison treadmill continues.


Pesticides Affect Babies & Children

 

Babies & children absorb pesticides at a rate 10X that of adults.

In utero, as infants, babies & children absorb pesticides ten times that of adults.

Keep this in mind when your phobia of bugs prompts you to use pesticides in your yard & home.

Remember also that during pregnancy, pesticide and lawn chemical use will affect your unborn child.

Following are some links to articles I’ve written on pesticides and children:

Dangers of Pesticides:  Sevin Dust, Roundup & Other Garden Chemicals

Sevin Dust Illegal in Many Countries – Top Seller in  The U.S.:     Pregnant women should avoid exposure to Sevin dust because it can cause fetal abnormalities: cardio and pulmonary, nervous system development, spontaneous abortion, ADD in their child and a host of other difficulties. Additionally, women whose pregnancies fall between the months of highest Sevin applications – May and September – have the highest instances of fetal distress in development.

Your questions answered on Sevin Dust. It’s not the harmless chemical you think it is.

Are your kids helping in the garden? You may be exposing them to high levels of pesticides.

 


Put Down The Strawberries: These Pesticide-laden Fruits & Veggies Top the Pesticide List For 2017

Topping the list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables are strawberries, which can contain as many as 20 different pesticides. The Environmental Working Group released its annual “Dirty Dozen” list.

Another favorite, spinach, climbed the list from 8th last year to 2nd for 2017.  A disturbing fact is permethrin, a neurotoxin banned in Europe but still used here in the United States, was found on approximately 75% of tested samples. Permethrin was also found in higher levels in the urine of children more likely to have ADHD & can cause seizures as well as endocrine (hormonal) and neurological damage.   Additionally, permethrin is used here in the U.S. to control head lice and is embedded in mosquito and tick-repellent fabrics. It is commonly used on nut, fruit, vegetable, cotton, ornamental, mushroom, potato and cereal crops.

More bad news for spinach:  mandipropam, fluopicolide and ametoctradin, which are used to kill mold and mildew – were found in higher rates this year. In previous years their presence was not found on this and other produce.

New additions to the list were pears and potatoes which edged out cherry tomatoes and cukes.

In contrast, the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15” is as follows:  corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, (frozen) sweet peas, papayas,  asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.

It is important to note that even at low levels, pesticides have a cumulative effect.  Children absorb them at a rate ten times that of adults.  Because their systems are still developing, it is wise to limit their exposure. Important READ —>  If You Use Pesticides, READ THIS!

Best bet?  BUY ORGANIC when you can!


Food Waste: 800 Million Starving – We Could Feed Them All

Trillions of pounds of food are discarded annually - perfectly good, edible food that could feed millions.

Trillions of pounds of food are discarded annually – perfectly good, edible food that could feed millions.

It’s hard for the average American to imagine true starvation.  With the abundant availability of food at our fingertips:  Grocery stores chock-full of food right around the corner, fast food joints at every turn and restaurants with their heaping portions – we never consider the hungry worldwide.

800 million people on this planet are starving.  Worldwide, we waste 1/3 of the planet’s production,  an astonishing 2.9 trillion pounds of food a year – enough to feed all of them twice.

In developing nations, those without easy access to refrigeration or passable roads, much is lost post-production. In more industrialized countries, more food waste occurs farther down the supply chain.  Retailers order too much, restaurants serve huge portions that patrons don’t finish. Consumers lose leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss food because they’ve bought too much and it’s spoiled.  They pitch perfectly good food (canned, boxed or frozen) because they’re paranoid about the “use by,”  “best before” dates, not realizing that it’s still OK to eat. Nationwide, 40% of  food used in school lunches is thrown in the trash.

Then there’s the 6 billion pounds of unharvested or unsold food which the United States wastes because it failed to win the beauty contest; misshapen, “ugly” produce, bruised, scarred, slightly bug-chewed or deemed not aesthetically pleasing for grocery shelves.  Edible, nutritious food is going to waste while people starve.

Food waste taxes the planet’s resources.  When food is rejected for looks, rots somewhere for lack of storage or thrown away by retailers or consumers, millions of gallons of water are wasted, more dangerous pesticides and herbicides were used than necessary, gasoline or diesel is wasted, seeds squandered and our landfills stuffed with edible food, all for naught.

There is hope.  Here in the States, the USDA is promoting gleaning which means food is collected from farms, grocery stores, farmer’s markets and restaurants. (click HERE to get involved) A growing movement of gleaners salvages food and re-purposes it. A some farms are collecting discarded food, like the pig farmer outside of Las Vegas who gathers uneaten food from casinos to feed to his animals.  PantryNet is available to let consumers find local food banks nearby.  Schools are cutting back on food waste by offering sharing tables.  “Feedback,” an organization dedicated to reducing food waste collects food on an international level.  Feeding America is fighting hunger in America. Many restaurants have begun  fine-tuning purchasing, making portions smaller and donating unused food to charities.  Stores are springing up all over which sell packaged food past its “sell by” date which is certainly still edible.  The former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch, opened a non-profit supermarket in Massachusetts, The Daily Table,  offering fruits & vegetables soon to be discarded. Imperfect Produce, based in California, collects rejected produce from farms and delivers it right to your door. In our nation’s capitol, D.C. Central Kitchen collects food and provides 11,000 meals a day to shelters, schools and other locations.

We must be more conscious of the food we eat and more aware of the vast amount we waste. Keeping this in mind, we need to pressure those entities which throw away edible food, large grocery chains, restaurants, corporate farms, Mom-and-Pop stores, farmer’s markets and schools, to concentrate on feeding the world’s hungry.


Sevin Dust, Bug B Gon, 2,4-D : ALL Lawn & Garden Chemicals WILL MAKE YOUR PETS SICK!

All lawn and garden chemicals will make your cat or dog sick.

All lawn and garden chemicals will make your cat or dog sick.

Let me get right to the point:  ALL LAWN & GARDEN CHEMICALS WILL MAKE YOUR PETS SICK.  There are no exceptions to this rule!

Just as you can be sickened by Sevin Dust, Spectracide, Bug B Gon, Scott’s Weed & Feed, 2,4-D, Triazicide, Bayer All-In-One products or any other lawn care chemical, so can your pet.

Pesticides and herbicides are toxic chemicals.  They are poison. Get that?

Every time you use products like Sevin Dust, Bug B Gon, 2,4-D or others, you run the risk of poisoning your cat or dog. (or yourself and your kids, too.)

Pesticides are neurotoxins,  meaning they act on the brain.  They’ve also been found to increase chances of cancer in animals, respiratory disease, muscle weakness and a host of other serious complications.

Pesticides and lawn care chemicals do not dissipate.  When your pet walks on the lawn you just treated with Bug B Gon,  Spectracide, Scott’s Weed & Feed or 2,4-D, it will pick up residue on its feet and coat.  It tracks it into your home. Then, in grooming itself, it ingests the chemical.

In a study conducted by Purdue University found that even after lawn chemicals had dried, reside was still found on dogs tested.

In 2,4-D exposure, dogs were found to have very high instances of malignant lymphoma.  Despite numerous epidemiological studies linking it to cancer in dogs and people, The EPA refuses to classify it as a carcinogen.

These are not harmless chemicals. They cause significant neurological and endocrine damage in humans and pets.

Please educate yourself. Your health, the health of your family and that of your pet depends on it.

READ MORE:

If You Use Pesticides, READ THIS!  <— A “Pesticides 101” primer.

Sevin Dust Is Not Your Garden Friend