The record holder – My turn: Our soil and our health

We had our car windows down on our way home this summer when we passed a farmer in Hadley working his fields. The wind was blowing in our direction and we got a good dose of field dust. Both my wife and I felt a chemical (Roundup?) in our mouths which then started to irritate our throats.

I appreciate farmers and understand the struggles they face, especially this year! But with rampant climate change, topsoil loss and poor health, farming practices must change, and quickly.

Here in our valley, I know there are many organic farmers and gardeners who would agree that all the chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides like Roundup (glyphosate) are unnecessary if the soil is left to live and regenerate, but what will it be necessary to convince other hardworking farmers?

I know of a few documentaries that might help. They explain the inherent problems of chemical farming. They are compelling and offer guidance on how to enrich the soil, leading to high quality food and greater yields. Kiss the Ground, GMO-OMG, The Biggest Little Farm, Dreaming of a Better World, The Need to Grow, Sustainable and Before the Plate are all worth watching. They are available on Netflix or Prime.

Despite the US Environmental Protection Agency’s statement that Roundup (glyphosate) is generally safe when used as directed, there is much research that suggests otherwise. Although all synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers have adverse effects, let’s take a look at the most widely used…

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

Here are a few reasons why and there are many more.

On the soil:

• Chelates (binds) organic minerals in soil and food supplies (Originally designed to clean mineral scale on boiler systems and pipes).

• One application reduces the soil microbiome by as much as 40%.

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

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

• Used in GMO crops and as a desiccant in non-GMO grains (oats, barley and wheat).

For health:

Human beings are living filth. The human body is home to over 1,000 different bacterial species, just 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 food allergies, acid reflux, IBS, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, leaky gut syndrome, SIBO, constipation, bloating, dementia and Alzheimer’s, cancers, etc. are they so common?

• Glyphosate hides and accumulates in all organs, brain and connective tissues. everywhere! Gut Biome and Neurological Pathways Disintegrating?

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

• Glyphosate is stored in the mother’s tissues and breast milk and is passed to the child (don’t stop breastfeeding, please) Birth defects on the rise?

• It is an endocrine disruptor that can alter hormone levels and cause estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells

Why do young and old suffer from joint injuries?

• Glyphosate replaces glycine in the body, an amino acid that makes up about 33% of our collagen. Glycine supports the flexibility of our cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Without it, these connective tissues are weakened, leading to joint misalignment, torn ACLs, meniscus damage, etc. etc. followed by arthritis, hip and knee reconstruction.

I appreciate Representative Jim McGovern for supporting our farmers and farmland. How about helping them switch 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 delicious organic heirloom tomato??

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

It is disheartening to see that many farmers here have gone back to growing tobacco. Although a market crop should be necessary, it also uses tons of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

Do we continue to use chemicals that destroy the soil and our health, or do we restore the soil and our lives?

Please, if you haven’t already…

• Support our local organic farms and CSAs

• Avoid processed and GMO foods

• Join and Support (NOFA)

• Grow as much food as you can

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

• 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 living in Montague. He welcomes and encourages anyone who would like to look much further into this issue and references to get in touch and share what can be done to protect ourselves.

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