"From Planet to Plate…….and back again"
We got a bunch of live animals in this morning including new baby chicks, ladybugs, lacewings, nematodes, and praying mantis. Call us to reserve or just stop on by this weekend!
By Leah Zerbe from OrganicGardening.com
A global pesticide company announced in early 2012 that it plans to start selling a new GMO, a.k.a. genetically engineered, product to farmers as early as the 2014 growing season, a move weed scientists have been predicting for years, since weeds have been growing increasingly resistant to the chemical glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.
Monsanto said its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are genetically engineered to withstand sprayings of not just the Roundup weedkiller, but also dicamba, a chemical weedkiller that disrupts plants’ hormonal system and causes them to grow in abnormal ways that usually lead to death. (Dicamba is a developmental toxin.)
The introduction of GMOs in the 1990s was supposed to lower pesticide use in the United States, but it’s done anything but that. In 2009 alone, farmers dumped more than 57 million pounds of glyphosate on food crops, according to the USDA. Just as overusing antibiotics in farm animals causes antibiotic resistance, pesticide abuse causes weed resistance, resulting in massive, hard-to-kill superweeds. Because of this, nonorganic farmers are forced to use more pesticides, sometimes even reverting to older, even more dangerous types.
While Monsanto is pairing dicamba with Roundup—which, by the way, is already detected inside of the nonorganic food we eat—other companies are rushing to bring new GMOs to the market. Dow Agrosciences is hoping to introduce its 2,4-D–tolerant corn and soy. (2,4-D has been classified as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the European Union classifies it as an endocrine disruptor.)
Last year, veteran weed scientist David Mortensen, Ph.D., weed ecologist at Penn State University, crunched the numbers and found that commercial introduction of crops genetically engineered to withstand dicamba and 2,4-D will likely lead to an increase of 60 to 100 percent in the amount of herbicides used, adding millions of pounds of toxic pesticides into the food chain and environment.
Organic sounds pretty tasty about now, doesn’t it?
Grow Organic, along with the Hood River Master Gardeners and Gorge Grown presents a lecture on “An objective look at Genetically Modified Foods (GM-Foods).” This lecture will present an objective overview of genetically modified foods, so that attendees will have the research-based resources they need to make informed decisions about their food system and what they choose to eat. Specifically, the lecture is divided into 4 parts: 1) what is a genetically modified organism (GMO)?, 2) how do you make a GMO?, 3) GMOs in our food system, 4) potential benefits/concerns with GMOs.
The intent of this talk is to inform, rather than persuade. It is designed for anyone with an interest in the topic, or who is interested in learning more about food systems.
This lecture will be held on Friday, October 26th at 6:00PM at Springhouse Cellars in Hood River. There will be no charge. Food will be available by the Four and Twenty Blackbirds food cart.
Agrochemical supporters tend to fall back on a “the dose makes the poison” theory, meaning tiny exposures aren’t really that harmful. Increasingly, though, independent scientists are debunking that belief, even proving that incredibly tiny doses could set a person up for health problems that might not crop up until decades down the line.
Here are 7 health problems associated with pesticide-based agrochemicals.
More than 260 studies link pesticides to various cancers, including lymphoma, leukemia, soft tissue sarcoma, and brain, breast, prostate, bone, bladder, thyroid, colon, liver, and lung cancers, among others.
More than 60 studies show a connection between pesticides and the neurological disease Parkinson’s, a condition characterized by uncontrolled trembling. The association is strongest for weed- and bug-killing chemical exposures over a long period of time, meaning it’s important to keep these toxic compounds out of your household routine.
The world’s leading autism researchers believe the condition develops from a mix of genes and the pollutants encountered in the mother’s womb and early in life. Many insecticides effectively kill bugs by throwing off normal neurological functioning. That same thing appears to be happening in some children. A 2010 Harvard study found that children with organophosphate pesticide breakdown materials in their urine were far more likely to live with ADHD than kids without the trace pesticide residues.
Babies conceived during the spring and summer months—a time of year when pesticide use is in full swing—face the highest risk of birth defects. During these months, higher pesticide levels turn up in surface waters, increasing a mother’s risk of exposure. Spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot, and Down syndrome rates are higher when moms become pregnant during high season for pesticides.
Pesticides spell trouble in the baby-making department, thanks to their bad habit of not staying put. For instance, atrazine, a common chemical weed killer used heavily in the Midwest, on Southern sugar cane farms, and on golf courses, has been detected in tap water. Doctors and scientists point to published evidence tying atrazine to increased miscarriage and infertility rates. Other pesticides cause a plunge in male testosterone levels. A 2006 study found chlorpyrifos, a chemical used in nonorganic apple and sweet pepper farming, and carbaryl, a go-to pesticide in strawberry fields and peach orchards, caused abnormally low testosterone levels.
Scientists have been noticing a link between pesticides and diabetes for years. The latest evidence comes out of the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting, where Robert Sargis, MD, PhD, released the results of a study that suggest tolyfluanid, a fungicide used on farm crops, creates insulin resistance in fat cells. A 2011 study published in Diabetes Care found that overweight people with higher levels of organochlorine pesticides in their bodies also faced a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some agrochemical pesticides act as hormone disruptors, meaning they act like a fake version of a naturally occurring hormone in your body, they block important hormone communication pathways in the body, or they interfere with your body’s ability to regulate the healthy release of hormones. More than 50 pesticides are classified as hormone disruptors, and some of them promote metabolic syndrome and obesity as they accumulate in your cells, according to 2012 study appearing in Environmental Health Perspectives.
*Excerpts taken from Leah Zerbe article on Rodale
Copied from the Xerces Society
A Review of Research into the Effects of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Bees, with Recommendations for Action.
By Jennifer Hopwood, Mace Vaughan, Matthew Shepherd, David Biddinger, Eric Mader, Scott Hoffman Black, Celeste Mazzacano.
A possible link between neonicotinoids and honey bee die-offs has led to controversy across the United States and Europe. Beekeepers and environmentalists have expressed growing concern about the impact of neonicotinoids, concern based on the fact that neonicotinoids are absorbed into plant tissue and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to pollinators.
This report details potential negative impacts of neonicotinoids insecticides to honey bees and other important pollinators. It also makes recommendations on how we can better protect bees.
Click here to view a full PDF of the report.
Some of the major findings of the report include:
The report recommends that regulators reassess the bee safety of all neonicotinoid pesticide products, reexamine or suspend all conditional registrations until we understand how to manage risks, and require clear labels so that consumers know that these products kill bees and other pollinators.
The report also recommends that the US Environmental Protection Agency adopt a more cautious approach to approving all new pesticides, using a comprehensive assessment process that adequately addresses the risks to honey bees, bumble bees, and solitary bees in all life stages.
Come into Grow Organic and sign our petition to ask the Columbia River Gorge Farmers to stop using neonicotinoids or sign the petition online!
Grow Organic will be at the 2012 Oregon’s Lavender DAZE Festival! July 21 & 22, 2012. We’ll have Bee Hives, Honey and a variety of beneficial insect information. Come by and say hello to Ketrina and Molly. More information at:
Organic growers could soon have another weapon in their arsenal, courtesy of the humble worm.
Cornell researchers have found that vermicompost — the product if composting using various species of worms — is not only an excellent fertilizer, but could also help prevent a pathogen that has been a scourge to greenhouse growers. By teaming up with a New York composting business, they believe they have found an organic way to raise healthier plants with less environmental impact.
Building on previous research conducted by Professor Eric Nelson’s research group in the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Ph.D. student Allison Jack has shown that beneficial microbes in vermicompost can colonize a seed’s surface and protect it from infection by releasing a substance that interferes with the chemical signaling between the host and the pathogen.
Read More at:
There is a great article on OPB about using nature to fight pests in our vineyards. No reason this can’t applied to all farms and gardens. Please check it out at:
Solarization during the hot summer months can increase soil temperature to levels that kill many disease causing organisms (pathogens), nematodes, and weed seeds and seedlings. It leaves no toxic residues and can be easily used on a small or large scale garden or farm. Soil solarization also speeds up the breakdown of organic material in the soil, often resulting in the added benefit of release of soluble nutrients such as nitrogen (N03-, NH4+), calcium (Ca++), magnesium (Mg++), potassium (K+), and fulvic acid, making them more available to plants.
They say that plants often grow faster and produce both higher and better quality yields when grown in solarized soil. This can be attributed to improved disease and weed control, the increase in soluble nutrients, and relatively greater proportions of helpful soil microorganisms.
Yes, we have em and if you are reading this, you probably do to. If you don’t know, check the leaves of the plant. Flea beetles produce a characteristic injury known as “shotholing.” The adults chew many small holes or pits in the leaves, which make them look as if they have been damaged by fine buckshot.
Flea beetles are one of the most difficult-to-manage pests. Besides eggplants and tomatoes, you will see them on cole crops, potatoes, peppers, turnips, radishes, and corn. How to get rid of them?
Well, here’s the approach we are taking:
Just picked up some nematodes at Good News. Going to try them out in the garden this weekend. Here’s some info:
“Beneficial nematodes are underground pest hunters that control over 250 different species of insects that spend some part of their lives underground. They are a very efficient organic insect control method and kill most insects before they become adults. This includes lots of common lawn and garden pests such as grubs, fleas, mole crickets, japanese beetles and weevils.”
“Insect-parasitic nematodes help farmers by providing ‘biological control’ of soil-dwelling insect pests. These nematodes occur naturally in the soil, or they can be purchased and introduced. They are relatively easy to mass produce and are available from several commercial labs as ‘biological insecticides’ which are exempt from EPA registration. These nematodes can infect many kinds of insects, but they don’t infect birds or mammals.”
Today I noticed that the Artichokes were GONE! Not chewed or bitten, but just gone. One little leaf left. Humm. This happened to our cauliflower a few weeks ago in the same spot. We have a lot of quail that have been visiting the garden so maybe it was them?? Anyhow, I sprayed with Neem Oil today in the hopes that whatever took them will not like the rest of the plants. I guess we’ll have to see tomorrow.