Why Garden?

The very best way to take control of your food and avoid some of the potential hazards of untested chemicals and additives is to start your own home garden.

The costs of food are skyrocketing at an alarming rate, spurred on by a huge variety of factors, including trade agreement imbalances and American Government policies, cost of operation and fuel, availabiliy, modern agri-corporation farming policies, pestulance from invading species, and, of course, Mother Nature herself!

The recent huge sand storms in Arizona should open the eyes of these huge agri-corporations that their practices of agriculture are risky. Pumping vast quantities of fertilizers and perticides into the ground and on the crops themselves is not sustainable in the long run, and, was partially blamed for the great depression in America in the 1930's when the "bread basket of America" turned into a vast dust bowl no longer able to sustain crops or people. I see the signs of this happening again...the fights over water rights, dust storms, and failed crops.

Corn is one of the most distructive crops grown, over half of which has been genetically modified to include persicides in their genetic profile. As the plants grow, so do the pesticides. Now think of all of the products containing corn! If you include "cornstarch", "high fructose corn syrup" "modified corn meal"...the list goes on and on...you might start to wonder..."How are these pesticides affecting our bodies?" The answer is now being debated, but it is sort of like "Putting the cart before the horse", so to speak, since the saturation of corn products is so acute!

Many other countries around the world have already passed legislations banning many of the chemicals Americans are exposed to daily. These huge agri-corporations manage to modify their products to accommodate local foreign laws in order to get into the market, while keeping the same dangerous practices alive and well for the rest of the world. If these corporations can make the changes for foreign customers, why then would they continue to use these questionable chemicals and additives in their products if there was even a slight question of safety? We all know that answer...profit!

In America, almost all of the studies regarding the safety of a product put before the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) are done by the company making the said product or a company they hire to do the study. These companies have an obvious agenda to get their product on the market, and, as a result, "put lipstick on a pig" by glossing over negative data, which, when released on the general public may have greater affects on a larger percentage of the populace than "projected". This is particularly true of the pharmaceutical and agri-chemical companies.

The list of products approved with little to no serious study include not only medications, but fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, beef, poultry and the products made from them, including the chemicals used to preserve and package these products for the market.

Add to this the appalling conditions at our poultry, beef and pork "factories" where over medicating with antibotics to counteract the effects of the crowded, unsanitary feed lots is common practice. Growth hormones are routinely given to the animals to beef them up because the feed being fed to them is not their natural food. Poultry are commonly raised almost entirely in dark, poorly ventilated elongated sheds shoulder to shoulder.

No wonder there are outbreaks of Salmonella Heidelberg! This strain is highly resistant to antibiotics! A new outbreak recall of 36 million pounds of contaminated ground turkey has just been announced by the Center of Disease Control affecting 26 states, making 78 people ill and killing one since March, 2011. See www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg/080111/index.html for more details. Every month or so we hear of eggs, lettuce, spinach and/or tomatoes being recalled fearing an outbreak, and all of them eventually trace back to the huge agri-corporations...this time Cargill, a huge meat production corporation.

According to the Center of Disease Control, every year an average of 3,000 people die and 56 million Americans get sick from food poisoning.

Food travels for thousand of miles, in many instances, to get to the grocery store, and are often picked before they are ripe in order to survive the long journey and appear fresh in the stores. Many of this produce is sprayed and treated with chemicals to help them look fresh and special lights are hung in the grocery store produce aisles to enhance the color of the produce.

What You Can Do?

But, take heart, there is something you can do to take control of your food supply, and take the choices of what you eat and what is in or on it, out of corporate hands! The very best way is to start your own garden. And, as your garden grows, preserving your harvest for use during those long, winter months until the next growing season arrives again!

But, you say, I don't have any room for gardening and my time is completely booked for the whole summer. The alternatives for this dilemma are to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group or go to farmers markets where farm fresh vegetables are available throughout the summer and fall.

Community Supported Agriculture usually consists of a communal garden, that, for either a fee or volunteer work program, allows you to a share of the garden harvest. This is an excellent way for people thinking about gardening to get a taste for what it is like and how rewarding the task is. See www.localharvest.org for a list of CSA's and substainable farmers' markets throughout the United States and in your area.