The best and simplest explanation of ecology and nature is undoubtedly the Layman's Laws of the Universe, written for everyone to understand, yet with layers and layers of deeper meanings.
The Layman's Laws of the Universe are stated:
- Everything is connected to everything
- Everything has got to go somewhere
- There is no such thing as free lunch
- Mother Nature knows BEST.
Man has somehow acquired a superior attitude towards the earth as if he/she is the master and in most instances the earth has been manipulated to benefit man. A myopic person might then conclude that man is the master, yet we are slowly realizing that Mother Nature still holds all the trump cards and we might be creating an insidious disaster in the future - one that will ambush us unrelentlessly.
Organic gardening or farming is an attempt to come back in line with Mother Nature.
The following are 13 advantages of organic growing.
- You protect future generations
- You pay the real cost of real food
- You have an independent guarantee
- You protect water quality
- You enjoy great flavor and nutrition
- You keep chemicals off your plate
- You reduce global warming and save energy
- You prevent soil erosion
- You help small farmers
- You help restore biodiversity
- There is very little danger of over fertilizing, although manure must be left to sit for half a year or so, until the high temperature portion of the decomposition is complete. In other words, don't use HOT manure directly on plants.
- There is no cost for herbicides and pesticides.
- In many areas, manure becomes a liability because of runoff polluting streams and thus, farmers are glad to get rid of it, often for a little cost. Even when paying for it at $20.00 a half ton load (my cost on Salt Spring), the value received is much greater than the bagged fertilizers sold in stores.
Eating organic food (where to buy it) is one of the most important contributions any of us
can make to save the planet. Over 25,000 tons of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are
used in Britain every year. More than half of these are known to cause cancer, birth
defects, genetic changes or serious irritation if ingested directly, but somehow we have
allowed ourselves to be convinced that food can be exposed to such poisons without
But when we invest in organic farming, we get a huge dividend. Good, health food.
An average apple, for instance, contains
- 80 Calories
- 18 g. of carbohydrates
- 5 g. of fibre
- 170 mg. of potassium
- 0.5 g. of fat
- 0.0 cholesterol
- 0.0 sodium
- 3.0 g folic acid (anti-oxidants)
Folic acid, according to present research, seems to be an important link to healthy hearts, but nothing is conclusive. However, one apple contains more than the recommended daily allowance of folic acid. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. (Pome News, Winter 1996 from the New York Times, Thur. Oct. 5, 1995.)
Our yearly records of organic fertilizers shown below, best exemplify our efforts at Apple Luscious Organic Orchard to provide the healthiest, best tasting and most diverse apples available in the world to you.
The main regime consists of seaweed, manure, oyster shell, fish wastes and mulch hay. The following is a list of activities for the last few years.
Apple Luscious Annual Record of Organic Fertilizers.
Organic Supplement 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
- Seaweed (half tons) 6 (est) 8.5 11 9.5
- Oyster Shell (half ton) 0 1 1 0
- Manure (half tons) 0 8.5 3 0
- Mulch Hay (bales) 100 20 123 0
- Fish Wastes (buckets) 24 (est) 24 (est) 24 (est) 15 (est)
In Feb. 1996, one half-ton truck load of apple tree prunings were delivered to Lionel Demandre, the local basket weaver, hopefully to be turned into beautiful functional baskets.
It was fellow Canadian singer, Joni Mitchel who in 1969 sang,
"...Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT,
Give me the spots on my apples,
But leave me the birds and the bees, please..."
As we have proceeded to clean up the air and water of the environment, the food we eat has become the greatest source of poison into our bodies. With the continued creation of up to 2000 new chemicals each year, our bodies have become quickly exposed to substance to which they have never been exposed or had time to evolve. Is it any wonder that the rise of cancers and other forms of allergies is increasing?
It is very interesting that in 1996, another woman, Theo Colburn, writing
OUR STOLEN FUTURE,
by Theo Colburn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers,
published by Dutton Signet, (a division of Penguin Books, USA. Inc.) -1996,
To order call 800-253-6476
has been compared to Rachel Carson. Once again the chemical companies are frightened because someone seems to be holding up a red flag. Theo's premise is that many of the chlorine based synthetic chemicals in the environment are mimicking hormones and causing reproductive problems in both human beings and wildlife. Based on research, she has discovered such alarming facts as plummeting human sperm counts increasing breast cancer in women birth deformities in animals and faltering populations of many wildlife species. Theo deduces that something is wrong.
She writes that safeguarding the next generation from hormone disruption will require vigilance over the years and decades, because the dose reaching the womb depends not only on what the mother takes in during pregnancy but also on the persistent contaminants accumulated up to that point in the mother's body fat, which are transferred to her children during gestation and breast feeding.
We must limit what children are exposed to as they grow up; and keep the toxic burden that women accumulate prior to pregnancy as low as possible. The proper choice of food we eat may help safeguard our children. The way we raise and feed our daughter may protect our grandchildren. A few simple guidelines to help lower you risk of exposure include
Lowering Risk of Hormone Imposters
- Know your water
- Chose and cook your food intelligently
- Avoid unnecessary exposures
- Improve protection.
In an article in Sierra Magazine, Feb. 1997, page 28, David Helvarg, shows how the major chemical manufacturers in 1962 fought Rachel Carson (who had just published her landmark expose Silent Spring) using PR experts to coordinate personal attacks, industry funded front groups, hostile mailings, and public forums with industry funded "third party experts" to try and discredit her. History has shown that Rachel Carson was correct. Theo Colburn seems to have stirred up that same hornets nest of opposition. The Chlorine Council representing the main chlorine producers, DuPont, Dow, Oxychem and Vulcan Chemical, collectively produce 13.3 million tons of chlorine per year. According to Chemical and Engineering News, these companies may be spending over $150 million a year attempting to alleviate concern about the possible dangers of chlorine in our environment. Much of this money goes to research and organizations , which will not receive future funding if producing results unfavourable to the chlorine producing companies. I believe that time will also show that Theo Colburn is also correct and she will become a landmark figure in the fight to maintain a health world.
- Home owners use more pesticide/herbicide per acre than farmers.
- Pesticide/herbicide purchases are one of the greater expenses to farmers.
Fortunately the organic movement, at least on the west coast (California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia) is awakening. In Nov., 1995, the B.C. government gave BC's organic food association $125,000 and one staff member for two years to help the organic food industry meet skyrocketing demands. Support will help processors, distributors, retailers and consumer groups. In addition, a central source for marketing and distribution will be created as well as information kits for farmer to help them cross over into organic production. It is great to see the west coast of Canada and the United States leading the way in resurrection of organic food. I believe the future will prove this to be the proper direction. It is not surprising that the first advice that a farmer gets when attempting to get away from chemical dependencies (not drugs, but herbicides and pesticides), is to remove the radio from the tractor and get a tape deck. The huge marketing efforts by the chemical producers via the radios is very seductive. Plus the inertial of "We have always done it this way," is hard to overcome.
Organic farming is a connection to our future. It is great to see National Geographic, December 1995 doing a beautiful article, both positive and powerful, A Farming Revolution, Sustainable Agriculture about the trend in the US back to sustainable agriculture and biodiversity.