brainwashed - tractor spraying
By Penny Howard

I think we have all been sort of brainwashed by the industrialized chemicalized agriculture machine.  We are to believe that without their precious chemicals, our food supply would be drastically impacted.  I was told by a wife of a farmer years ago that you would starve to death trying to be organic.  Hmm?  How is the human race even still here?  How did we survive until chemical agriculture stepped in and saved us 70 or so years ago? 

The same logic applies to chemical medicine.  We are told we NEED this or that prescription to “manage” our symptoms.  Never mind fixing the problem.  Just manage the symptoms and let the underlying cause keep chipping away at our real health.

Doing What We Are Told

Like most of us, I grew up thinking that what the doctor gave me was good for me.  He or she wouldn’t prescribe something that would hurt me.  I believed in the system.  The same goes for the food system.  I believed the commercials about “heart-healthy” this or “nutritious” that.  I had faith in the governmental agencies who were supposed to be policing industries and making sure that their products were safe, healthy, and delicious.  Putting faith in man and his institutions is a mistake.  Man may have good intentions, but institutions and corporations have stockholders to whom they must answer and a bottom line to consider.  They are not concerned about my health and well-being, only the health and well-being of the balance sheet. 

Becoming Advocates

brainwashed - Organic do not spray

So, we must be our own advocates doing our due diligence and researching things for ourselves.  Ask questions.  Where was this grown?  How was it grown?  What chemicals were used?  With all the news about Glyphosate in the courts and the media, we must realize that there has to be a better way!

Start by shopping local.  Go to the farmer’s markets.  Meet the farmers.  Get to know them.  Eating organically grown produce reduces your toxic load.  It increases the nutritional value of the food.  Upfront costs may be a bit higher, but it is kind of “pay me now or pay me later.”  Pay a few extra dollars for healthy nutrient-dense foods or pay later with a devastating diagnosis and the multitude of costs associated with that. 

Research shows that cancer and many other diseases we are far too familiar with today are diet and lifestyle-related.  Diseases that were unknown or extremely rare a hundred years ago are now common-place, and a part of our familiar vocabulary.  To change the trajectory of disease, we must change our diet and lifestyle. 

Our Journey

As a couple, we have come to an organic lifestyle sort of late.  We aren’t twenty or event thirty-somethings.  Our kids are.  We believed in the chemical/drug methods for a long time.  Too long.  But as we began gardening and growing in our aquaponics system, we chose to be organic.  The fish wouldn’t survive the chemical options.  And we tried in our soil garden.  It all came to the “aha moment” when we got some information about the soil microbiome.  We had been working on our gut microbiomes for a while, but a soil microbiome.  Wow!  I remember looking at Dennis, and our eyes were wide.  It was the piece of the puzzle that made it all make sense.  

So, we are now the organic crusaders, preaching loud and long to any who will listen.  And to some who would rather not. 

Back to Basics

brainnwashed - fresh local produce sign

Organics isn’t a new thing.  Chemical agriculture is a new thing.  It was brought about by a surplus of chemicals after the war and a chemical industry that wanted to stay in business.  They would have us believe that agriculture wouldn’t exist without them.  I am afraid that agriculture in the future will not exist if we continue down the path they are paving. Dead soils and nutritionally void foods can not sustain us. 

Using an organic system in your garden and on your lawns reduces the toxic load in your little part of the environment.  Buying local from farmers who use organic methods reduces that toxic load a little more.  Buying local reduces the number of fossil fuels needed to transport the food to your table.  Each of us doing a little can accomplish a lot.

Feed the Soil, Not the Plant

brainwashed - soil in hands

For years I have been saying of the aquaponics system, “I feed the fish, the fish feed the plants, and the plants feed me.”  Now I say, “I feed the soil, the soil feeds the plants, and the plants feed me.”  It is an elegant and beautiful system.  We have read, watched, and listened to books, movies, and podcasts on soil and soil health.  It is a common topic of discussion at our house.  But it is that important.  Some research even suggests that using compost on large areas of land can help capture carbon, a major factor in climate change.

Let’s all work together to clean up our act.  Clean up our lifestyle and, in a small way, clean up our world.  Dump processed foods, grow our own food as much as we can. Buy local organically grown foods from our farmers. Use organic methods on our landscapes and gardens.  Small changes done many times by many people will have a big impact on our lives and our world. 

Links and Resources

For more information about organic gardening, lifestyles, and living, visit our website at West Texas Organic Gardening.

If you found the information here helpful, you might also find these articles on our website of interest.

Building Healthy Soil

The Organic System

Winter Soil Building

If you have more specific questions or problems, you can contact us using the contact form on our website. You can also post your question to our community forum at this page; West Texas Organic Gardening Community Forum.

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