February 2007 Newsletter

Compost Tea Hits the Limelight

Teaming With Microbes

Brix as a measurement of food quality

Nutri-Con

Children’s Health and Food Quality

Jeb Thurow of Healthy Trees & Garden Service

Gordon’s FREE (mostly) Classes

The Yelm Food Co-op has a new home

Quick Facts

Previous newsletters

Compost Tea Hits the Limelight

 

If we could sum up our experience at this year’s Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle, it would be that this year there is an intense interest in compost teas.  Specifically, we a talking about actively aerated compost teas or AACT.  Here at the farm, we call them Worm Teas, and we have addressed them at length in previous newsletters.  We will address them further in future newsletters especially when used in combination with our new Barefoot Soil C-gro.

Teaming With Microbes

 

We now know that we can team with microbes in our soil to provide a growing medium for all plants that is superior to petrochemicals in disease resistance, drought tolerance, water requirements, productivity, yield, produce shelf life, plant nutrition levels and insect repellency.  And this is a only short list of  benefits!  We do this by cultivating large numbers and diversity of microbes that are the basis of the breakdown of organic residues into usable plant nutrients.  In our last newsletter, we listed the first 5 Soil Food Web Gardening Rules mentioned and recommended  in Teaming with Microbes, A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lownfels and Wayne Lewis.  Here are the next 7:

  1. Aged, brown organic materials support fungi; fresh, green organic materials support bacteria.
  2. Mulch laid on the surface tends to support fungi; mulch worked into the soil tends to support bacteria.
  3. If you wet and grind mulch thoroughly, it speeds up bacterial colonization.
  4. Coarse, dryer mulches support fungal activity.
  5. Sugars help bacteria multiply and grow; kelp, humic and fulvic acids, and phosphate rock dusts help fungi grow.
  6. By choosing the compost you begin with and what nutrients you add to it, you can make teas that are heavily fungal, bacterially dominated, or balanced.
  7. Compost teas are very sensitive to chlorine and preservatives in the brewing water and ingredients.

By employing these simple guidelines (and more that will be presented in future newsletters) you can join with the microbe team which is ready and willing to create an ecosystem in your soil which will provide an extraordinary growth medium for anything you want to grow.  This team has been playing together for millions of years (they have their playbook down!) cycling dead plants into reusable material.  These guidelines allow you to set up your own “factory” of nutrient cycling in your yard and garden to achieve similar spectacular results in a child, pet, wildlife and earth friendly manner.

 

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Brix as a measurement of food quality

 

Brix is a well known measurement to the wine and fruit industry that measures the fruit’s sugar level.  What most don’t know is that it can be a simple and inexpensive measurement of the quality of vegetables also.  By quality, I am referring to the nutrient value of vitamins and minerals as well as proteins and carbohydrates contained within the plant.  Our current conventional farming practices create low Brix crops and subsequently low nutritive foods.

 

Customers whom have purchased vegetables from our farm grown our Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings have noted that they taste better, are sweeter and last longer on their counter or in their fridge than any other vegetables they have seen.  In fact, these are characteristics of high Brix value plants.  We can also add that these plants come up earlier, are more drought and temperature tolerant and have improved disease resistance and insect repellency.

 

Leading research is still trying to decipher a formulated practice that consistently produces high Brix, and that research includes a newly identified substance, glomalin, which seems to be responsible for creating soil aggregates and holding nutrients in the soil.  It also has to do with fulvic and humic acids created by microbes, not added to the soil as a mineral substance.  But the fundamental aspect that creates high Brix is a living soil teeming with microbes.  Using Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings and adding trace minerals and other organic soil nutrients to your living soil is Mother Nature’s formula that we know works.

 

Some already pay more for high Brix vegetables such as high end restaurants and eateries that depend on superior tasting food to attract and retain customers.  In the near future, we will see that produce buyers will pay more because the food stores’ customers demand it.  Why?  Because of this very simple formula that our society is just beginning to remember again:

 

Food = medicine = supply of vital nutrients only available through a vegetative source = good health.

 

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Nutri-Con

 

On the subject of  food quality and health, the Organic Consumers Association has started a campaign to expose the hazards and limited effectiveness of synthetic vitamins & supplements, creating marketplace awareness and demand for truly organic, naturally occurring vitamins, botanicals, & supplements.  They are promoting a new book, The Vitamin Myth Exposed, by Brian Clement of the Hippocrates Health Institute, and portions of the book will be posted on their website here.  In addition, you can read updated new highlights of their campaign there.

 

If you are taking supplements, you would be well advised to do some research on this subject, because not only could you be wasting your money on ineffective substances, but these synthetic vitamins can actually be toxic to you.  The best advice is to get your vitamins from whole high Brix fruits and vegetables.  Instead of  taking vitamin C in tablet form, for instance, eat the orange that contains the vitamin C, for research has shown that the tablet vitamin C is mildly or ineffective without the combination of bioflavonoids in the orange or orange juice.

 

Perhaps spending a little money on the book and the time to read and understand it could save a real lot of money in future vitamin purchases and/or health bills!

 

Children’s Health and Food Quality

 

Taken from the Earthbound Farm website, here is some information that should inspire all parents to carefully choose what produce they serve to their children and what mothers eat during pregnancy:

•  A study conducted by the Department of Public Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington measured pesticide exposure of pre-school children in Seattle, Washington. Twenty-four-hour urine samples were collected from 18 children with organic diets and 21 children with conventional diets.

The study found that metabolite concentrations indicating organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure were approximately six times higher for children with conventional diets than for children with organic diets.

Diet, not environmental exposure, appears to have been the primary pathway for OP pesticide exposure for the children in this study. Results suggest that consumption of organic fruits, vegetables, and juices can reduce children's exposure levels from above to below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's current guidelines, thereby shifting exposures from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk.

Source: "Organophosphorus pesticide exposure of urban and suburban pre-school children with organic and conventional diets" Cynthia L. Curl, Richard A. Fenske, and Kai Elgethun, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Can pesticide exposure occur before birth?

•  Almost all pesticides and other pollutants cross the placenta, the natural protective shield for the fetus.

•  Pesticides and other pollutants have been detected in amniotic fluid and body tissues of human fetuses even during the early stages of prenatal life.

•  Exposure to pesticides causes many health problems, including the risk of miscarriage.

•  The fetus is particularly susceptible to impacts of pesticides and other pollutants because:
its cells divide rapidly;
its blood brain barrier is more permeable; and its detoxification enzymes are not yet developed

Sources:
Nuriminen, T., "Maternal Pesticide Exposure and Pregnancy Outcome," J Occup Environ Med 37:8, 935-940 (1995).
Jensen, A.A. "Transfer of Chemical Contaminants in Human Milk." In: Jensen, A.A. and Slorach SA (eds).
Chemical Contaminants in Human Milk. Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp: 9-19 (1991).
Office of Technology Assessment, (OTA) of the US Congress, Neurotoxicity: Identifying and Controlling Poisons of the Nervous System (1990).

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Jeb Thurow of Healthy Trees & Garden Service

 

will be managing our orchard this year.  He has pruned the trees, and we will be working with Jeb using worm teas, Barefoot Soil Earthworm Castings, and soil amendments to create vibrant trees and a healthy crop of fruit.  Jeb is available to help you with organic solutions to your trees and garden, and you can reach him at 360-894-7789 or at cjthurow@hotmail.com.

Gordon’s FREE (mostly) Classes

 

Again this Saturday, Gordon’s in downtown Yelm will be holding classes emphasizing organic fruit growing. 

 

Saturday, Febrary 24th at Gordon’s Grange with Kellie Peterson:

 

10:00 AM – Common Fruit Disease and Organic Prevention & Remedies

11:30 AM – Dwarf Fuits for Small Spaces

1:00 PM – Strawberry Haven!  ($9.00 to walk out with a wall pocket, $26.00 for a hanging basket)

 

Next month, Nadja, Jeb and Kellie will be back on Saturdays addressing more organic growing tips.  Call Gordon’s to sign up for any class and find out about upcoming events at 360-458-2481.

 

The Yelm Food Co-op has a new home

 

The Yelm Co-op has signed a lease agreement and will be opening a store soon in downtown Yelm across the street from Lemuria in the location of most recently Fine Consign and previously the RSE Book Store location.  The YFC is looking for new members and no doubt people whom would like to help with their effort.  You can find out more information, sign up for membership and check on the status of their developments at www.yelmcoop.com.

Quick Facts

 



HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK:
A CUP A DAY WILL KEEP THE DOCTOR AWAY
Apple cider vinegar has traditionally been known to be beneficial for your health due to its high concentration of vitamins and minerals. A regular dose of apple cider vinegar, honey and water can help the body pass acid crystals, thus preventing and/or reducing muscle and joint stiffness, including pains due to arthritis. That same mixture has the benefit of thinning the blood, thereby reducing blood pressure. Apple cider vinegar can also aid digestion and kill harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. Pure apple cider vinegar can also be used to wash pesticides and bacteria or fungus off of fresh produce. Most commercial apple cider vinegars have been pasteurized and filtered, which destroys much of the inherent beneficial elements. Look for cold-pressed, unpasteurized and organic apple cider vinegar.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4028.cfm

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
DR. ROYAL LEE: CRUSADER FOR ORGANIC, NATURALLY OCCURRING FOODS AND SUPPLEMENTS

"Candy, all white sugar or its products, and white flour including its products such as macaroni, spaghetti, crackers, etc., should be absolutely barred from the diet of the child. All these are energy-producing foods that contain no building materials for the body. The consequences of their toleration are susceptibility to infections, enlarged tonsils, carious teeth, unruly dispositions, stunted growth, rickets, maldevelopment and very often permanent damage to many organs of the body (especially the endocrine glands) that depend upon the vitamin supply for their normal function and development." - October 2, 1933
More information about Dr. Royal Lee, the pioneer of the organic and natural vitamin movement, can be found in this week's online postings at OCA's Nutri-Con Campaign: The Truth About Vitamins and Supplements

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STUDY FINDS THAT ORGANIC & SUSTAINABLE FARMING INCREASES YIELDS BY 79% OR MORE
A new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology indicates that low-income farmers in developing nations who adopt sustainable organic farming practices increase crop yields by an average of 79%. In addition, the healthier soil allows the crops to better withstand drought. Sustainable farmers save additional money by using less water, eliminating pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and by avoiding high-priced genetically engineered seeds. The study adds to the ever-growing body of scientific evidence that sustainable farming practices are key to feeding and preserving decent livelihoods for the 40% of the world's population who are still farmers or rural villagers.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4036.cfm

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SENATE POISED TO CUT SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROGRAM FUNDING

Last week, the Senate passed a resolution that would immediately end funding for a federal program crucial to sustainable agriculture. The Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program was designed to provide farmers with information on how to integrate sustainable practices into their own farms. This successful federal program has become one of the most successful and cost-effective tools used by farmers to make their agricultural operations safer for human health and the environment. Beginning early next week (Feb. 26) Congressman Boozman (R-AR) will begin circulating a sign-on letter to request the continued funding of ATTRA. Call your representative and senator and ask them to sign onto Congressman Boozman's letter.

Learn more and take action: http://www.organicconsumers.org/farm.cfm

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WHAT COLOR IS YOUR MEAT?
In this hilarious new animation, Jim Hightower tells us how the majority of non-organic U.S. beef is now injected with carbon monoxide to make it appear fresh and pink. Most meat consumers look at the color of beef to determine if meat is rotten or not. But carbon monoxide injection makes even rancid meats appear fresh. The FDA approved this process without any public comment period, ignoring overwhelming evidence that artificial meat coloring is blatantly misleading to consumers.
Watch the video here: http://hightowerdownload.com/node/26

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WHAT'S IN YOUR MILK?
A new book by Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the world's leading scientific authorities on Monsanto's genetically engineered rBGH milk, offers readers an air-tight case on the dangers of this synthetic hormone. Epstein's research conclusively indicates it's high time for the U.S. to finally acknowledge the dangers of rBGH in milk and dairy products. In his book, Epstein shows how rBGH, which is banned in most of the world, is only legal in the U.S. due to ties between Monsanto (producer of the rBGH drug Posilac) and the White House, the FDA, the American Medical Association, and American Cancer Society. "What's In Your Milk?" also reveals:

  • Evidence of Monsanto's white collar crime.
  • The suppression and manipulation of information on the veterinary and public health dangers of rBGH milk.
  • Evidence on a wide range of abnormalities in rBGH milk, particularly ties to increased risk of cancer; and inhibition of apoptosis, the natural self-destruction of early microscopic cancers.

    Learn more: http://www.preventcancer.com/publications/WhatsInYourMilkRelease.htm

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CHILDREN'S PLASTIC LUNCH BOXES
Last week, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act were released that show the U.S. government's Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) concealed evidence indicating dangerously high levels of lead in children's plastic lunchboxes. Back in 2005, the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health made national news when their investigations found high levels of lead in children's vinyl lunchboxes. The CPSC immediately countered that report by saying its own studies revealed no problems. On the contrary, documents released last week show the agency's own tests actually found lead contamination up to 16 times higher than what is allowed in lead paint. The government's motivation for a cover-up that threatens the health of the nation's children is unclear, but an allied group of state Attorney Generals is being organized to ultimately remove these lunchboxes from the marketplace.

Learn more:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/afc.cfm

Tip: The lunchboxes to avoid are made of PVC. These are typically the squishy plastic type of "bag" boxes. You can also order a lead lunchbox testing kit from the Center for Environmental Health: http://www.testyourlunchbox.com

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ENDING BOTTLED WATER ADDICTION WILL SAVE MONEY & ENVIRONMENT

BOTTLED WATER ISN'T NECESSARILY CLEANER: According to the San Francisco Chronicle and lawsuits from the Environmental Law Foundation, 40% of bottled water is really just repackaged tap water. Maybe that's a good thing, considering federal standards for tap water are actually higher than those for bottled water.

BOTTLED WATER AND OIL: Supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, according to the Container Recycling Institute. That's enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Add in the additional amount of oil it takes to ship the bottles thousands of miles from extraction source to recipient, and your drink of H2O could be categorized with the "Hummers" of the world.

BOTTLED WATER AND BIODEGRADABILITY: Buddha's bones turned to dust a long time ago. But if he had been a bottled water drinker, that plastic would still be laying around. It takes two minutes to drink a bottle of water, but it takes thousands of years for that piece of plastic garbage to go away.

SOLUTION: Buy a water filter and a non-plastic water container of your preferred size. Fill it up in the morning before you go to work or school. Do a quick online search, and you can also find affordable portable water filters for when you are traveling. You'll save yourself and the environment a lot of expense.

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MONSANTO FINED FOR FALSE ADVERTISING
A French court has fined the U.S. biotech behemoth Monsanto for falsely advertising its pesticide Roundup as non-toxic. Monsanto's ads claimed the product is biodegradable and leaves the soils clean after use. In actuality, the chemical, which is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S, is deemed by the European Union as "dangerous for the environment" and "toxic for aquatic organisms".
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm

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Final Note – A report card!

 

In a report release last week (Feb. 14th) by the United Nations Children’s Fund that did not seem well publicized in the US, the US ranked 21st  of the 22 most economically advanced nations followed only by Britain.  The United States was ranked worst for health and safety.  The highest ranking for the United States was for education where it was ranked 12th out of the 21 countries.  Yahoo article.

 

 

14741 Lawrence Lake Rd SE

Yelm, WA  98597

360-894-0707

www.yelmworms.com

M-F 9-5

Sat 10-4

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