May 2007 Newsletter


Buy Locally Grown Meats and Produce

Worm Tea Saves Crops

Observing Micorrhizal Effects – Patience Required

Evolving Food Crisis

An Inconvenient Truth II

Quick Facts

Previous Newsletters


Spring Hours


The gardening and growing season is on, so here are some new opening hours that will help accommodate your work schedule:


M-F     9-5 except W 9-6

Sat       10-5

Sun      10-4


Buy Locally Grown Meats and Produce


There is increasing media attention about the benefits of buying locally grown food.  Not only does it keep your local farmer or organic producer in business, keep dollars in the local community thus stimulating local economic growth, but often if not always is fresher, more nutritive and healthier for your body.  Moreover, in these times of increasing numbers and sizes of natural disasters, you may be glad that you can rely on a local producer when foreign or distant foods become difficult to obtain or downright unobtainable.


Some local producers sell from their farms.  Other local producer’s produce is sold through Co-Ops, while other larger local producers have their products in large supermarkets.  You can also join a CSA.  We will put together a local list for Yelm in our next issue.  For the greater Seattle area, visit


A recent news article mentioned that 2/3rds of India’s population are farmers.  In the US, at best 0.2% are farmers.  In the event of a natural catastrophe, which society do you think will survive?  Support your local farmers so that you can!



Worm Tea Saves Crops


Talking with another worm farmer in the San Diego area recently, we learned that there was a run on worm tea as a result of the severe freezing weather this winter in the Imperial Valley, a major California farming area.  According to our source, crops that were tead survived the frosts while untreated crops froze and died.  As a result, there was a run on castings and tea with tea going for $16/quart for “concentrated worm tea.”


We see similar increased freeze and drought tolerance with living soils here at the farm and get similar reports from various customers.  One customer recently said she was digging through snow this winter to get at living spinach in her garden!


And here is an interesting testimonial off of the KIS webpage.  They make tea brewers and brewing kits of which one of the fundamental brewing elements is worm castings:

"I must say that Leon's KIS Machine is the finest in the WORLD! We have grown the worlds largest medical marijuana plant with it... 12 inch stalk. Yes, a stalk the size of a 1 gallon milk jug."

~Richard Maughs, author of Medical Marijuana Guide 2007, Rick's Book is five years published and he has helped over 13,000 people become state registered cardholders. Rick is currently working with 116 doctors and he holds clinics every week.


Observing Micorrhizal Effects – Patience Required


From Don Chapman’s newsletter of BioOrganics, Inc.:


“I received a call today from a landscaper who related his experience with a mycorrhizal inoculant (not ours).  He said that plants responded immediately to it, but after 2-3 weeks couldn't see any further benefit and the plants didn't look good.
After having him read the label to me, it was obvious that there were several fast-acting ingredients in the product which would produce the responses he observed, but only a very few Endomycorrhizal fungi spores - probably not enough to reliably create the beneficial infectivity.
As Endo spores are relatively expensive (In contrast, Ecto types are a few dollars per billion), a common marketing strategy is to grandly tout "contains mycorrhizae" in packaged products, and to downplay the actual guaranteed Endo-type numbers or not even show such information.  This is all in the category of buyer beware.
Having a relatively low concentration of Endo spores is perfectly legitimate for products that are designed to be used as soil additives (such as our MycoMinerals), or for potting soils where a few spores scattered throughout the mix will do the job.  However, for products that are sold as inoculants, it pays to put on your reading glasses and examine the fine print!  Sometimes the most expensive products don't offer very impressive spore counts, especially of Endo-type spores.
A final caution: A guaranteed "spore" count is a more stringent measure of value than "propagule" counts, which can include cheaper and short-lived hyphae fragments.  If used fresh, hyphae bits can certainly create infectivity, but their shelf life is far briefer than dormant spores - some of which can remain viable for 10-20 years or more.
To get back to my landscaper call, I told him that his experience was about exactly opposite of what he should expect to see from a successful mycorrhizal inoculation - that it takes some time (maybe 2-4 weeks) for spores to activate and colonize the surrounding soil to forage for nutrients.  Inoculated plants often appear weak and yellowish until the fungi became established, then they typically "take off" and thrive.  We advise patience - don't give in to the temptation to drench newly inoculated plants with liquid fertilizers - that will usually disrupt the biological process.”



Evolving Food Crisis


There is trouble a-brewing in our food supply.  Recently Congress held hearings over the safety of the US food supply, and what was broadcast in the media was a statement from the head of the FDA saying “Our food supply is safe.”  Let’s consider which part of the food supply he may be referring to as “safe.”


US Food Production:

US Food Imports:

US Food Prices:

·        In all food related sectors, prices are rising.  Energy costs are increasing, fertilizer use and costs are increasing.  Recent debates over immigration reform and resultant US customs raids on factories where illegal workers are suspected have reduced labor pool availability and increased labor costs to the point where fruit growers in California are watching their fruit rot on the ground.  Many are considering cutting down decades old orchards and turning them into hay fields where minimal labor is required.  NOT SAFE.

US Food Nutritive Value:

US Food Toxicity:


There you have it.  The only consideration we have not yet made is certified organic produce, home garden organically grown produce, locally organically grown produce, and small farm or locally raised livestock that is hormone and antibiotic free.  Here we can finally say, SAFE.  Although a very small part of what is eaten in America, this could be what our FDA considers as “safe.”



An Inconvenient Truth II


Last newsletter referred to a recent book, The Hundred Year Lie, by Randall Fitzgerald ( ).  In this well researched book, Fitzgerald summarizes conclusions derived from reports and studies all pointing to this:  chemicals in everyday products are ruining your health.  Most every paragraph of the book points out astounding facts or report summaries that show this to be true.  Consider just these few:



There is no longer any question that these toxins are disturbing us and all other life forms on this planet in a major way.  Moreover, much of what exists in the environment is not going away, and we will continue to be exposed at high levels for the foreseeable future.  The most unfortunate fact is that governments and industry are not going to curb the use of chemicals shown to be toxic any time soon.


So what to do?


From here on out, for those wise enough to understand the dangers and motivated enough to do something about it for their personal health and those around them equally motivated (or for your children or yet born that need things done for them) here is the plan:


1.      “Limit your exposure to synthetic chemicals of all types at all times.”  (There is even a new chemically reduced sector in housing that uses only wool or natural fabric carpets or sustainable wood flooring, for instance.)

2.      “Get yourself tested to determine your chemical body burden.”  (You can skip this step.  For any human on Earth, if you do not think you are contaminated or you think these contaminates are not affecting you, think again.  You are contaminated, and these contaminates are affecting you!  If you do get tested via urine or blood, remember that the level of results you see are 200 times more concentrated in your fatty tissues!)

3.      “Develop a detox strategy for yourself to eliminate the toxins detected in your body.”  (There are many detoxification routes available – probably with varying effectiveness.  Some have been clinically proven to work:  toxins can be measured in the body, they can be measured as they are excreted from the body, and the final toxic level can be measured after the detox.  These studies have been done.  The author relates his experience in his book, and you can view example test results on his web site.)


For optimal health, plan on continuing this strategy from here on out to protect yourself from the diseases that are crippling our society.


For the protection of future generations, support these five societal changes outlined and described in the book:


1.      Pressure the Toxins Manufacturers

2.      Create a Naturally Occurring Standard

3.      Encourage Preventive Health Care

4.      Make Dining a Health Education Opportunity

5.      Accept Alternative Remedies

Quick Facts


23 million Americans drink water contaminated with herbicides. This is linked to 1,000 deaths per year.
- Environmental Working Group


For every human being on the planet, the world produces 2 lbs. of grain per day-roughly 3000 calories, and that's without even counting all the beans, potatoes, nuts, fruits and vegetables we eat. Worldwide, almost half of this grain is fed to livestock.
- From Hope's Edge, the Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé


In 1998, 275,000 Americans successfully protested against proposed USDA organic rules that would have allowed food labeled organic to be genetically engineered, fertilized with toxic sewage sludge, and irradiated.
- From Fatal Harvest, Andrew Kimbrell, Editor

To produce 1 pound of feedlot meat takes 7 pounds of grain, which takes 7,000 pounds of water to grow.
- Time Magazine


The American lawn uses more resources than any other agricultural industry in the world. It uses more phosphates than India and puts on more poisons than any other form of agriculture.
- Bill Mollison as quoted in "Gardening for the Future of The Earth", a Seeds of Change Book


Americans throw away one hundred billion polyethlene bags a year. They choke thousands of marine animals annually; the inks used to print all those smiley faces break down in landfills and create a toxic seep. Though plastic bags take up less than 4% of all landfill space (they're easily compressed), estimates on how long they take to decompose range from a hundred years to a thousand.
- From onearth, "It's not my bag, baby!" by L. J. Williamson

According to the Rural Advancement Foundation (now called ETC Group), 75 types of vegetables, or approximately 97% of the varieties available in 1900 are now extinct.
- From Fatal Harvest, Andrew Kimbrell, Editor


A properly prepared and maintained bed of 100 square feet can yield enough vegetables and soft fruit in a 4-6 month growing season to sustain one person.
- As estimate by John Jeavons in "Gardening for the Future of The Earth", a Seeds of Change Book


About 30 billion pounds of fertilizers are applied annually in U.S. agriculture.
- David Pimintel, Ph.D., Cornell University


Nearly half of earth's forests have been cleared for agriculture and development. Habitat destruction is a foremost threat to maintaining biodiversity on the planet.
- From The Future of Life, by Edward O. Wilson


Historically we have used 7,000 plant species for food. Today 20 species provide 90% of our diet.
- David Pimintell, Ph.D., Cornell University


In the year 2000 73% of the lettuce grown in the United States was from one variety: Iceberg. From 1903 to 1983 92.8% of lettuce varieties were lost.
- From Fatal Harvest, Andrew Kimbrell, Editor


The livestock population in the U.S. outweighs the U.S. human population by about 5 times.  They produces nearly 1.5 billion tons of manure for disposal each year.
- David Pimintel, Ph.D., Cornell University


To replace 1 inch of lost topsoil under agricultural conditions requires about 500 years. U.S. agriculture is losing topsoil 13 times faster than sustainability.
- David Pimintel, Ph.D., Cornell University


The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 300,000 farm workers suffer acute pesticide poisoning each year.
- From Fatal Harvest, Andrew Kimbrell, Editor


Over 440 species of insects and mites as well as 70 types of fungus have developed immunity to the specific pesticides used to kill them.
- From "Gardening for the Future of The Earth", a Seeds of Change Book


The Consumer's Union calculated that a person eating a 3.5 oz. serving of fresh U.S. grown spinach has as an 8.1% chance of ingesting residues of at least one pesticide at a level exceeding the federal government's "Safe Daily Dose".
- From Fatal Harvest, Andrew Kimbrell, Editor


Despite the use of over 1 billion pounds of pesticides applied in the U.S., about 37% of all potential crop production is destroyed by pests (insects, weeds, and diseases). Worldwide there are about 26 million human pesticide poisonings each year, with about 220,000 deaths. The total environmental costs of using pesticides is more than $9 billion each year.
- David Pimintel, Ph.D., Cornell University


Monsanto declared war on dairy companies that have chosen to ban the injection of their cows with Monsanto's genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Due to escalating consumer demand, an increasing number of large dairies around the U.S. have declared themselves rBGH-free in the last couple of years. Monsanto, the sole producer of the synthetic hormone, has seen substantial losses in sales as a result of this voluntary movement of the industry towards healthier milk. Although rBGH is banned in most industrialized nations, including Europe and Canada, due to its links to breast and colon cancer, the controversial drug remains legal in the U.S. Monsanto filed a formal complaint with the FDA and Federal Trade Commission, demanding that labeling of rBGH-free diary products be made illegal.




According to the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) analysis of data from over 43,000 tests on pesticides in conventional produce, over 90% of ingestion of pesticides in foods can be eliminated by avoiding the most contaminated foods. The "Dirty Dozen" most contaminated foods are peaches (97 percent tested positive for residue), apples (92 percent tested positive), sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. The "Consistently Clean" are onions (90 percent tested negative), avocados (90 percent), sweet corn (90 percent), pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papaya. "Federal produce tests tell us that some fruits and vegetables are so likely to be contaminated with pesticides that you should always buy them organic. Others are so consistently clean that you can eat them with less concern." Says EWG Senior Vice President Richard Wiles. Download your wallet-sized shopper's guide here:



  • Each year, the average American consumes 260 pounds of imported food.
  • 98.7% of foods imported into the U.S. are NOT inspected by the FDA for safety.
  • Of the scant 1.3% of imported foods the FDA tests, over 200 shipments of grains, fish, vegetables, nuts, spice, oils and other imported foods are detained each month for issues ranging from filth to unsafe food coloring to contamination with pesticides to salmonella. The other 98.7% of untested food is immediately green-lighted for the American diet.
  • The U.S. imports almost twice as much food today as it did just ten years ago, yet the FDA's budget for testing imports has been cut nearly in half since 2000.


Here are five quick tips for becoming a green shopper:

  1. Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. The use of conventional cleaners exposes your family and our environment to some very nasty toxic chemicals.
  2. If you buy only one or two organic items, make them milk and meat. Most conventional milk and meat are produced on factory farms that feed their animals massive amounts of pesticide and fossil-fuel intensive conventional corn, at the same time creating massive manure lagoons that contaminate local ground water.
  3. Be as conscious about the packaging as you are about the product. The production and disposal of packaging takes a heavy environmental toll. You can eliminate 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year by simply reducing your waste by 10%. While you're at it, bring your own shopping bags.
  4. Buy local and regional, or at least USA-grown, whenever possible, to reduce energy and pollution from long transportation. But of course some products are not produced in the US.. For overseas products, look for the organic and Fair Trade label.
  5. Buy in bulk. If you regularly buy a certain product, consider buying it in bulk. It usually has less packaging, is more affordable, and requires fewer trips to the store.



14741 Lawrence Lake Rd SE

Yelm, WA  98597


M-F 9-5, except W 9-6

Sat 10-5

Sun 10-4