Why We Care About Glyphosate, and What We Are Doing About It (BIG NEWS!)
Hey friends and local food eaters,
We've been sharing our concerns about glyphosate in the food supply, and hope that you've found the time to give our previous emails a read.
To recap: we are concerned that there has not been sufficient testing of glyphosate and GMO food/feed to ensure that they do not cause longterm negative health effects. There is a growing body of scientific evidence linking glyphosate/GMO foods to a host of potential health risks.
We see that you all are already committed to healthier eating habits - you likely shop mostly the "peripheries" of the grocery store, avoiding highly processed and junk foods (which is where most GMO corn and soy and their derivatives end up as ingredients).The slightly more hidden sources of GMO corn and soy are in animal products: meat and milk. In a study of Canadian pregnant women, 93% of women and 80% of fetuses were found to have traces of Bt toxin in their blood. It is probable that the most likely source of the Bt toxin for people is the milk and meat of animals fed Bt corn. There are some who hypothesize that the Bt toxin may even be transferred to the DNA of our gut bacteria, so that it is being produced in our intestines and directly contributing to intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut).
How You can Avoid GMOs and Glyphosate
So, if you think this is worth avoiding, here are our recommendations.
First and foremost, avoid GMO and glyphosate foods. The appropriate steps according to the Institute for Responsible Technology are: 1. buy Organic, 2. buy nonGMO (not always labelled), 3. Avoid the following non-organic GMO ingredients, their derivatives, and foods from animals that have been eating them:
Corn (exception: popcorn is not yet GMO and doesn't cross pollinate!)
Sugar from sugar beets
Zucchini, yellow squash
Papaya from China or Hawaii
Milk, meat, eggs from animals fed GMOs
Remember, current labelling laws do not require GMO ingredients or products to be labelled as such. Although there are groups who are fighting for better labelling, we don't see it happening any day soon. With corn and soybeans especially, well over 90% grown in the U.S. is GMO.
Secondly, familiarize yourself with which products and crops (often non-organic wheat and oats) are high in residual glyphosate, mainly due to pre-harvest spraying, according to food testing done in 2016.
Third, improve your digestion. Since most of our immune system is in our gut, and the intestinal barrier that controls permeability in our gut is so thin, it is practical to take steps to optimize its integrity. That way we can actually absorb all the nutrients in our food properly, as well as keep potentially harmful components of our food from entering our blood stream, where they cause allergies, immune system, and neurological issues. Treating 'leaky gut', or compromised permeability of this part of our intestines, is not just for when you have digestive ailments. Prevention of leaky gut and maintenance of our digestive health is an ongoing and continuous process. Tip: bone broth aka stock from pasture-raised animals, full of minerals, amino acids, and gelatin is one of the top natural treatments for leaky gut and digestive health maintenance.
How We are avoiding GMOs and Glyphosate
We are not living in fear about this; we just choose to not put any of our support or money towards GMO/glyphosate/biotech ag. To that end, yes, we personally avoid eating those foods.
More importantly, as livestock growers, North Mountain Pastures does not feed GMO grains to our animals. We are a very small farm, but we still buy in tons and tons of grain for our chickens and pigs (about 3 tons a week - they are on pasture and eat grass and all kinds of plants, but they need supplemental feed). We make sure that this grain is nonGMO and, particularly, grown in cover cropping systems that build organic matter and encourage healthier plants.
The cool thing about this is that when we made sure that our grain supply was nonGMO back in 2010, we were able to do this by convincing a local conventional farmer to transition to growing nonGMO feed for us. He grows cover crops, and rolls them down with his roller crimper that he made in his welding shop, and then no-till drills in nonGMO corn and soybeans.
We are proud of the fact that we work together with him and other local farmers to transition away from chemical agriculture to much more sustainable practices and healthier products.
What You and I are Doing Together about GMOs and Glyphosate
known for some timeBig ag data shows that this is what GM crops aim to doOur scientific community has , that they are even a step in the right direction. We agree that there are far more toxic chemicals that have been used in agriculture in the past, as well as ubiquitously in our modern world. We also agree that reducing tillage is a beneficial move towards soil preservation. But not if it includes seeds and products that have potential long term health risks. that agricultural chemicals volatilize and persist in the environment, causing detrimental effects downstream in water and the food chain. Therefore it is best to minimize their use, use chemicals with less environmental impact, and choose seeds that require less chemical inputs.
Nonetheless - we can do better. Organic crop farming and research have proven that we DON'T need chemicals or GMOs to produce effective agricultural yields. It has been shown that organic and minimal tillage agriculture improve soil structure, drought tolerance, and that pest and weed control are totally possible with natural practices, without chemicals and without changing the genetic makeup of the crops.
On that note,... (DRUM ROLL PLEASE)...
North Mountain Pastures is in the early phase of becoming USDA certified Organic, which means that we would be ensuring the highest level of purity of foods grown on our farm by a federal inspection agency. We would thereby also be helping our local nonGMO crop farmers to transition to getting certified organic for their grains and bedding (straw). Currently, we already farm up to or beyond these standards anyway, but the organic certification would allow us to work with these farmers to ensure that they never use glyphosate on their farms. It will also provide a label that gives customers extra peace of mind in understanding how their food is grown.
Friends - I always talk about "changing our food system". What I'm talking about is changing the food system from the ground up and all the way: from the farming of the soil and the crops to the consumer end of eating the food. I agree with Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology when he says that the reversal of these negative trends in agriculture/nutrition will happen NOT from policy changes, not from government, not from the medical establishment, but from consumer demand. Companies are motivated by their bottom line interests to respond to what consumers want. And there is a growing trend towards organic and nonGMO buyers, because we feel better when we eat better. When you buy an organic or nonGMO product, you are using your choices to heal yourself and your family AND influence the direction of the whole situation. It seems like a small, slow way of creating change, but we believe that that is the only way that positive changes will come about.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
What do YOU think?
At the end of the day, we need to stay calm and think for ourselves.
Would you mind sharing why you support local organic food? Why is it important for YOU to eat nonGMO (if it is), or avoid chemicals?
If you have a minute, reply to this email with what YOU think. Are GMOs/glyphosate totally safe, or best avoided? Would having a USDA Organic sticker on North Mountain Pastures meats make a difference to you?
Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting local foods!
Genetically Engineered Crops, Glyphosate, and the Deterioration of Health in the U.S. - full peer reviewed article
Brooks Miller and Anna Santini