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Greening the community, one edible garden at a time

Deep Roots Project aims to change the way people eat

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 11:58 AM

Original post: http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/7-24-2018/Greening-the-community,-one-edible-garden-at-a-time/

By Lacey Sikora
Contributing Reporter

In March, the Deep Roots Project was awarded a Big Idea Grant of $17,000 by the Entrepreneur Leaders in Philanthropy Fund, a giving group of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation. 

The award will fund Deep Roots' Lawns to Garden initiative, and as part of that initiative, Deep Roots is holding a contest that runs through Nov. 1 to give away 10 edible gardens, along with two years of maintenance, free workshops and a gardening coach.

Community supports Deep Roots Project at Trailside Ribbon-Cutting Event

Community comes together at ribbon-cutting program to provide Inspiration for more than just food!

When the Deep Roots Project cut the ribbon on their first Inspiration Edible Garden Bed awarded to the Trailside museum on Sunday 7/29/18, the program was more than just about growing food, it was about connecting communities and working together to make a culture shift.

With lovely weather and a reason to celebrate, over 50 people gathered in the beautiful Nature and Play area at Trailside Museum to hear about local opportunities, eat delicious fruits and vegetables, sing and celebrate the sustainable idea of growing edible plants on your front lawn instead of grass!

Bayer Has Just Purchased Monsanto

Bayer Has Just Purchased Monsanto

Bayer has just purchased Monsanto for 62.5 billion dollars, cementing one of the most unholy business marriages of all time. The two companies are equally yoked with a history of evil and self-serving business practices are concerned, and it’s important for the public to know what this massive business merger means.

The Bride

Monsanto is the company that is responsible for creating and marketing products like genetically modified BT corn (corn plants with built-in pesticide genes spliced into their DNA) and “Round-up ready” GMOs—plants that are engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup so that fields can be saturated with chemicals that kill weeds, but not the modified crops. Rather than increase crop yields as promised, GMOs have increased the use of herbicides and caused an alarming outbreak of herbicide-resistant “superweeds”.

DOZENS of Food Crops Treated with Pre-Harvest Roundup (it’s not just wheat!)

DOZENS of Food Crops Treated with Pre-Harvest Roundup (it’s not just wheat!)

Originally posted by The Healthy Home Economist

Pre-harvest application of herbicides as a (toxic) drying agent on wheat is an established practice on many conventional farms. The method was first suggested as early as 1980, becoming routine in North America over the past 15 years or so. Use is also widespread in the UK.

Applying herbicides like Roundup 7-10 days before harvest is viewed as especially helpful for wheat that ripens unevenly, a common occurrence. It is also considered a helpful tool to initiate an earlier harvest when weather conditions threaten plant viability. Other benefits are earlier ripening for earlier replanting and reducing the green material in the field. This puts less strain on farm machinery during harvest.

Farmers euphemistically call the practice “desiccation”. When used during wheat harvest, it can result in slightly greater yield by triggering plants to release more seeds.

The result? Most non-organic wheat in North America is now contaminated with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and similar herbicides.

WHO: Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen

A March 2015 report by the World Health Organization identified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Several EU countries have banned it as a result with more in the works. However, in North America, glyphosate use shockingly continues to remain a popular farming tool.

And, as it turns out, use of Roundup as a drying agent on wheat prior to harvest is just the tip of the iceberg. Dozens of other food crops are subjected to glyphosate dousing prior to harvest as well.

ROUNDUP INGREDIENT DETERMINED CARCINOGENIC

Looking over at your neighbor’s spotless lawn, its understandable to envy the lawn’s crisp finish. Your own lawn has a couple yellow weeds swaying in the wind, as if to mock you with their presence. A spray of weed killer should do the trick. However, before you reach over for that bottle of Roundup, consider the dangers in its ingredient list.

Glyphosate is a herbicide that inhibits the growth of plants first introduced in 1974. It is the main active ingredient of the popular weed killer, Roundup, owned by the company Monsanto. According to research done by the Department of Agriculture, in 2014, 240 million pounds of glyphosate were sprayed in the U.S. mostly in farms and homes. Labels on Roundup products have safety precautions warning users to avoid digestion, and eye and skin contact. However, the label fails to mention a troubling concern from the scientific community which has resulted in long drawn-out lawsuit.

Recently, California scientists concluded glyphosate as a cancer risk. In 2015, after reviewing several human cancer studies, International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization designated glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic”.  Based off this verdict, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment wants to add glyphosate onto its long list of chemicals known to cause cancer. There is also concern about how much glyphosate we’re ingesting. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that American adults could be ingesting more than 5 milligrams of glyphosate every day. However, data on how much glyphosate resides in food is limited due to federal agencies not being mandated to test levels in food and water. The chemical has also been found in the urine of adults and children through biomonitoring studies.

Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency allows for 2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight in adults, which is 127 times greater than what California proposes.

Monsanto is currently trying to appeal this action. Adding glyphosate onto the list would negatively affect Monsanto as they would then be required to place a cancer warning label on all its Roundup products. In 2015, Monsanto made $4.76 billion in sales from herbicides, mostly from Roundup. The bulk of their revenue stems from seed sales and licensing genetic traits.

Monsanto is no stranger to attempting to obscure the nature of its products. Per the New York Times, revelatory documents recently came to light during the ongoing Monsanto trial. The documents revealed that Monsanto could have been aware of the alleged cancerous effects of glyphosate and attempted to influence scientific research and media coverage on the subject. This included Monsanto helping draft an article published in Forbes that countered the WHO's "probably carcinogenic" findings. Forbes has cut contact with the writer as of the discovery of his connection with Monsanto. 

This is reminiscent to the time when smoking was a cultural norm and no second thoughts were given to the health risks associated with cigarettes. It wasn’t until the 1950s when research emerged linking tobacco to causing cancer. Tobacco companies responded by placing doubt on the scientific community and reassuring the public of the safety of their products. They did this by hiring industry scientists, publishing their own research, and running advertisements with doctor endorsements. Nonetheless, the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 required all cigarette products sold in the U.S. to have the warning, “CAUTION: CIGARETTE SMOKING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH”.  As years have passed, different legislative actions have required companies to become more detailed in their warning labels, such as detailing cancer and pregnancy risks associated with smoking cigarettes. Nowadays, tobacco products aren’t illegal; people can still choose to use them but with the carcinogenic risk in mind.

The same cultural awareness that occurred with tobacco products could happen with herbicide products if they were also required to include a carcinogenic warning label. Although Monsanto might receive an economic blow from this action, it is a necessary one. Monsanto could focus on making revenue elsewhere such as with seed sales. This would effectively knock down one of the biggest distributors of glyphosate and give Americans a chance to begin a healthier approach to their lawn care. Oftentimes, we become so accustomed to using mainstream products that we forget to question its safety. We are reassured by the thought that if the product did cause harm, surely it would be off the market. However, the general public should be aware by now that isn't always true.  People should start questioning what they’re applying to their lawns, not only protecting their health but also teaching a younger generation to be more cautious.