I am going to answer my title question right out of the gate with an extremely loud and definitive YES!! People are starting to talk more about the importance of eating organically and maintaining an organic lawn at our houses because they are recognizing the detrimental effects that many pesticides and herbicides are having to us and our environments. But some people are still not convinced. Even if they are aware that they are not ideal, they turn their head because organic can be expensive or inconvenient and organic probably doesn’t matter… right? My opinion is… wrong! Organic matters.
Let’s talk about Glyphosate, commonly recognized in the weed killer product Round Up. This product is often applied to crops and research seems to show that the glyphosate is absorbed into the plants. It has a surfactant in it that allows it to penetrate the plant membrane. Glyphosate residue has been found in numerous foods, some of the highest concentrations in wheat, oats, chickpeas, corn, soy and strawberries. According to Chris Kresser of the California Center for Functional Medicine:
“Like other herbicide residues, as well as residues from pesticides, glyphosate and its metabolites can make their way into our soil, waterways, food made with treated crops, and meat and dairy from livestock that were fed those crops. Glyphosate even shows up in our urine.”
This chemical is clearly getting into our food system, our environment, our bodies, and the bodies of our children. That said, some of you might say, but who cares? A lot of stuff gets in our bodies… Well this is where the research is disheartening. Chris Kresser continues to explain that some Glyphosate effects are the following:
He goes on to explain how it “is a probably carcinogen, a gut microbiome disruptor, an enzyme disruptor, an endocrine disrutor, a mineral chelator, and and oxidative stressor.” The more I read about it, the more I began to realize that this was not something that I wanted in my body or in my family’s bodies. Many disorders that children are facing have been linking to glyphosate exposure. Autism and glyphosate seem to have quite a link as well as ADHD and glyphosate.
Dr Zach Bush, who supports sustainable, glyphosate free, farming, through his non-profit called Farmer’s Footprint has found correlations between the introduction of glyphosate to our environment and an increase in chronic disease. He is not only a practicing doctor but through his non-profit he supports farmers looking to transition and maintain regenerative farming methods. The support that he offers farmers not only seems to benefit the farmers through increased profit, improved harvests, and better health, he is also helping improve climate change by addressing our issue of excess carbon in our atmosphere. He says that “Regenerative agriculture focuses on rebuilding organic matter and living biodiversity in soil, which produces increasingly nutrient-dense food year after year — while rapidly sequestering excess atmospheric carbon underground to reverse climate change.” This is truly a win win situation in that it supports healthier soil, healthier plants, healthier people, and a healthier, sustainable environment. The use of glyphosate and other herbicides and pesticides erodes our soil and pollutes our waterways. This kills microbes and insects that keep our soil healthy and vibrant. As the soil organisms die off, so does the life of our soil leaving us with dry, dusty, depleted farmland.
So whether it is the lawsuits that I read about being filed against glyphosate’s mother company Monsanto, or the studies that show that when exposed to a commonly used pesticide, Atrazine, male frogs develop female parts, or the fact that it has been reported that if we continue on our current chemical farming trajectory we will only have about 60 years of harvests left... I am fully convinced to buy, eat, and support local, organic, sustainable food and living. I understand that this has a cost associated with it, but I think that the cost that pesticides and herbicides have to our health and our environments are way greater.
As the organization, Moms Across American, puts it “Avoiding GMOs and toxic pesticides has been reported to improve health in families across the country. By raising awareness about GMOs and chemical farming, we improve the health of our community, increase the prosperity of our country and support future generations.”
I hope that as consumers begin to request more organics, there will be an even greater shift to less chemical farming and more regenerative farming. This seems like a much better deal for the people and the planet.