Research Links Pesticide Known Harmful to Bees With Collapse of Fisheries

Truthout – Nov 2, 2019 – Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams

Researchers linked use of the chemicals on fields near a Japanese lake with major disruption to aquatic life.
Monty Rakusen via Getty Image

A new study out this week provides more evidence of harm caused by a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, with researchers linking use of the chemicals on a Japanese lake with impacts to an entire food web that resulted in the collapse of two fisheries

“No surprise,” tweeted former UK Green Party leader leader Natalie Bennett, “soaking our planet in pesticides has broad systemic effects on biodiversity and bioabundance.

For the study, published in the November 1 issue of the journal Science, the researchers looked at Lake Shinji and analyzed over two decades of data. They found cascading impacts that appeared to stem from the first use of neonicotinoids on nearby rice paddies.

“Since the application of neonicotinoids to agricultural fields began in the 1990s, zooplankton biomass has plummeted in a Japanese lake surrounded by these fields,” the researchers wrote. “This decline has led to shifts in food web structure and a collapse of two commercially harvested freshwater fish species.”

“Using data on zooplankton, water quality, and annual fishery yields of eel and smelt,” the paper says, “we show that neonicotinoid application to watersheds since 1993 coincided with an 83% decrease in average zooplankton biomass in spring, causing the smelt harvest to collapse from 240 to 22 tons in Lake Shinji, Shimane Prefecture, Japan.”

As for the strength of the link between the pesticides and the collapse, Phys.orgadded:

The researchers note that they also studied other factors that might have led to fishery collapse, such as nutrient depletion or changes in oxygen or salt concentrations. They report that they were not able to find any evidence showing that there might have been something other than pesticides killing the food fish ate leaving them to starve. They conclude that the evidence strongly suggests it was the introduction of neonicotinoid pesticides into the lake environment that led to the die-offs.

The Guardian, in its reporting on the study, noted that the researchers pointed to the haunting warning from Rachelel Carson’s seminal work, Silent Spring:

In their report, the Japanese researchers said: “She wrote: ‘These sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests and homes—nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad,’ to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams.’ The ecological and economic impact of neonicotinoids on the inland waters of Japan confirms Carson’s prophecy.”

Similar impacts, the researchers added, are likely felt in other locations.

“Just awful, what gruesome harm we are inflicting on the environment,” Matt Shardlow, CEO of the invertebrate conservation group Buglife, wrote on Twitter in response to the new study.

According to Nathan Donley, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity and who was not involved in the study, the findings should spur action by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“This study highlights cascading harms to aquatic life from neonicotinoids that our EPA has known about but shrugged off,” said Donley. “The evidence is now overwhelming that these pesticides are turning our rivers, lakes, and streams into inhospitable environments for fish, frogs, and other aquatic life.”

“This landmark new research should make it impossible for even the Trump administration to ignore the immense damage caused by these dangerous chemicals,” Donley added.

Neonicotinoids, or neonics as they’re often called, have also been linked to harm to bees, other insects, birds, and other animals.

SOURCE

What Happens When You Use Ash in the Garden? Video – 11 min

Self Sufficient Me – July 20, 2019 –

This video shows what happens when you use ash from a fire in the vegetable garden and around fruit trees.

Self Sufficient Me is based on our small 3-acre property/homestead in SE Queensland Australia about 45kms north of Brisbane – the climate is subtropical (similar to Florida). I started Self Sufficient Me in 2011 as a blog website project where I document and write about backyard food growing, self-sufficiency, and urban farming in general. I love sharing my foodie and DIY adventures online so come along with me and let’s get into it! Cheers, Mark 🙂

SOURCE

‘Food is medicine’ says Boston hospital that has built its own rooftop organic farm

Natural Products – Oct 27, 2019 – Michael Wale

A Boston hospital is growing 7,000 pounds of organic vegetables on its rooftop farm as part of its mission to show that food really is medicine, writes Michael Wale. 

David Maffeo, senior director of support services was one of the people behind the rooftop farm idea at Boston’s Medical Centre (BMC) in Massachusetts; It is known as a ‘safety-net’ hospital because it mainly serves lower income and elderly patients.

He says: “ I was sitting with my boss and we were talking about the Preventative Food Pantry, a scheme where we introduce poorer people to good food for free for a certain time. I said wouldn’t it be great to grow organic food for our own patients, as well as supplying The Pantry. All organic. No pesticides.”  

“I said wouldn’t it be great to grow organic food for our own patients, as well as supplying The Pantry. All organic. No pesticides”

The plan was agreed by the hospital’s Office of Development, and within just a year and a half the first crops were being sown – and soon afterwards harvested. That was 2017. That first year they produced 5,000 pounds (2,600 kilos) of produce. It has since increased to nearly 7000lb. 

The farm was designed and installed by roof top growing specialists in Boston-based green roof design specialist Recover.

Milk crate growing containers
The first challenge was the insufficient strength of the hospital’s existing roof to hold the amount of soil needed for a successful growing programme.

The cost to the rebuild the roof was put at $200,000. To fund this crucial part of the project, the hospital made successful approaches to a local philanthropist, so circumventing normal budgetary constraints. Once finished it provided 7,000 square feet of growing space. The next thing needed were containers in which to grow the food. It was decided that milk crates were the best – and most available for the job. Evens so, 2,400 of them were needed. Maffeo admits: “We lent on one of our partners to provide them!”

The hospital has done extensive work around sustainability. Research has shown that the life expectancy of the roof farm can be up to 40 years. Particular attention is given to reducing greenhouse gases. On the roof farm, each milk crate is watered through a hosepipe system that runs separately through a device into each crate. It is a strictly metered system that is designed stop functioning when it detects local rainfall. 

The hospital is ambitious about expanding the farm, which as well as producing healthy food crops, also places an important role in teaching media staff about food’s role as a medicine. It’s one of the first things students learn about on arrival. 

Changing attitudes to food
Maffeo explains the changing attitudes in America towards food and health: “Food has come a long way in the United States. I’ve worked in a hospital kitchen. Now I only buy fresh fish, locally caught. And I’ll only buy grain-free beef. These are all big changes in our attitude to food, and how it is grown. At the farm here, we grow 25 different types of vegetables and salad produce. Everything from tomatoes to carrots and peppers. There farm also makes honey from beehives, which yield around 150lbs of honey a year. 

Lindsey Allan

Lindsey Allan (pictured) is the farm manager, with the job of planting and organising the whole growing process. She went straight to work on a farm when she left High School, and found that she enjoyed it. She says that she has never had any interest in chemicals-based  farming, and had a background as a keen organic gardener.

Every farm she was involved in over the years was organic, and she is always acutely  aware of climate change. She admits to some initial scepticism about the concept of BMC’s too farm, particularly the because the milk crate containers would not allow development of  a normal root system. 

But she settled on compost based soil, as composting companies found that living soil was important. It was provided by Vermont Compost, which is organic approved. She explains: “We got all the soil up there, already in the milk crates. It took six hours, and we took it to the second floor in the freight lift, and then volunteers took it to the  roof site”.

Demonstrating how tech is is helping to make farming more sustainable, she points out that she controls the watering system from her phone or computer, allowing her switch irrigation on or off remotely. 

As for the actual growing of the food, she says: “Most things grow well. You want a continual harvest, things that are in the ground for as little time as possible – pak-choi would be a good example. I don’t do one time harvest crops, like broccoli, cabbage or potatoes. I have to think what I can get out of every square inch. Some crops work better than others. For example, we found that green beans were labour intensive for us and the kitchen. We grow what the chefs want and they are pretty flexible. We can only provide a small amount of the food they are serving. Salad stuff is the most popular, cherry tomatoes, radishes and so on”. 

World’s healthiest population ambition
She discusses crop choice and planning with the hospital dieticians, who have encouraged her to grow spinach and kale. She says that now that the farm is up and running, she would love another roof, and suggests this could happen in the coming years as everyone is so happy with the results so far.

Because the growing is confined to milk crates it is not surprising to hear that she uses the no till method adding: “You hands are your power tools. No till means using your hands more. Although she says that gardeners are useful to work with, it really does need a farmer to be in control, because you need a volume of production of food, and you have to set targets for this.

For David David Maffeo, BMC’s organic roof farm forms part of wider, bigger ambitions. These, he says, are nothing short of “making Boston the healthiest population in the world”. 

Article SOURCE

7 Reasons You Might Need More Vitamin D

Fitnessvolt.com – May 5, 2019 – Matthew Magnante

Vitamin D Health Benefits Facts

Vitamin D: Benefits & Facts

Vitamin D is crucial for good health and many important bodily functions…

But in a society where processed foods are the norm and being indoors has hidden us from the sun’s rays; it’s even more important to pay attention.

Vitamin D plays a huge role in bone growth, immune function, cell growth, and many other bodily processes. But, sometimes we experience symptoms that clearly reflect a deficiency and you must be aware of them to prevent long term, serious health issues. (12)

Now, Vitamin D is only available through limited foods like fatty fish (Salmon, sardines, mackerel), cheese, eggs, dark greens (Collard greens, spinach, kale) and beef liver. Sometimes it’s even added in certain foods like orange juice and milk.

But, most of the time getting it through food is not enough and we need supplements, plus sufficient time in the sun to maintain healthy levels. (23)

But, if you’re not sure whether or not you’re getting enough Vitamin D, we’ve listed 7 areas to be aware of when it comes to the potential need to correct a deficiency.

First, though, let’s quickly go over the importance of supplementation and sun rays…

Vitamin D3 Supplementation and Sunshine

To make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin D, follow the recommendation of a minimum 600 International Units (IU) per day if you’re 70 and under, or 800 IU if age 71 and older. (3)

But, this is a conservative number with recent recommendations being even high, at 1,000-2,000 IU per day. But it really depends on your geographic location (Since sunshine varies), current state of health, and current Vitamin D levels. (2)

Now, you can get Vitamin D through multivitamins and/or just Vitamin D supplements.

And/or you can get Vitamin D through plenty of sunshine and Ultraviolet-B rays (UVB). But there’s no one-size-fits-all for the time needed in the sun since it really depends on your skin tone and current Vitamin D levels. However, getting at least 15 minutes of sun rays per day should be appropriate for most people. (4)

But, you don’t want to stay in the sun too long as this can cause skin damage and possibly cancer.

Here are 6 signs of possible Vitamin D deficiency…

Read on at SOURCE (Fitness Volt)

Thailand to Ban Glyphosate and Other High-Profile Pesticides

Sustainable Pulse – Oct 23, 2019

Thailand edged closer Tuesday to banning glyphosate and two other controversial pesticides despite protests from farmers in a multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry aiming to be the “kitchen of the world”.

Source: AFP

Agriculture employs 40 percent of Thailand’s population and the Southeast Asian country is one of the world’s leading rice and sugar exporters.

It is also one of the biggest consumers of pesticides being banned or phased out in other parts of the globe because of links to a variety of illnesses.

Thailand’s National Hazardous Substances Committee voted to ban glyphosate and chemicals paraquat and chlorpyrifos, officials said.

“The ban will be effective on December 1,” committee chair Panuwat Triangjulsri, of the Ministry of Industry, told reporters.

Paraquat, a herbicide which the US Centers for Disease Control calls “highly poisonous”, has been banned in Europe since 2007.

Studies have linked the pesticide chlorpyrifos to developmental delays in children, while critics say the weedkiller glyphosate is a likely cause of cancer.

Glyphosate Box

Glyphosate Residue Free Certification for Food Brands – Click Here

Test Your Food and Water at Home for Glyphosate – Click Here

Test Your Hair for Glyphosate and other Pesticides – Click Here to Find Out Your Long-Term Exposure

Farming organisations and the chemical industry have lobbied for the continued use of glyphosate, sold under the trade name Roundup made by Bayer subsidiary Monsanto.

In the US there are more than 18,000 lawsuits with plaintiffs claiming glyphosate caused different kinds of cancer even though it is widely used in agriculture there.

The company has suffered several defeats in court that it plans to appeal against.

Austria became the first European Union member to forbid all glyphosate use in July, with restrictions also in force in the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands. France is phasing it out by 2023.

19 countries globally now ban glyphosate – find out who they are here

Vietnam banned all herbicides containing glyphosate soon after the Roundup cases in the US, but the decision was swiftly denounced by the US Secretary of Agriculture, who said it would impact global agricultural production.

Thailand’s health minister, who has argued the pesticides put lives at risk, praised Tuesday’s move as “heroic” on his Facebook page even as several dozen farmers protested — citing a rise in production costs.

“If we don’t have the chemicals to eradicate the weeds, we will have to use more labourers,” said Charat Narunchron of a farmers association in Chanthaburi province, who called the ban “unfair”.

Thailand’s Pesticide Alert Network — which has long advocated for the ban — thanked the government but said it needs to help farmers adjust to other methods.

SOURCE