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Why We Should Garden and Live Sustainably Like Grandma

                          

 From a talk by Dr. Linda Geronilla

To compare how we live differently than in the past: Where Grandma grew her own fruits and vegetables, saved seeds and canned food, we grow lawns and flowers.  Grandma watered from a rain barrel and we use florinated city water.  Grandma made a compost pile and used animal manure, we have trash picked up, use chemical fertilizer and pesticides.

In 1909 the German chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch synthesized nitrogen from air to make ammonia, threw some on the ground and saw that the lawn turned greener.  The second half of the 20th century saw the Green Revolution.  The US applies 11 million tons of nitrogen fertilizers (3 times what is needed).  The result of runoff into water is algae blooms and dead zones.  There are more than 7 tons of plastic on our harbor bottom. The threats are to fish and wildlife, to the climate by Nitrogen Oxide, to less healthy soil with natural organisms, and to humans; with omega-3s declining in food, there is more cancer, Azlthimers, and ADD. 

Synthetic nutrients enable all plants to thrive but are really depleting other nutrients which will kill everything.  The USDA is preaching sustainable agriculture and everyone should live by the concern for 7 Generations in the future.  Are we will to stop using chemicals and use new methods?  Ask you yard service to switch to organic products, compost by using a bin or tumbler, use a rain barrel or a marine filter on your water source to remove Chloramine.  Use hardwood chips, which provide great fungi for trees and bushes.  Use pinestraw or rocks 6 feet from the house to prevent insects.  Switch irrigation systems to drip rather than spray.  Learn the food web: use diatomaceous earth to be rid of pests.  Grow your own fruits, nuts, vegetables on raised beds or pots, using nets or fishing line to discourage deer. 

70% of our foods are GMOs and are not labeled.  A good source for education is Genetic Roulette the movie.  We should eat only grass fed meat.  Antibiotics in food kill natural bacteria.  Aluminum is in anitperspirants and 95% of makeup such as lipstick.  The average female is exposed to over 50 toxic chemicals a day.  Longevity in the US is dropping, now it is about 78; for the first time the next generation is not expected to live longer.  We are exposed more than older people.  The hidden cost of industrialization is that 1 in 6 couples are infertile, sperm count has dropped.  Some say that in 50-60 years males will be infertile.  Vast amounts of wildlife are lost each year. 

We need to maintain the natural resource base, encouraging diversity not monoculture, focusing on the right microbes in soil for the food chain: bacteria, fungi, nematodes, protozoa, arthropods, animals, bees and birds. We should help the earth recover from disturbances caused by cultivation and harvest by not tilling and not using city water as is has Chloramine that kills beneficial bacteria.   We should limit fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, adding missing microbes from compost or compost tea.  We should manage pests and disease naturally through internally regulating mechanisms.  Dr. Geronilla recommends several books such as Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfell.  There are guides for organic body care, for natural ways to clean the home, etc.  which should be researched.  We need to live more like Grandma did.