The Dead Paddocks

They're back. The dead paddocks. Only a few weeks ago they where still green. Lush and green. Now they're turning grey, they're dying off. We see them dotted around the country when we drive to town. It's hard not to notice them.

It's not from natural causes. It's not a result of some rare agricultural disease, nor has it anything to do with severe weather. No, these paddocks, the very paddocks from farms surrounding our home have been turned grey because somebody chose to make it that way. It's another example of human intervention, of meddling with nature, trying to get better yields, trying to make more money.

It's the annual spring preparation by farmers to prepare paddocks for growing summer crops. So how do the paddocks turn grey? They're boom spayed with a broad spectrum herbicide, the active constituent is Glyphosate (aka Roundup). It's a non selective herbicide that's used to kill all the 'weeds' so the oncoming crop has little or no competition (and thus the yield is improved). So popular is the chemical that companies now sell, 'round-up ready' crops which are genetically modified seeds that are not susceptible to the effects of glyphosate. Mmmmm tasty GM.

There is mixed science about the toxicity of glyphosate. Some people say it's so safe you can eat it. For those that have attempted to test this theory they have subsequently died from toxic poisoning, so I'm not rushing to pour it on my cornflakes. Well I don't actually eat cornflakes, or any breakfast cereal for that matter. Do you know what's in that stuff?

I just wanted to share this with you because the food you buy at the supermarket or at the take away drive through most likely doesn't have a warning on it stating that synthetic chemicals where used in the production of this 'food'. See no food company has to legally tell you that the food is certified 'non-organic'. It's only the other way around. So everything that you eat that isn't certified organic most likely has been treated with either a pesticide, herbicide or agricultural antibiotic.

(NB: There are some great producers out there that don't use chemicals but also don't believe in the 'pay to be certified organic' arrangement.....so keep that in mind, and please don't write to me telling me your issues with organics or non-organis, I'm simply not interested in the conversation. We can talk about fishing instead.

My parents eat this food. My neighbours eat this food. The townsfolk eat this food. Most of 'us' eat this food. Most of us are also getting sick. We now have an unending list of modern medical aliments from alzheimer's to IBS, asthma to hyper tension. We're more sick than we were pre-war, before food started to be produced in this manner.

I'm sharing this because I want people, I want anyone out there to think not just about this dead paddocks story, but to be mindful of all the other chemicals that are added to crops that eventually make our food. Think about the chemicals added to food during processing, added to food to extend it's shelf life. I'd love to see more people hungry to know how our food is made and what it's doing to our health.

This is one of the big reasons why I changed my life. My personal health was in tatters and I was concerned about the future health of my daughters. I'm not saying what I'm doing is perfect, hell I ate a burger last week (I WAS IN AMERICA!!!). I'm just saying it's something we all should be aware of. For my everyday food, I'm glad the majority of it comes from my garden and it's no longer coming from the dead paddocks.

NB: When I lived in a city house I grew vegetables just like this. I also worked six days a week. Growing food is really easy. Too easy. Anything is possible, if you want it bad enough.

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Peasant Beans on home made sourdough. A meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Home grown almost all the way. Scarlet Runner Beans, Home made Passata, Onion, Garlic, Carrots, Kale, jalapeño, Parsley and home cured prosciutto. Home made sourdough made from Powlett Hill Rye and whole wheat. Side of Harrisa made from, yep you guessed it, home grown Jalapeño and garlic.

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