Pesticides can be damaging to children’s learning ability


According to a study of 1.6 million children in grades 3 through 10 conducted at the Indiana University School of Medicine, children conceived during the summer months – when farmers applied nitrates and pesticides – had lower scores on math and English tests than those conceived in winter months. Dr. Paul Winchester, who presented the study results to the Pediatric Academic Society in May 2007, said the results may indicate that synthetic chemicals in the atmosphere during conception affect the developing fetal brain. 


Developmental and mental damage documented


Dr. Elizabeth Guillette, professor of anthropology at the University of Florida, has conducted a long-term study of children in two neighboring farming communities in the Yaqui Valley of Mexico. The mountainside community practices traditional farming without the use of agricultural chemicals, while nearby valley farmers introduced conventional farming methods into their practices in the 1960s. Although all of the children appear to be normal in looks and behavior, the parents of the valley children expressed concern about possible deficits in development.


Guillette compared the children from both communities over the years, testing their developmental physical and mental capabilities in a variety of ways. She has found significant reduction in both mental and physical development in the children exposed to farm chemicals. “This has huge consequences in terms of education, care, and medical needs,” said Guillette. “It’s been projected that if IQ decreases just five points across a community, you lose roughly two-thirds of your geniuses and increase the number of children who are mentally retarded by two-thirds. It’s the children of today who are going to be responsible for our communities, nation, and world tomorrow. If we lose them, what are we going to do?”


Benefits of switching to organics


A study conducted at the University of Washington in 2006 found that children whose urine tested positive for pesticide contamination showed a dramatic reduction in pesticide levels after just two weeks of being fed an organic diet instead of their traditional conventional diet.


Study on increased flavonoids in organic vegetables: In 2007, scientists at the University of California (Davis) reported that the soil quality of long-term organic gardening more than doubled the content of beneficial flavonoids in organic tomatoes. Flavonoids are the phytochemicals responsible for anti-cancer and anti-oxidant benefits of tomatoes and other vegetables. The flavonoid levels increased with each year of organic management.






Organic Gardening magazine offers a simple method for creating your own compost. Put several shovelfuls of leaves and about half as much grass clippings into a plastic trash bag. Add a couple of shovelfuls of soil and moisten thoroughly with water. Poke a few holes in the sealed bag to allow oxygen in. Sprinkle with water periodically to keep it from drying out, and toss the bag around to mix up the blend from time to time. It should take approximately two to three months to convert the yard waste into a rich compost to add to your topsoil.


If you want a faster natural fertilizer for your garden, Paul Tukey, founder of SafeLawns.org, suggests using compost to create a nutrient-rich “tea” that can be applied to your garden like a liquid fertilizer. Put compost into a cloth bag, then submerge the bag in a bucket of fresh water for about a week, stirring and squeezing the bag every day or so. The resulting liquid serves as a fast-acting and easily applied fertilizer for your garden.


 Find tips on companion planting from Organic Gardening.





Grilling brings out the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, and you can add flavor with your garden herbs. Select any of your favorite vegetables, including yellow squash or zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, or others.
Mix your favorite organic garden herbs, such as thyme, oregano, basil, and sage together with:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
Stir to coat, then grill or roast vegetables at about 350 degrees until browned - about 45 minutes to an hour.




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