Gardening makes you an activist. Really. The simple act of planting seeds and caring for your plants as they grow, harvesting the fruit of your labor, and then preparing it for your family is an act of independence. Gardening is an act of independence from big business that cares more about profits than it does about our soil, our health, and the welfare of the plants and animals that feed us.
The more I learn about our food supply, the more I embrace being a rebel! Our meals taste better and cost less, and they are not burdened with the herbicides and pesticides that supermarket produce often contains. But realistically, I cannot grow everything that my family eats. And most of us cannot afford to buy everything we eat organically. So, how does one decide what to grow and/or what to buy organic? These decisions can really affect the health and welfare of those we love.
Let’s consider the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen is a list produced by the Environmental Working Group and the USDA. It identifies the fruits and vegetables that are most susceptible to absorbing chemicals that they are treated with. For example, a single serving of celery can contain the residues of up to 67 pesticides! On the one hand, I am glad that this list of foods is available to the public. On the other, the list breaks my heart, because it contains so many of the fruits and vegetables that children love. Fruits and vegetables that parents lovingly buy with the best intentions. Recent studies show a clear correlation between the pesticides in produce and the evergrowing numbers of children and families dealing with the devastating consequences of ADHD, along with a host of other health issues.
Studies show that if families buy or grow the 12 foods on the Dirty Dozen list organically, they can avoid about 80% of the pesticides that are the most dangerous! Please don’t trust me on this–read the report published by the Environmental Working Group and the USDA. Parents might also be interested in this report that discusses the relationship between pesticides and ADHD.
Can there be a better reason to avoid fruits and vegetables that are laden with chemicals? NO! What to do? Save some money somewhere in your budget and try to buy the the Dirty Dozen organically, or even better, grow some of these fruits and vegetables in your own backyard. Many of the fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are pretty easy to grow–without pesticides. Be an activist, and refuse to purchase foods that are literally unsafe and unhealthy to eat. Grow your own food and live better!