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Your Food Chain

Vege Garden Last weeks article on pure sulphur derived from plants (methylsulfonylmethane or MSM) appeared to create a lot of interest as I received a lot of emails and phone calls in regards to it.

Many of the callers where gardeners in my own age group or a bit older and most commented on how the nutritional value of our food chain has dropped in the last 50 or so years.

They can remember their parents and their own early gardens being only fertilised with blood & bone along with animal or chook manures and how great the gardens were.

Chemicals whether they were fertilisers or sprays were never used (or needed) and the general health of New Zealanders was far better off than it is today. It is all common sense really.

The recent case of the chemical aspartame in diet chewing gum is only the tip of the chemical poison iceberg. The food industry has so much money tied up in using this chemical in your food (about 5000 products in the supermarket use or have it) that they will resist any attempt to have it banned.

I had to smile at the chewing gum spokes person that stated that aspartame is the most tested food additive in history. If it was so safe, why did it have to be tested so many times by institutions that were in the pay of the manufacturers or companies that use it?

The most recent independently financed study in Italy shows a definite link between aspartame and cancer in rats. Monsanto (the producer of aspartame) could have a good use for the chemical, as a rat poison. If a chemical has health effects on rats then it has also health problems for us.

Our health is very dependant on what we eat and if we are buying food stuffs from the supermarket which are laced with various chemicals, many of which from studies overseas have proved to be harmful to our health, and if we do not have any really good, nutritional high, chemical free food, we have health problems either short or long term…

If we want better health, we have to grow at least some of our own home grown vegetables and fruit without using any chemicals. This is easy even if you do not have much in the way of garden space for growing healthy vegetables in. Containers and especially polystrene boxes with a depth of 180mm or more are ideal to grow in. Bung a few holes in the base for drainage and fill the tray to near full with any good compost available from a centre. Mix into the compost a couple of handfuls of clean top soil (chemical free if possible) or even better a similar amount of worm casts. The reason for adding either the clean soil or worm casts is to introduce all the microbes that naturally live in the soil to aid the health of your plants. These microbes, of which there can be up to 500,000 in the space of a full stop at the end of this sentence, will aid in the breakdown of the organic matter converting it to inorganic food for your crops.

If you are not sure if the soil you are going to add to the compost is clean of chemicals and full of soil life, then look for a spot in the garden where there are plenty of worms. Worms are a good indicator of healthy soil and you can also add a number of the worms you find, to the compost mix where they will do a lot of great work keeping the mix open and creating nitrogen for your plants.

To ensure that the produce you grow has the maximum amount of goodness (nutritional value) you simply incorporate a little Ocean Solids and Simalith Rock dust into the medium and spray the plants with Magic Botanic liquid once or twice a month. These products supply all the extra elements that plants need for their health and yours. You can grow a great range of vegetables in these trays such as lettuce, brassicas, (miniatures) carrots, onions, beetroot, silverbeet, spinach etc.

If you wish to take improving your health to a higher level then also grow and juice wheat grass with the added minerals.

I received an interesting news letter this week about what is happening with corn in the USA.

…The USA has over a number of years gone crazy, growing masses of corn/maize, so much so that it costs the farmers more to harvest a bushel of corn, than the price they receive for the same bushel, and if it was not for the Government’s subsidies they would have gone broke a long time ago.

Except for organic corn grown, all the corn is grown with agri-chemicals and fertilisers and is a mix of GE corn as well as conventional. The food industry latched onto this cheap source of food and have played with corn to such an extent that a large percentage of all food stuffs in a supermarket has some percentage of corn in its manufacture. Cheap corn has kept the price of a lot of manufactured food at a reasonable price. This is all changing as the corn is now being converted to ethanol to run automobiles on. The American corn growers are happy about this and many are gearing up to increase the amount of corn planted each year. The news letter pointed out the following facts: In the past 12 months, the global corn price has doubled.

Because corn is the most common animal feed, this affects the price of milk, cheese, eggs, meat, as well as corn-based sweeteners and cereals. In the U.S., milk prices have nearly doubled. Butter prices in Europe have spiked by 40%. Pork prices in China are up 20%.

In Mexico there have been riots in response to a 60% rise in the cost of tortillas.

In six of the past seven years, global grain consumption has exceeded production. As a result world grain reserves have dwindled to 57 days. This is the lowest level of grain reserves in 34 years.

While the UN lists 34 countries as needing food aid. Quote of the week is; "The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world’s 2 billion poorest people."
The grain required to fill a 25 gallon gas tank with ethanol would feed one person for a year.

Next year, 30% of U.S. corn will be used for ethanol. Instead, the same amount of fuel could be saved by increasing average fuel efficiency by just three miles per gallon. (End of email)….

Some commentators have worked out that the amount of fossil fuel used to grow/transport/convert a bushel of corn, is greater than the amount of ethanol that can be obtained from the bushel.

The fossil fuels are used in transporting, harvesting, cultivating, sowing, spraying, manufacture of the agri-fertilisers and chemicals along with the energy require in the conversion. If this is the case the whole exercise seems very pointless.

I read that China has declined using grain crops to produce ethanol as the increased cost of food for their millions of people would create not only expensive foods but would lead to famines.

We in New Zealand are effected by what happens overseas and a good portion of our supermarket food chain is also obtained or has a corn base which means our cost of living will increase.

Another good reason to grow as much of your own food as possible and to purchase locally grown food whenever you can.

As the Chinese say; ‘Interesting Times.’

Now is the time to sow indoors hardy vegetable seeds for planting out in early spring.

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