Category Archives: Roundup

Pesticides in supermarket salad wash water

In the week that the UK parliament voted against laws to maintain our food safety standards it appears that water used to wash salad crops imported from the US and Europe contains neonicotinoids. How do we know? Because it is polluting the rivers it is dumped into!

(Click image to go to the Guardian article.)

People cross a bridge over the River Itchen in Hampshire. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

What is so disturbing is that the companies supplying supermarkets would do this. I know the answers, money, profits, keeping the shareholders happy bolstered by high levels of cynicism and indifference to the effects they are having and health and the environment.

What can we do? Make this as public as possible, ask questions, write to you MP, write to the supermarket you use. And the ultimate solution, bypass the whole production/supermarket process and grow you own salad leaves and watercress, see hope easy it is HERE.

If you want to know how to grow organically without using pesticides, make compost and get large amounts of food from small spaces see our online workshops which start on 22 October 2020

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Round up the weeds

The use of weed killers has become normalised in everyday life. They are available on supermarket shelves ready to drop into your trolley when you do the weekly shop. it is becoming a major problem in agriculture and gardening; the reliance on a quick fix without any real understanding of the consequences.

Weed killer neatly stacked on a supermarket shelf next to food!

It is claimed that glyphosate weed killers are neutralised when they hit the soil but there is of evidence to prove otherwise. There is a research to shows that it can persist in soil and that it damages vital soil organisms.

The other misunderstanding is in the way that it is used. Glyphosate is a contact herbicide meaning that it has to fall on the fall the plant to kill it. Spraying it on, say the cracking in paving slabs will not prevent weeds from growing.

If the ground is has lots of weeds it will kill them but soil contains thousands of seeds waiting for the right conditions to germinate. So there is an endless cycle of killing top growth, seeds germination, more weed killer applied and so on. That’s good for sales but bad for the soil.

We need to change our attitude to keeping everything neat and tidy all the time. Pull weeds out by hand, use a hand weeder, try an oscillating Swiss hoe in the garden and compost the weeds!

Our Lawns Are Killing Us

The amount of chemicals used on lawns is staggering. In the US it can be nearly four times that used on agricultural land. The only reason is to make lawns look nice. Visual appearance is the key factor!

There are no figures for the UK, but it is likely that they are very similar. The British are obsessed with lawns and spend millions every year to get the right effect. The typical front garden is still a lawn with flower borders.

Grass grows and lawns need to be mowed, usually every weekend. The first signs of spring used to be marked by the appearance of migratory birds but now it is the song the lawn mower and the strimmer that heralds the new season.

It takes a lot of work to keep the grass looking pristine. That includes the application of chemicals including selective weed killers, insecticides to kill unwanted bugs and fungicides. They may be combined into one product under the ‘weed and feed’ banner. You can also add cats and dog repellents to avoid unwanted dead patches of grass.

Are Lawn chemicals toxic?
There is evidence to show that garden pesticides are dangerous especially to children. In the US many homeowners have lawn care packages which includes mowing, strimming and the applications of chemicals. In some areas local bylaws (ordinances) insist that front garden (yards) look pristine all the time.

Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, (See the PDF here) 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. Of those same pesticides, 17 are detected in groundwater, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds.

A study in the US used markers were added to common lawn treatments to track where it went. Scans of the homes of participants found chemical residues on door handles, floors and carpets. What was even more concerning they found the markers in the stomachs of children who had played on the lawns.

While the results are shocking, they are hardly surprising. If you spread pesticides on your lawn and then walk, sit, or play on them residues will be transferred.

Lawn pesticide fact sheet

The big questions are why does the visual appearance of a patch of grass outweigh the health effects of using chemicals? And, why is there such a strong desire to conform to an antiquated definition of a nice garden? It is rooted in a post war return to decorative gardens after using them to grow food. That created the huge garden centre and garden products industry that we now have.

“Ornamental horticulture and landscaping in the UK made an estimated £24.2billioncontribution to national GDP in 2017. 

Around 568,700 jobs across the country are supported by ornamental horticulture and landscaping, equivalent to 1 in every 62 jobs!

Market information – garden statistics

There is a move to grow food in front gardens. In some US cities the rules have been relaxed and people are growing veg ‘out font’.

In the UK there is generally nothing to stop homeowners growing whatever they want except the usual quiet disapproval of neighbours but it takes a certain amount of guts to ‘rock the boat’ and stand out as being different.

Growing food in small metre square beds

The other alternative is to grow wildflowers. They can be sown in irregular swathes across the lawn or replace all the grass. The big advantages are no more mowing, strimming and no need for weed killers and other toxic chemicals!


More French cities to become pesticide free

It is good to see that France gets it! While in the UK we face the real possibility of even more pesticides in and on food to satisfy the US.

“In France, many local authorities have banned the use of pesticides near residential areas, including Parisian and Dijon. This is a precautionary measures, and as of this month, Paris, Lille, Nantes, Grenoble, and Clermont-Ferrand jointly announced that these areas would become pesticide-free. The increasing number of anti-pesticide orders being implemented in common housing areas is …” Continue reading

Glyphosate/Roundup Decimates Microbes in Soils and the Human Gut

There has been lots of research over the years that showed that glyphosate does not break down on contact with soil, as was claimed. It now looks as if it also damages soil and the human gut.

The latest study was carried out by a team led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen. The researchers suggest that glyphosate use could be behind the recent spike in gut disease noted in industrialized nations that genetic reasons alone have failed to explain.

People ask me why I grow/buy organic food, this is the answer.  And it is on sale in many supermarkets next to household cleaning products and sometimes next to food. It should be banned.

Glyphosate from Monsanto’s Roundup Decimates Microbes in Soils and the Human Gut – New Science