We Are Only As Healthy As Our SOIL

Are you aware of the challenges the use of pesticides, herbicides & excessive fertilizers are doing to our soil? In fact, 90% of fertilizers don’t help grow our food, instead it goes into the soil and water system.

We have lost about 80% of our farming population as compare to 100 years ago. New technologies are being offered as “climate smart agriculture” which is industrial agriculture using excessive chemicals and dangerous artificial inputs. Today there are over 600 million farmers in the world and they are forced to spend a lot of money buying fertilizers & herbicides. Instead of using the resources of nature and biodiversity, companies are promoting their manufactured products and fertilizers, which is smart against climate change but a huge compromise on the quality & safety of our food.

In my podcast conversation Sanjay Lanka explains that as a food system all soil has biodiversity and all the nutrition we need. If we have good soil, sufficient water, sunlight and plant seeds into the soil then food will definitely grow. In our world today the problem with this system is that we don’t need to buy any manufactured products for our agriculture. Unfortunately, a huge industry called the agro-chemical industry sells chemicals that are byproducts of the oil and gas industry. In this industrial model companies make a lot of money by putting pesticides into the soil which kills the soil. When the soil is not alive anymore, it is referred to as soil degradation. Today, soil restoration so important because 60% of life on Earth is in the soil and it takes an average of 500 years to naturally build an inch of fertile top soil.

Glyphosate – A Human Carcinogen

Glyphosate, also called Roundup, is the most used herbicide in the world and this dangerous chemical was developed during World War 2.

Let’s think about this for a moment- Why would we want to put something that was used as a wartime chemical weapon in our food?

Not only is glyphosate used by farmers on farms, but also by the average family in their backyard or in schools. Thousands of cases have proved the use of Glyphosate and its link to cancer. The World Health Organization has called glyphosate a human carcinogen. Germany has promised that by 2023, it will stop using glyphosate. Sri Lanka is one of the first countries to ban glyphosate. Most of the farmers use pesticides and fertilizers which is inorganic and not natural. In the last 20 years the use of glyphosate has increased substantially simply because how much farmers used earlier is not effective anymore. Because glyphosate has become so useless as a weed it is mixed with Agent Orange 240 another dangerous chemical. In the last five to six years companies have developed a new line of pesticide that combines glyphosate with Agent Orange 240 and it’s legal to use.

But there is some good news, today, many farmers have come together and succeeded in their protest to ban glyphosate use. This grassroots collaboration doesn’t have to be geographically localized because if you have enough like-minded people, thanks to technology we can connect with more people who are thinking about the same issues and motivate people to take action at their own level. There are some amazing things happening in India, listen to the podcast for more details on how people are coming together to solve this issue.

Genetically Modified Foods

According to Sanjay, when we create genetically modified foods, we are changing the basic organism itself unnaturally in the lab. Our discussion about soil is really about how our food system has been altered. Industrial technology is a genetic modification of the seed such that it is going to survive even when sprayed with poisonous toxins. When glyphosate is sprayed on these crops, only the crops survive, everything else dies. This is totally unsafe for consumption. When animals feed on this, a concentrate of so much toxin enters into one animal and when we eat this animal meat, it is going to make us sick. In my podcast conversation we talk about vegan products and Sanjay explains that all vegan products are genetically modified soy. It is fake meat being made in the lab which is crap food. At the end of the day, it’s manufactured not natural.

Genetically modified foods have no nutritional value. If you want to go vegan, I highly recommend to go natural vegan. Why would you want these fake products with zero nutrition? If you are vegan, you’re not eating chicken or any meat, so why would you want consume a fake chicken nugget?

A solution that Sanjay recommends while purchasing your food is to Google the standards for the same foods in the European Union. A a lot of the ingredients that are omitted in European products are highly toxic products, but they are allowed in the US. From my own experience when I ate gluten in Europe, or drank full fat milk when I was in India; I was fine. And this was just because of the cows, the soil and what they are fed.

Eat Organic Food

What makes the actual case for buying organic food? Why is it important to buy local food and know your farmers? Why is organic food so expensive? These are just some of the questions we discuss on the podcast.

I always tell my clients “Spend the money now rather than later”. We’d rather spend it now than eating food that is not nutrient dense. If you don’t eat organic, unfortunately, you are going to face serious problems of health. Sanjay says that fixing the soil is something that’s not going to come from the top and recommends a bottom-up approach. Lots of countries are investing in training small farm workers to become organic farmers.

In US, Canada and other places, there are famers markets. Find out where you can visit a weekly farmers market not too far away from home. A lot of these farmers markets are farmers who are organic. Because they are cutting out the middle person and we are buying directly from them, there is no third party involved taking their cut.

I urge you to develop these relationships and communities. We need to connect and create communities, especially inner-city communities and places where children can have access to growing their own food. Even if you have little room, an apartment with a small balcony, it’s important to just grow that one herb or even a flower because it will make a difference eventually.

There is Always Hope Through Coming Together & Community

In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh fewer than 1000 coffee farmers initiated a protest to ban inorganic farming. It reached 10,000 about 10 years ago and 40,000 farmers who have formed a cooperative. This year, the cooperatives board is 50% women, and these are all indigenous farmers whose leader is a woman. This is the largest cohort of farmers who have converted from using chemicals to natural farming. They are not calling it organic anymore, because they are doing the group certification where members in the community certify each other. The idea is not exporting it to UK or America but to consume it locally and avoid the exorbitant certification costs.

Today, there are 700,000 and this is the largest cohort of natural non-chemical farming in the world. It’s a zero budget, natural farming because they don’t have to go buy fertilizer. Everything used on the farm can be made on the farm using all that nature can provide. So there are definitely plenty of solutions, as long as we come together in community.

Take Home Message

Do you think we are going to destroy the world? The world was destroyed when the dinosaurs were destroyed. Dinosaurs didn’t come back; the world came back. Think about us people as a species, if anybody’s going to disappear, it’s going to be us. We have to realize that we are shooting ourselves, like the famous saying ‘cutting the branch that we are sitting on’. We need to change the way we view the food system if we want a safe and long-lasting future for our children and always remember that together we can make a real difference.

Human health is also environmental health as we are all part of the same system. We are not sitting outside and watching the earth. We are breathing the air, drinking the water & eating  the food from the same system. It’s all connected.

Connect with Sanjay | Twitter @ Sanjay_Lanka

For more insights on We Are Only As Health As Our Soil and its impact on human life, listen to the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #31with Sanjay Lanka.