Benny sits down with Oogie and Basil, husband and wife as well as the owners of the Bio-Organic Farm in Murwillumbah. They discuss in detail the health benefits around eating organic, specifically when it comes to Basil and the concerns she had around farming and her food choices during pregnancy.
In this interview, Basil was 31 weeks pregnant, eagerly expecting her first born child with Oogie.
Basil lives and works everyday on the land helping grow, nurture, plant and harvest all the farms crops. She manages the staff and is the face of the farm at their local community markets helping deliver produce to many local families. As a health conscious individual, full time business owner and hands on Farmer, Basil’s health is and always has been her priority, especially when pregnant.
Basil expressed that when she first saw her doctor and found out she was pregnant, her doctor had major concerns knowing that Basil was a farmer. The doctor was concerned for Basil’s health and the health and safety of the baby, when subjectively viewing farming as that of conventional methods. This was a massive wake up call for Basil. This reminded her why she is organic and why the Bio-Organic Farm only practises organic and bio-dynamic farming methods.
So is conventional farming safe for a baby and a mother's health? And is the produce from a conventional farm safe to consume for the everyday person?
Many studies have been published around the dangers of pesticide exposure and pregnancy. Some of the research has been linked to reproductive health concerns, increased risk of miscarriages, increased risk of birth defects and learning difficulties in children.
According to Zach Bush MD; an American based physician specialising in internal medicine, endocrinology and hospice care, he believes that conventional farming practises have led to widespread disease and illness across the population. Zach is an international educator focussing on the current state of our soil health worldwide and how toxins like glyphosate have to be removed from our farming practises to ensure the safety, health and well-being of us as a race and for our planet's longevity.
In a podcast from 2018 with Rich Roll, Zach states that “We’re losing the ability to procreate as a species, and on our current trajectory, we have about 70 years left of human life on earth”
Zach Bush estimated that 1/3 of males in the U.S. are now sterile and 1/4 of women in the U.S. are infertile. He also presented statistcs about the dramatic increase found in autism, learning disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases amongst children. All of which he believes is strongly linked to the use of toxic farming chemicals and sprays over time, specifically ‘roundup’.
To learn more from Zach Bush, please view the references below.
Benny asked Oogie and Basil what the difference was between, certified organic, organic, spray free, conventional farming and chemical free farming.
There is so much misleading information out there according to Oogie. He believes that it is very easy to sway the truth and refer to yourself as one of the titles above.
An example he provided was someone claiming to be spray free.
According to Oogi, this may mean they don't spray any chemicals directly onto their crops but they still may be feeding hormones, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides through the irrigation system. These additives go straight to the root structure within the soil aiming to preserve or prolong the plants life or speed up it’s growth.
Oogie stated that anything you do to change or amend the produce’s life will alter the molecular structure of the plant and its nutrient quality.
Oogie suggested that a conventionally grown cucumber that has been exposed to chemical farming, be it sprayed or spray free that maybe altered in other forms, will have far less nutritional value than that of a naturally grown, organically derived crop.
He said a lot of research has been conducted towards celery in light of the craze that took off in 2018 thanks to the Medical Medium.
Oogie said if you compare a conventionally grown celery that you may buy from Coles or Woolies for $2-5 a bunch, to an organically grown celery for $8-$12, there is a massive difference. To give you some perspective, it takes Oogie and his team 5-6 months to grow one celery organically as mother nature intended. He said a lot of planning and hard work goes into growing that one celery.
He has to map out the ecosystem around the celery to ensure the right crops are supporting each other which in-turn helps promote the soil health of the surrounding environment. This also includes planning around planting companion plants to deter pests and naturally manage any threats the crop may face in its lifetime, which takes time and many hands on deck. The season it is planted, meaning the ideal climate, external conditions and time for growth are also key factors at play.
These factors are not essential nor as big of a concern when it comes to conventional farming.
A conventional farmer may plant a celery seedling and inject it with chemicals to speed up the growth and protect it from pest attack. This may mean a celery can grow perfectly in half the time and sometimes even less than half the time of an organically grown celery. It hasn’t been nurtured on a daily basis like that of an organically produced crop nor has it had as much time in the ground to absorb all the key vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
It is also important to remember that just because it may look pretty and perfect does not mean it is healthy or the best quality.
Ben asked Oogie how a conventional celery can be sold for approximately $4.00 compared to that of an organic celery coming in at approximately $12.
Oogie reinforced that it is a much quicker process for conventional farmers due to the added sprays and injections in the soil and the unregulated treatment of their soil and surrounding ecosystem. They also have greater success due to these sprays which means fewer failed crops or losses to pests or diseases.
Just remember that cheapest isn't always best when it comes to quality or health.
Ben also asked the question about the dirty dozen. The dirty dozen is a list of vegetables and fruits that have been identified to contain the highest amounts of pesticides or toxic chemicals as a result of non-organic farming practises. These 12 fruits and vegetables are recommended to be consumed organically over non organically. Celery makes the list.
Oogie explained that celery is like a sponge. Inside of a celery stick, it is full of liquid or fluid that has been sucking up juices and contaminants from the ground for its entire plant life span. If a celery is conventionally grown, that means every day it is absorbing the toxic chemicals sprayed, any herbicides, pesticides and fungicides injected into the root structure and would have been exposed to the non organic soil or fertilisers used. That celery is also trying to obtain key nutrients, specifically vitamins and minerals from the depleted soil. This means less nutrients are absorbed into the crop and then passed down to its consumer.
Organic Celery on the other hand spends more time in the soil. It has the ability to absorb more nutrients from good quality soil and the natural ecosystem surrounding it.
Basil explained that a lot of farmers may say that everything is organic. Technically everything can be named organic if grown in nature but if it is not certified, it is not regulated or being audited regularly, following the national guidelines.
Basil explained that with organics it's about being aware of what you are putting into your soil today and knowing what effects it will have on the land tomorrow and in 100 years time.
With ACO, the Australian Certified Organic Association, everything gets checked, assessed and approved down to the seedlings used, the mulch, the fertiliser and even the natural sources of water running off and into the land.
Benny reminded us that most other farms can use a multitude of products that don't get checked nor are they tested which could not only be compromising the health of the crop but the health of the land in later years.
Oogie stated that every thing used on their farm is checked, assed and tested by ACO. They have very strict regulations that can be checked at any time.
At the Bio-Organic Farm Oogie and Basil believe certified organic is best, purely because it holds the farm accountable and means they have to go through the rigorous process daily to ensure they are meeting standards. If you are not certified organic, there is no way of truly knowing what is used in and on the land and if it meets safety standards.
A spray free farm or ‘organic’ farm that may practise organic farming methods, does not have a governing body with strict rules or regulations mandating their practises. Their farming processes and procedures are not observed or checked which may mean some products or farming methods could potentially be harmful for the environment and human health.
The Bio-Organic Farm believes certified organic is best and the safest farming for his consumers, his workers and his family.
Oogie feels frustrated as so many farmers claim organic and chemical free but also have the option to easily deceive their customers and not have to answer to anybody about their practises. They could honestly be farming using the safest methods, but no one is there to check up on them, hold them accountable and assess each product they may or may not be using. Oogie stated that as a farmer, if you are faced with a catastrophe overnight and could spray your crop to fix the problem instantly, you may seriously consider it if no one was checking up on you. As a certified organic farmer, Oogie does not have that option.
What we know about organics, is that if it's not certified, it's not organic.
At Garden of Vegan we believe in consuming the best quality, certified organic produce which is why we pride ourselves on collaborating with local certified farmers, like Oogie and Basil from the Bio-Organic Farm.
To learn more about organics, check out Episode 3 with Oogie and Basil, to be released soon...
Follow the Bio-Organic Farm at; https://www.facebook.com/thebioorganicfarm/?rf=188330531294233
Zach Bush MD webpage; https://zachbushmd.com/
Podcast with Zach Bush; https://podcastnotes.org/rich-roll/bush/