Farmer's market season is in full swing and my family is having a great timeÂ experiencing all that our local market has to offer.
As I have gone more frequently, IÂ have gotten more comfortable asking the farmers questions about how they raise theirÂ crops.
My natural assumption was to think that all of the farmers that opted to participateÂ in the farmers markets grew their foods pesticide free and certifiable organic. I quicklyÂ learned that this way of thinking was far from the truth.
Many of the farmers at my local farmers' market were working to get towards the organicÂ certification.
The farmers explained that this was not an easy process, but that the public isÂ starting to demand food that is not filled with harmful chemicals.
It seemed to be easierÂ for a new farmer to start out organic as opposed to an experienced farmer transitioning his farmÂ from one with chemical treatment to one that was now chemical free.
Do Pesticides Deserve Bad Press?
There are some that say there are some good reasons to use pesticides on crops.
IÂ wanted to research for myself what would be considered a good reason to use a pesticide.Â Here is what I came up with:
- Mosquitoes can transmit diseases, such as West Nile, to humans.
- Termites cause serious damage to our structures and are costly to eliminate.
- Fire ants cause painful stings and may result in death to livestock.
- Vegetable producers may have their produce rejected from certain fresh markets due toÂ unsightly blemishes.
- Some pests really can devastate an entire crop if left untreated.
Organic Pesticides? Digging A Little Deeper...
After I discussed some of the reasons why the farmers are using pesticides, I had toÂ walk over to the organic farmers and ask them why they chose to find an alternative.
IÂ was given a wonderful educational lesson on the organic pesticides that are available. The farmers explained that pesticides are safer not only for our bodies, but alsoÂ the environment.
Neem Oil is one of the pesticides that came up with several of theÂ farmers. Neem oil is used as a natural way to keep insects away withoutÂ leaving all of the trace elements behind. This is a method that will not be harmful to theÂ environment.
Knowing Better, Doing Better
I was always taught that if you know better, then you should do better. The farmers seemÂ to know ways that they can improve the health of their crops and some chose not to do it.
I realize that it is a business and, in most cases, using organic pesticidesÂ will cost more money, but, to potentially save lives â it's worth it!
It may also take a little effort toÂ research what will work best for their crops.
As parents, we have to take the time to askÂ questions about the food that we are putting into our families' bodies.
The farmers at theÂ market could have given me 20 reasons why pesticides are OK to use, but it is not safeÂ for my family members and I can not knowingly give them foods treated with unsafeÂ pesticides.
Ask questions! As parents, we owe it to our kids to provide them the healthiest foodÂ selection that we are able to provide.
In this world of making food faster and bigger,Â sometimes we have to step back and examine what is really best for our kids.
We need toÂ eat in season and limit eating at fast food restaurants that are helping to push the speed ofÂ food production. We need to support those that are trying to put properly grown food onÂ our dinner table.
We need to get involved and help get locally grown foods in our schoolÂ systems. We need to simply ask the right questions.
- Discover The 1001 Uses Of Neem Oil DiscoverNeem.com)
- Pesticides and Food: What You and Your Family Need to Know (EPA)
- Why Do We Use Pesticides? (University of Florida IFAS)