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Sustainable Living. The Problems of Agribusiness The Solutions for Individuals. The Problem: The Monsanto Company. The Monsanto Company is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation World leaders in the production of the herbicide glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup

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sustainable living

Sustainable Living

The Problems of Agribusiness

The Solutions for Individuals

the problem the monsanto company
The Problem:The Monsanto Company
  • The Monsanto Company is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation
  • World leaders in the production of the herbicide glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup
  • The leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seeds with a market share of 70-100%
  • Annual revenue of $7.3 billion in 2006
the problem
The Problem

Monsanto has taken out more seed patents than any other company EVER, removing the threat of competition

Farmers that use Monsanto seeds must use Monsanto’s herbicide because it has been chemically engineered to recognize the GE plants only

patent infringement
Patent Infringement
  • Monsanto has begun highly aggressive pursuit of family owned farms found guilty of patent infringement through use and sale of seeds containing GE DNA without initial purchase of the seeds and the technology.

However, this DNA can literally invade a farmer’s field through wind pollination, therefore a farmer may end up with them as well as a law suit.

ge bans
GE Bans
  • GE crops have been banned in the European Union, Japan and a number of other countries and regions with which the United States has historically traded
  • Therefore any GE crops domestic farmers produce cannot be sold to these places, reducing the United State’s gross national product
why would the us agree to this
Why Would the US Agree to This?
  • Former Monsanto employees currently hold positions in US government agencies and offices including the FDA, the EPA and the Supreme Court
  • Donald Rumsfeld is a major stock owner and made $12 million on a 1985 merger with Monsanto
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft was the top recipient of Monsanto contributions during his reelection campaign for US Senate
ge crops are not identified
GE Crops are Not Identified
  • Currently there is no system requiring identification of GE foods in grocery stores
  • GE plants are being fed to livestock on massive scales
  • The food you and your children eat could be genetically modified, and you will never know
pesticides in a nutshell
Pesticides in a nutshell
  • A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances used for preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest.
  • This may be a chemical substance, a biological agent, antimicrobial or a disinfectant
environmental concerns associated with pesticide use
Environmental Concerns Associated with Pesticide Use
  • Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species including non-target species, air, water, bottom sediments and food.
  • Some pesticides contribute to global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer
  • In the US, pesticides were found to pollute every stream and over 90% of wells
  • Pesticides hinder nitrogen fixation which is a major contributor to loss of soil fertility
the effect of pesticides on wildlife
The Effect of Pesticides on Wildlife
  • Greater in fish-eating birds such as gulls or bald eagles, the use of DDT caused egg shell thinning in many birds of prey
  • Exposure to a highly toxic insecticide can cause sickness or death to wildlife
  • Once sick, wildlife may neglect their young, abandon their nests, and become more susceptible to predation and disease
indirect effects of pesticides
Indirect Effects of Pesticides
  • When herbicides or insecticides are sprayed on field borders and other non-crop habitats, wildlife lose valuable escape cover and food
  • Wildlife are exposed to insecticides when they eat chemical residues on plants or in insects
effects of pesticides
Effects of Pesticides
  • Wildlife that are in fields or enter fields soon after an insecticide has been sprayed are exposed when they inhale vapor or when insecticides contact their skin or eyes.
  • Granular formulations of insecticides are a real hazard to birds. Birds eat granules exposed on the soil surface, mistaking them for food or grit.
health effects of pesticides

Health Effects of Pesticides


Farmers, Workers and Consumers

farmers workers
Farmers & Workers
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3 million workers in agriculture in the developing world experience severe poisoning from pesticides, about 18,000 of whom die
  • According to one study, as many as 25 million workers in developing countries may suffer mild pesticides poisoning yearly
health effects of pesticides on farmers and workers

Abdominal Pain





Skin and eye problems


Respiratory Problems

Memory Disorders

Dermatologic Conditions



Neurological deficits


Birth Defects

Health Effects of Pesticides on Farmers and Workers
health effects of pesticides on consumers
Health Effects of Pesticides on Consumers
  • There are concerns that pesticides used to control pests on food crops are dangerous to people who consume those foods
  • Many food crops, including fruits and vegetables, contain pesticide residues after being washed or peeled
health effects of pesticides on consumers20
Health Effects of Pesticides on Consumers

How it works…..

  • In the United States, levels of residues that remain on foods are limited to tolerance levels that are established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are considered safe
  • The EPA sets tolerances based on the toxicity of the pesticide and its breakdown products, the amount and frequency of the pesticide application, and how much of the pesticide remains in or on food by the time it is marketed and prepared
how it works continued
How it works….. continued
  • Tolerance levels are obtained using the scientific risk assessments that pesticide manufacturers are required to produce by conducting toxicological studies, exposure modeling and residue studies before are particular pesticide can be registered
  • HOWEVER, the effects are tested for single pesticides, and there is little information on possible synergistic effects of exposure to multiple pesticide traces in the air, food and water
health effects of pesticides on consumers22
Health Effects of Pesticideson Consumers
  • In the US, the National Academy of Sciences estimates that between 4,000 and 20,000 cases of cancer are caused per year by pesticide residues in food in allowable amounts
  • Petroleum based chemicals are being found to cause significant attritional effects to the nervous system and immune system after prolonged exposure. Some of the illnesses include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune weakening, autoimmune disorders, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and child and adult learning disabilities, mental retardation, hyperactivity, and attention deficit disorders
health effects of pesticides on our children
Health Effects of Pesticideson Our Children
  • According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, children have been found especially susceptible to the harmful effects of pesticides. A number of research studies have found higher incidences of brain cancer, leukemia, and birth defects in children with early exposure to pesticides
  • Scientists also think that the exposure to pesticides in the uterus may have negative effects on a fetus that may manifest as problems such as growth and behavioral disorders or reduced resistance to pesticide toxicity later in life


Organic Foods


Square Foot Gardening

organic foods
Organic Foods

Organic is when organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation

why organic
Why Organic?
  • It’s better for the environment – No pesticides means healthier soil, water, and wildlife.
  • Buying organic supports small farmers – Organic farmers can earn a fairer price for organic produce compared to factory farming
  • Organic farming is good for biodiversity
  • Organic Farmers are growing a wide variety of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) fruits and vegetables, resurrecting many heirloom varieties
  • It’s healthier for you and your family
food to buy organic
Peaches-listed as the worst with the highest levels of pesticides of all conventional produce




Grapes(& therefore Raisins and Juice! - many kinds of juices have Grape Juice in them)





Lemons- especially if zesting, should definitely use organic


Bananas - heavy chemicals for the trip to America including Thiabendazole which Damages the Brain and Nervous System. 



Cantaloupefrom Mexico


Food to Buy Organic
more foods to buy organic
More Foods to Buy Organic
  • Potatoes
  • Corn & Corn Syrup-most corn is now genetically modified! 
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Green & Red Bell Peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Hot Peppers
  • Green Beans - Acephate, Benomyl, Chlorothalonil, Methamidophos - Damages Brain and Nervous System, Cause Birth Defects
  • Winter or Hard Squash
  • Carrots
more foods to buy organic29
More Foods to Buy Organic
  • Rice & Oats - loaded with pesticides!
  • Milk- antibiotics and hormones are forced into America's conventional dairy cow to increase profits
  • Baby Food
  • Wild Salmon
  • Foods that are GE like Corn - there are more pesticides on genetically engineered foods so avoid GMO Foods
  • Nuts - because of the high fat content, they hold on to pesticides more than others
  • Anything you or your kids eat a lot of -  since pesticides accumulate, if you eat a lot of something that may not be listed here, lets say your kids eat peanut butter every day, then you should certainly avoid an excess of toxins by choosing organic for those items.
farmers markets
Farmers Markets
  • Find out about your local farmer’s market and get involved!
  • Speak with your money, buy only locally grown, organic produce
what is composting
What is Composting?
  • Compost is the end product of a complex feeding pattern involving hundreds of different organisms, including bacteria, fungi, worms, and insects
  • What remains after these organisms break down organic materials is the rich, earthy substance your garden will love
  • Composting replicates nature's natural system of breaking down materials on the forest floor
  • Considered "the organic garbage disposal," composting recycles food waste into rich, dark, earth-smelling soil conditioner
benefits of composting
Benefits of Composting
  • A convenient way to dispose of organic waste
  • It saves space in the county landfill, which is good for the environment
  • Homegrown compost is a great way to feed and nurture plants
  • Composting does not smell, and it will reduce the smell of the rotting food in your garbage can each week
types of composting
Types of Composting
  • Vermiculture – composting with worms in a container
    • Composting bin in the garden or under the kitchen sink
  • Compost pile
  • Trench composting in a garden
    • Compost can be shoveled directly from trenches into garden
  • Compost pockets throughout yard
    • Plant directly over pocket after one month
composting tips for happy worms
Composting – Tips for Happy Worms
  • You need about 2,000 red wiggler worms for every pound per day of food waste
  • You'll want a container with a depth of between 8 and 12 inches
  • The bin should be located in areas where the temperatures are between 40 to 80°F
  • Worms do not like a lot of noise or vibrations, keep them away from high traffic areas.
  • Worms want an environment that is about 75 percent water, never let your compost get too wet or too dry
  • It's best to feed worms once a week in small amounts. If you feed them more than they can process you will end up with a stinking compost bin as the garbage literally backs up
composting do s
Composting Do’s
  • The pile needs a proper ratio of carbon-rich materials, or "browns," and nitrogen-rich materials, or "greens." Among the brown materials are dried leaves, straw, and wood chips. Nitrogen materials are fresh or green, such as grass clippings and kitchen scraps.
composting don ts
Don't Use:




Pet droppings




Diseased plants

Rubber bands


Don't use garden soil or mix fresh cow, horse or chicken manure into the bedding. These emit gases and will raise the temperature of your compost bin. You could end up "cooking" your worms to death

Do not dispose of glass, plastic or aluminum foil in your compost

Although paper can be used as bedding, don't include paper with colored printing on it. Many colored inks are toxic to worms

Composting Don’ts
uses for compost
Uses for Compost
  • You can use compost as a mulch protecting the soil and shading out weed seeds. Nutrients are washed out into the soil with each rain to feed the roots of plants
  • Compost is great for mixing into the soil, it helps a sandy soil hold moisture and nutrients better and improves clay soils too
  • Compost mixed with some sand makes a super potting soil for growing plants in containers.
square foot gardening

Square Foot Gardening

Grow your own food

what is square foot gardening
What is square foot gardening?
  • A simple and versatile gardening system that adapts to all levels of experience, physical ability, and geographical location.
  • A great earth friendly way to do your part in helping to protect the environment
  • An easy way to grow your own fruits and vegetables and teach your children the importance of eating organic
  • Pick an area that gets 6-8 hrs of sun daily
  • Avoid trees and shrubs where roots and shade may interfere
  • Keep close to the house for convenience and protection
  • Beware of areas that puddle after heavy rains
10 basics of square foot gardening
10 Basics of Square Foot Gardening

1. Layout: Arrange your garden in squares, not rows

2. Boxes: Build boxes to hold new soil mix above ground

3. Aisles: Space boxes 3 ft apart to form walking aisles

4. Soil: Fill boxes with 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite

5. Grid: Make a square foot grid for the top of each box

10 basics of square foot gardening43
10 Basics of Square Foot Gardening

6. Care: Never walk on your growing soil, tend garden from the aisles

7. Select: Plant a different flower, vegetable, or crop in each square foot

8. Plant: Conserve seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole

9. Water: Water by hand from a bucket of sun warmed water

10. Harvest: When you finish harvesting a square foot, add compost and replant with a new and different crop

why garden this way
Why garden this way?
  • For home gardening raised bed agriculture means less work, less irrigation, improved soil, higher yields and no poisons.
  • It creates a healthy soil to grow healthy plants to provide healthy food to feed healthy people.
  • People suffer due to very poor diets. Growing our own food provides better nutrition
some resources
Some resources