Thursday, 15 December 2016

Going Soy-Free: A New Frontier In Healthy Living

Those who are truly committed to healthy lifestyles scrutinize their food down to the provenance of ingredients. Allergies to certain traditional food components, such as gluten and soy, are not lightly dealt with. In fact, industries that have readily absorbed such consumer caution and preference have already fine-tuned their production methods with respect to demands for soy- and gluten-free food.

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For instance, Burt’s Bees, a beauty brand that has achieved renown for its organic mantra, recently launched a line of protein shakes that are certified non-GMO, gluten-, and soy-free. Such a big brand embracing the wisdom of going soy-free speaks not only of changing manufacturing sensibilities and methods but actual demand undercutting such direction. Those who are cynical about “finicky” food choices should understand reasons behind such shifts.

The reluctance to dispense with soy might stem from its historical role as a regular food item on the tables of many households. Post World War II, soy, a cheap protein source, made its way to practically everything, even animal feed. Such widespread consumption eventually revealed a common allergy to soy. Consuming dairy and poultry products derived from soy-fed animals could trigger the same allergy, even if they exist in trace amounts in food products.

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There is also the matter of soy production for purposes of supplying animal feed. Most soy produced in the United States is genetically modified (GM) to favor bigger yields and farming efficiency. This exposes soy to toxic farming elements, such as herbicides and stronger strains of bacteria. Mounting research on the other potential health detriments of soy, such as a vector of infertility, is also driving food producers to stay on the safe side.

Geoffrey Morell co-owns P.A. Bowen Farmstead, a small farm specializing in pasture-raised dairy, eggs, pork and beef. The farm is proud of its completely soy-free tradition. To read about the farm’s products, visit this website.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Preventing Desertification with Managed Grazing Systems

Improving land and pasture conditions is important to those who are raising livestock. As production increases and forage is utilized, managed grazing can cause a greater impact by stopping desertification. For many years, overgrazing contributed to this phenomenon that has damaged pastures all over the world.

Desertification happens when fertile land becomes barren due to drought, deforestation, or mismanaged farming. Due to climate change and misconceptions on grazing, grasslands all over the world have suffered this occurrence. However, biologists and agriculture experts have discovered that the most suitable way to restore the earth back to its healthy state is through proper management of grazing pastures. With an ecological system in place, soil, water, and air quality will improve. Minimizing greenhouse gasses will lead to better plant diversity.

Livestock grazing in barren land gives the soil a protective layer that improves its condition by preserving nutrition. Rotational or deferred grazing allows land and forages to rest and grow appropriately after the grazing period. Allowing livestock to graze for a particular amount of time on a portion of the pasture is a sure method to prevent overgrazing. This increases productivity in the land as all portions are being cultivated properly.

Geoffrey Morell owns P.A. Bowen Farmstead where all livestock are pasture-raised in an environment where they can thrive and live naturally. For more information about Geoffrey and P.A. Bowen Farmstead, visit this website.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Sustainable Farming: Regulating the Use of Pesticides in Farms

Combating pests has been an age-long issue for farmers, including those that primarily grow forage for animal consumption. Over the years, the effort to ward off these organisms that feed on their crops have led to several innovations in farming and the introduction of pesticides.

Pesticides are chemicals used to protect plants from being damaged by weeds, fungi, or insects. It yields to tremendous benefits for farmers especially when it comes to quantity of crops produced. It has been an integral part in crop production as it reduces the risks of losses which can be caused by the aforesaid culprits.

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However, the excessive use of pesticides—particularly the artificial ones—can result in serious health problems among the farmers and the people around the farm. In addition to killing insects and bugs, it can also have an adverse effect on other organisms such as birds, fish, and non-target plants. Animals feeding on pesticide-treated fodder may also be adversely affected. Moreover, it can lead to soil and water contamination, if not poisoning.

In California, the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) proposed to regulate the use of pesticide near schools and daycare centers. Aside from its aim to protect children and students, the regulation is also directed at increasing the communication between farmers and crop growers and schools to help facilitate better response to potential incidents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with some university researchers, is now looking at ways to combat pests by introducing predatory bugs. In Missouri, garden stores are selling ladybugs to customers that can be released to eat the aphids that plague tomato plants.

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Ben Putler, professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is leading a group of researchers to look into testing natural predators for other agricultural pests that destroy hectares upon hectares of farmlands. Other farmers are also trying out a new approach on conventional ways to ward off pests and insects from their crops through chickens which feast on insects and worms invading their crops.

Geoffrey Morell offers tours and classes of his farm. He co-owns the P.A. Bowen Farmstead, alongside Sally Fallon Morell. For inquiries, follow this link.