Exploring the need to reduce pesticides and use nature instead of nasties in farming – with Riverford Organic.
Do you like your apples served with a coating of unpronounceable chemicals? Do you like your carrots doused in substances of questionable toxicity? No? I thought not.
Riverford Organic’s Dream Job
Riverford Organic are highlighting the need to reduce the use of pesticides through spoof job adverts for a Dream Job – Head of Pest Control.
The ‘job advert’ starts:
“Following the untimely demise of your predecessor, we are urgently seeking an individual with a hunger to lead the battle against pests on our organic farm.
You will lead a team of thousands, travelling to different locations at a moment’s notice, to fight aphid or cutworm attacks on our vegetables. You must be on call to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The summer is especially busy, though we give you winters off.
You must maintain your integrity and may not resort to cheating with chemicals; artificial pesticides are forbidden at Riverford. Plus you may struggle to open the bottle.” Read it in full!
This isn’t a job for someone to don a protective boilersuit and spray all of the farm’s beautiful veg. It’s a job for… a ladybird, of course. Nature can work miracles if we leave it alone to do it’s thing.
These adverts have got me thinking a lot this week.
I have a few apple trees in my garden and they really go to show how unnecessary pesticides can be. Yes, this is small scale growing, but those apples are delicious, safe and pesticide-free. Sure, there are a few blemishes, but I don’t mind. Produce has blemishes. It can be wonky. It doesn’t need to look like a pretend apple if the trade-off means that it’s coated in chemicals. I want to eat a nutritious apple, not an apple that has been bathed in scary pesticides.
What are pesticides and why are they controversial?
Pesticides are chemicals intended to kill animal, fungal or plant pests that would otherwise damage crops and reduce yields. . They can be made from natural substances, but mostly they’re artificial chemical poisons. Erm, yummy.
The problem is that most of them are non-selective, such as glyphosate, which kill anything in its path – from other plants to wildlife. It’s not just the plants and pests that many pesticides can harm, but many have been proven to be hormone disrupters and neurotoxins. All for a blemish-free apple.
We don’t know what the cumulative effect of the cocktail of various chemical pesticides in our food will do to us. But’s it’s worrying to think that we’re just waiting for that time-bomb to finish ticking.
We’re killing bees and wildlife, poisoning ourselves, harming farm workers and altering our ecosystems – for higher yields and prettier produces. This just can’t be right. It’s certainly not a responsible way to carry on. Find out more from Riverford – Nature not Nasties.
What can we do?
You can wash your fruit and vegetables, but not all types of pesticides can be washed off or peeled away. Organic farming has strict rules and regulations on the use of pesticides, and only a handful of naturally-derived pesticides are allowed. These come from bases of clove oil and citronella, but can still only be used under restricted circumstances. According to the Soil Association, if all farming was organic, pesticide use would drop by 98%.
So, go organic wherever you can. It’s important to our health and the health of the planet. Get an organic veg box like from Riverford, grow your own, use your local greengrocer and choose organic in the supermarkets.
Worried that organic costs more? I firmly believe that it doesn’t. If you don’t have to remove outer layers of cabbage, peel potatoes thickly or discard carrot tops, then you get a lot more produce for your pounds. You can reduce food waste and have more fruit and veg to use – pesticide-free. We wouldn’t mix toxic chemicals into our salad dressing, so we must stop choosing vegetables that are covered in it.
Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Riverford Organic. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to mess up my kitchen and write Veggie Desserts – Healthy Food and Lifestyle.