Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Food for Thought!

Blessed are those who have an access to home grown fresh vegetables. Recently I read in the newspaper about the horrible things which enter our bodies through innocuous looking fruits and vegetables.
Photo courtsey-www.roamingtimes.com
Heavy metals like lead in air coat the outer surfaces of green leafy vegetables, and then there are other contaminants which find their way into the vegetables through pesticides, polluted water etc. It is estimated that an average person consumes a whole lot of heavy metals, organochlorines and organophosphates and numerous potentially harmful parasites through vegetables. Initially I thought that this might be a problem more in developing countries as the required safety and hygiene standards, though in place, are not strictly implemented; but I was surprised by the information available on http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/hpg/envis/doc43.html. To quote from the article, ‘All together, FDA claims that only 3.1 percent of fruits and vegetables in American grocery stores contain illegal pesticides. However, the FORBIDDEN FRUIT report reveals, based on analysis of FDA's own monitoring data, that 5.6 percent -- or about one pound out of every 18 pounds of food on grocer's shelves--contains illegal pesticides. A person eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day will be eating illegal pesticides 75 times a year’.
Photo courtsey-www.shunya.net
Surprising! Isn’t it? The situation has Pandemic proportions. Here in my part of the world problem is more serious. Besides the usual contaminants, sometimes the vegetables being sold by unscrupulous local vendors and shopkeepers are soaked in toxic dyes to give them a fresh and ‘healthy’ look. For e.g. Okra is coated with malachite green, a dye which has proven carcinogenic potential, red color is artificially injected inside water melons to beguile people about its sweetness(The problem is gradually decreasing in proportion due to opening up of supermarkets and retail chains, but in smaller cities roadside vendors are still the major provider of vegetables and fruits). Home grown vegetables besides being fresh, pesticide free and grown with relatively less or no chemical fertilizer are way tastier than those from the grocery store. In addition there is an element of satisfaction involved in eating veggies grown by one’s own sweat and toil. There is absolutely no need to have a big piece of land to grow your own vegetables; it can be done even in pots, buckets, drums, discarded motor tires, terraces etc. It is simply a question of a lot of will and a little imagination and one can enjoy the fruits..err.. vegetables of her labor! I especially loved the idea of using buckets to grow potatoes, when I first saw it on BLISS by Yolanda Elizabet. Same way, the concept of your own home grown vegetables and interesting recipes to make the veggies a gourmet delight by Calendula & Concrete, is admirable. Gardening, besides being a worthy passion, brings us closer to nature and is a healthy indulgence in more ways than one!

18 comments:

Andrea's Garden said...

What a scary thought that the farmers inject something in melons! Over here much is marked as "Bio" - meaning it should be free of pesticides. There are standards concerning which foods can be marked "bio". I have grown tomatoes in pots for many years and when I lived in the U.S. we always had tomatoes growing at the fence in the backyard. They seldom made it into the house because my twins liked eating them so much. Have a nice Sunday! Andrea

kate said...

Hi Green Thumb,

It certainly would be much better if people got back to growing more of their veggies. No one in the world is immune from this.

You have made some excellent suggestions, too, about growing food in small spaces.

I hope your week is a good one!!

A wildlife gardener said...

Nothing quite like healthy home-grown produce, without pesticides and chemicals all over them. Yours are a real credit to you, dear green thumb :)

Nicole said...

How awful, farmers injecting the watermelons and dying the okras! Yes, fresh homegrown produce is wonderful. Fortunately for me we also have lots of organic produce here, esp fresh fruits.

Nicole said...

Also love that luscious guava shot!

Entangled said...

Green Thumb, you're so right about home-grown edibles! One thing that keeps me at it, in addition to the freshness and freedom from contamination, is the opportunity to have tasty and fragile varieties that the commercial growers won't grow.

Matron said...

I couldn't agree more. Who knows what goes on to our shop bought fruit and veg in order that they might stay fresher for longer, and make the company more profits. Anyone who has grown their own knows that fresh picked fruit and veg when they are ripe and in season - can compare to nothing else on earth!

Diana said...

Thanks for sharing that. In the US we are becoming increasingly aware of things that can contaminate our food and pose dangers, but as you write, we generally feel the percentage is small and the organic market and access to fresh fruits and vegetables is growing. It was fascinating to learn of the unique problems you are facing. I had no idea about such practices. I guess we all have to keep educating ourselves and each other to make the world a safer place.

Søren said...

It's quite terrifying what some people will do to our food.
I enjoy all the pictures, and have tagged you for meme: the fantastic four.
http://toads.wordpress.com/

Q said...

It is a delight to have found your journal! I too grow many of my veggies in my backyard, in my frontyard, on my deck in pots and inside the house in the winter.
As more people become aware perhaps organic will be the only way to grow and to eat! I hope the commercial growers will get the message. In the mean time growing my own is the way.
Your photos are amazing.
Thanks so much for your awarness. Organic is good for the birds and the butterflies too!
Sherry

Layanee said...

Not to mention what might be in the water! Home grown is the best. Great post!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

It is rather shocking isn't it? We eat lots of fruit and veggies because it's good for us but not when they contain that amount of toxins. This is one of the reason that I grow my own veggies and fruit or buy the organically grown ones, far more healthy! And anyone can do it, you really don't need all that much space. Lovely post with lovely pics of homegrown, healthy food, Green Thumb!

Jardineira aprendiz said...

That's why organic food production is increasing everywhere, nobody trusts food anymore! Unfortunately organic food is still too expensive for most people in my country, and in cities most people don't have any soil, but in rural areas many people are also cultivating their own vegetables again. I have hope that in time chemical use will decrease everywhere, because it simply is not sustainable, in many ways, but meanwhile, if we are not very careful, we really get poisoned!

MELISSA MANNON said...

I am so excited to expand my ORGANIC vegetable garden this year. It really is amazing what a difference growing your own makes. One idea I garnered from another gardener last summer is to grow your vegetables up. It's a great space save. Pyramid shaped trellises are great for beans, cukes, and squash.

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pixelshots said...

ofcourse the news spreading on fruits and vegetables is disturbing. time have arrived that we have to cultivate ourselves to get good quality fruits.do u you like mulberries.

kerala photo blog

rajsmusings said...

How true. Hopefully the Indians will get back to in a major way.

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