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Finding the Future in Organic Roots.

As a subscriber to Mother Earth News, I continually find inspiration in every issue. After reading Editorial Director Hank Will's "Common Ground" (April/ May 2018), I felt it was a good time to respond in kind.

I think far more people than the media would like to reveal are truly concerned about our food sources and how industry has taken over a lot of what goes into our grocery stores. The transition from wholesomely grown produce and grass-fed meats to the processed foods available now is not only disappointing, but may also be hazardous to our health.

I grew up on a farm in the rural portion of Leavenworth County in Kansas. My Dad was a farm kid from the Junction City area, and said that when he grew up and had his own home, he always wanted to go back to rural living. My father was an organic gardener before people really coined the term. He was determined to never use harmful chemicals around the farm, especially on the large gardens we always grew. So all the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other edibles on our farm grew naturally. We canned every summer, which helped us enjoy the bounty of the gardens throughout winter.

My husband and I moved to Colorado in 1983, and then to the Denver area in 2002. Growing food here is certainly not as easy as it was back in Kansas, but I'm determined to use clean and wholesome practices, as I did before. Large pesticide, fertilizer, and herbicide companies make it appear in ads that using their products will result in an easier and more fun gardening experience. Fortunately, people are becoming aware of the hazards associated with many of those advertised chemicals, but they often don't know of any other option to control weeds.

As Hank Will said, when it comes to growing, there is probably no "magic bullet" that will bring everyone to one school of thought. But we need to have hope, and we can keep trying to find ways to grow that are good for all of us. Perhaps we'll develop new ways that are easier to teach, so more people will realize that growing food isn't overly complicated.

I think maybe the best tactic is to just tell people to take it one step at a time, rather than getting hung up on labels. Otherwise, they'll begin to feel they're not following the rules and can't do it right, and then stop trying altogether.

For example, when someone who seems to be overwhelmed asks me how they can grow more organically, I suggest trying to grow just part of their vegetables, herbs, and flowers without any synthetic chemicals and seeing how it goes. Then, I recommend adding freshly picked produce to their diet rather than items that spent days, weeks, or months in storage before being presented for sale at a grocery store.

Doctors tell us to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, but many of us now know that the nutrition in store-bought produce has been on a decline. Big Ag favors crops that can produce the largest quantity at the fastest rate and can travel long distances to market. The overall health of humans is probably suffering as a result.

I don't have all the answers, but I do appreciate those like Hank Will, who are curious about whether we can bring together diverse groups to a common ground. I guess all it takes is starting small and seeing whether these lifestyle changes will grow, so to speak. The results may be surprising. I look forward to seeing in upcoming issues if more people are trying to form groups to learn from and support each other.

Joyce D'Agostino

Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Title Annotation:Dear MOTHER
Author:D'Agostino, Joyce
Publication:Mother Earth News
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 1, 2018
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