The Real Dirt

Opinion pieces written by the proprietor(s) of the Stoddart Family Farm. If they make your blood boil, don’t send us hate letters, stop reading them.

Endocrine Disruption: The pesticide impact that Big Ag hopes you never find out about

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I think one of my next Compost Piles will have to centre on endocrine disruption. There has been credible science pointing to low dose endocrine effects from man made chemicals for over 15 years and yet we haven’t forced testing of even the heavily regulated pesticides. The two most commonly used herbicides in North America – atrazine and glyphosate (Roundup) are both suspected endocrine disruptors. Documented endocrine disruption impacts include premature birth, developmental delays, breast cancer, reproductive problems, low sperm counts and many more. Here is a website that...

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Questions from Joel Salatin Event at Brickworks

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There were several questions that came up at the Joel Salatin event at Brickworks last night that I can provide my perspective on. I didn’t respond at the event because I figured you all came to hear Joel not me. 1. Canadian Wheat Board: This one shouldn’t even be controversial. We went voluntary with the Ontario Wheat Board in the mid-1990s and have never looked back. The diversity of wheat types grown in Ontario has increased and I haven’t heard anyone pining for the days when we had to sell through the Board. In Western Canada Wheat and Barley are slowly being displaced...

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Lower your food bill by increasing your cooking skills (and have some fun with your kids).

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The Compost Pile originated with using a picture of a compost pile in a rant I wrote about deceptive labelling in our mostly monthly newsletter. The oblique connection between the two was that both were a pile of crap. I’ve decided to keep “The Compost Pile” as the heading for my personal opinion pieces because it seems to fit everything I write about so well. A compost pile can be viewed as a pile of crap or it can be viewed as a source of nourishment for plants. This is especially true on an organic farm. This week my topic fits into the latter definition. I want to write...

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Food Choices Rant

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The Compost Pile I know this article is long in the 140 character universe but I’ve been finding tweeting wholly unsatisfying for anything other than linking to well-written articles elsewhere. I’ve had two very strong reminders in the last little while that we all experience life from our own relative viewpoint and it is virtually impossible for us to be truly unbiased and impartial, regardless of how much we protest that we are. The first was while reading Eintstein’s Theory of Relativity while on vacation (actually I cheated – I downloaded it as a podcast and...

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What is “Truth” in Food Labelling?

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This was originally written for our newsletter last fall but the prominence of Schneider’s ads for their all natural line of bs (bacon and sausages) makes it just as relevant so I thought I would resurrect it as a post. Has anyone else noticed the ads that Maple Leaf is running for “preservative free” ham? Being the curious sort that I am and knowing the role of preservatives in the production of ham, I suspected that the claim was based on a technicality with the definition of “preservatives” rather than actually containing no preservatives. After some not so...

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Can conventional or organic feed the world?

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Just a short rant this month (it is spring despite the weather – 8 calves this week) Those of you with a debating background or a good grounding in critical thinking will know the meaning of “red herring” – it’s essentially an argument that is thrown out there to distract you from the real argument. There have been so many red herrings thrown into the conventional versus organic agriculture debate I bet I could have a lifetime supply of pickled herring if I gathered them all up. Today I’m going to focus on one – the debate about whether organic or...

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