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Why it Works

There are very few problems, especially those which have been around since creation, which have not had some attempt or more at "fixing" them. The challenge to a plant's health when contaminated on its surfaces has had profound effects on the plants, those who grow them, and those who enjoy and eat them.

But are we looking in the right direction for our answers?
Are we treating the symptoms and not the causes?

Is what we have been doing actually working?

Quick Look

Pesticide application in CaliforniaIf any portion of the plant’s surface becomes dirty or clogged, the plant cannot process what it needs as efficiently as it should. 

This places a burden on the plant which causes it to spend energy for survival which it would normally spend to grow and flourish.

Conventional “wisdom” (or standard commercial field practice) does not address the issues regarding dirty plant surfaces directly. It sees the RESULT of the problem (rather than the CAUSE), and treats the SYMPTOMS instead.

Typical response is to over-compensate for any perceived deficiencies by adding heavier applications of  unbalanced or poorly proportioned commercial chemical fertilizers to aid growth.  Whether or not there is an insect or disease attack for being less than hardy, plants (and ultimately the consumers) are routinely exposed to increasing amounts of toxic (usually petroleum based) pesticides to ward off the bugs or maladies.  Food crops vying for space with weeds get to endure multiple applications of poisonous herbicides to eliminate the competition. 

Care for a drink? Your plants have to.

At best, such practices are like putting the plant on steroids.  At first glance, the visual results seem satisfying.  But while the plants may look healthy enough, closer examination and testing reveals them to be less hardy, less nourishing, and even less tasty than their predecessors. 

Worldwide, about 3 billion kg of pesticides are applied each year at a cost of nearly $40 billion (Pan-UK, 2003). In the U.S., approximately 500 million kg of more than 600 different pesticide types are applied annually at a cost of $10 billion (Pimental and Greiner, 1997).

California pesticide use data show that between 1991 and 2000 almost 2 billion pounds of active ingredients were applied in California alone. After a massive increase in pesticide use in the early to mid-1990's, reported use has stabilized at about 200 million pounds of active ingredients each year. This figure only includes farm use and professional pesticide use. Not included are consumer and much institutional pesticide use.

Also not included in this figure are so-called 'inert' ingredients. U.S. pesticide use is about 1.2 billion pounds each year, and worldwide pesticide use is about 5 billion pounds each year.” -- http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Search_Use.jsp  [For detailed information on pesticide use in the U.S. overall and in the California, New York or Oregon pesticide use reporting systems, click here.]

Paradoxically, despite the vast increase in the amount of pesticides used over the last 30-40 years, the amount of crop loss due to pests has increased from 31% to 37%. There has been a 10-fold increase in insecticide use in the US from 1945 to 2000, yet during this period, total crop losses from insect damage alone have nearly doubled from 7% to 13% (Pimental).

Besides the obvious dangers to those who have to workPoisonous spraying around them, reason would dictate that we are not helping either the plants or ourselves any time we are using products with "DANGER", "WARNING", or "CAUTION" on the packaging. 

And what really defies logic is the doublespeak from government agencies we think are charged with protecting us who instead give conflicting reports that our "food may contain toxic or hazardous chemicals" at the same time telling us that "the food supply is safe". What it means is that some agent or agency has decided how much poison we are supposed to ingest and they aren't worried about it. WE probably should be.

What to do with obsolete pesticides?

And this does not begin to address the issues regarding storage or disposal of toxic pesticides which become obsolete or are finally banned as being TOO poisonous. Who reaps their "benefits"?

Somehow, we are going to have to realize that treating a natural problem with an unnatural solution may have other than natural beneficial results.

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