Transition Whatcom

Growing your own source of organic matter to improve the tilth of your soil, or to make compost, is the best way to care for the earth and ensure the safety of what is added to the land you care for.

 

 If you are adding Compost or Organic Matter to your soil from off-site locations or purchasing

– Be-Aware and know your sources or better yet, grow, harvest, incorporate your own organic matter!

  

 SKAGIT COUNTY SOURCES:

* Skagit Soils Inc. (360) 424-0199  http://www.skagitsoilsinc.com/5073.html

Compost in Skagit reported to be regularly tested for aminopyralid (which is very responsible) offered by the Zeilstra family:

 13260 Ball Road (or google map 14104 Ovenell Rd) Mount Vernon, WA 98273

They are located just east of the Skagit County Garbage Transfer Station off Ovenell Rd.

 (address doesn't show up correctly on Mapquest or Google Maps because it is a private road.)    Use 14104 Ovenell Rd. 98273 to get driving directions.

Hours - Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm,

Please share your experience if anyone obtains compost from them.

 

BULK POTTING SOIL SOURCES:

Intrepid Coco-Coir Premium Potting Soil http://www.coco-coir.com/ is very popular for potting up those special plants & tomatoes in pots! Available by the truck for wholesale pick-up in Ferndale area, or by the bag at local retail location. Contains coconut & conifer, organic fertilizers, and even soil micro-organisms....The price may seem high but when you use it you see why......I'm not sure how much longer it will be economical for them to import the coconut material.  The stuff is amazing to get your hands into!  Business name is 'Center for Holistic Advanced Organic Studies' & 'Intrepid' products (this is local Scott Titus business).
? 384-5348

 

LOCAL WHATCOM SOURCES THAT MAY NEED TESTING BEFORE USE:

 

* Mushroom compost from a local rural companies also available for pick up or deliver for a Fee-cost...Google or phone them for details. (In the past I have found the mushroom compost too salty for my edible gardens.) HK

Cascadia Mushrooms: http://www.cascadiamushrooms.com/

(this is Alex's business who trained with Paul Stamens) .

Also, consider Twin Sisters Mushroom Farm.

 

* GrowSource Inc 318-8554     http://www.growsource.com/

 Many different choices Always ask exactly what the plant/animal/fertilizer ingredients are and make your choices carefully. I sometimes use what they have for mulching perennial non-edible beds.

They tend to incorporate chicken manure more than cow manure and may be able to tell you the name of the farm/business they obtain their ingredients from. -HK

 

* Smit Dairy Compost 354-3583 9039 Guide Meridian Rd; Lynden -(Nathan Smit's business). http://www.smitscompost.com/    This is Not an organic dairy farm, so be cautious ...Remember to ask if they are using any animal feed grown with GMO plants. (In the past there were market garden-farmer reports of aminopyralid herbicide present (2010) in their compost, so be sure to ask if they are testing for purity!) (There is the chance they may also import manure from other non-organic chemical based farms which would then get mixed in with their Smit Compost) HK

 

Auburn, WA Dairy Farm for Moo-Doo Compost (Organic): http://www.moo-doo.com/moodoo

  (I'll share a load with anyone driving a truck north to B'ham area).

 

 

Cardboard & Chips - "Free" & You Pick-Up Sources -

 (Remember to check Craigs list and freecycle online also)

Cardboard for Sheet Mulching -

Check with businesses that receive lots of products in large boxes, like appliance stores.   Here is one store recommended by Riley:

 De Warrd & Bode appliance/furniture store- North side 4175 Hannegan Road-Bellingham

 

Wood Chips or hogwood -

* Can sometimes be delivered for free if you have an accessible location for a landscaper or arborist/tree-trimmer to deliver...Be aware that some chips are cedar chips.

 

Misc cut & paste from earlier discussions below:

* "You can get Alpaca poop for free, all you have to do is take a truck to the site and the guy loads it for you". (comment from Alys K)

* "Deward & Bode has big cardboard...lots of newspaper from the heralds recycle bins" (per Jamie)

 

All welcome to add name, location, & phone number

of their favorite compost/mulch sources!  

(Please be respectful in any business evaluations and consider a blog post for some posts).

 

CHEMICAL & HERBICIDE CONCERNS IN ORGANIC MATTER:

Do your research on what organic matter, soils, mulch, compost you bring on to your land!

Solution Discussion:  "Healing Toxic Soils & Waters: Mycoremediation, Compost & Teas, Fungal Bioremediation)"

http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/group/organic/forum/topics/healin...

 

Links below provide more information:

Aminopyralid residue contamination info in commercial & offsite composts, manures, & soil mises from Washingtong State University per Kate Halstead of WSU Snohomish Extension: “Facts on the product, and what to do about it when it shows up in your compost uninvited are available on the Whatcom Extension website-   http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/aminopyralid/

Kate Halstead - Agriculture Workshops    C-360.794.6081 W-425.357.6024

khalstead@wsu.edu www.snohomish.wsu.edu

 

Website from Dow who manufactors aminopyralid herbicide:

http://www.manurematters.com/na/en/gardening.htm

http://www.manurematters.com/na/en/manure_sourcing.htm

http://www.manurematters.com/na/en/equine_health.htm

 

Ideas of how to avoid the chemicals, and what to do if your soil is effected:

http://www.the-compost-gardener.com/picloram.html

(link thanks to Laura R  with Sustainable Connections Farm Program)

 

“A New Problem With Commercial Compost” - blog by Farmer Walter H June 2010

http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-problem-with...

 

"...Herbicide Creates Killer Compost" - article from 2009 in Mother Earth News:

<i>http://www.motherearthnews.com/Grow-It/Milestone-Herbicide-Contamin...</i>

Tags: aminopyralid, compost, dairy, edible, food, forests, gardening, manure, materials, mushroom, More…organic, permaculture, poo, security

Views: 2235

Replies to This Discussion

thank you for this special resource page. I've used Smit Dairy for years and they deliver too - they are great people who honestly discuss their dairy methods - and their composted manure is a nice addition to the soil.

I would like to ask if anyone knows of a basic composted soil to add to my edible garden, one that is CLEAN and truly organic? I know I should have made a compost bin (don't want plastic bins), but now without one, I am stumped about what to put in my old yard soil (1912 house in the city). I have researched this question quite extensively, and found that when composted or topsoil is marketed as "organic", it does NOT mean that it is without prior pesticides, toxins, additives etc. apparently, "organic" in the industry means "not synthetic". so composts using general lawn waste, for instance, could be loaded with undesirable chemicals from sprayed lawns. I've used soils from nurseries and co-ops, but only for perennials, since most claim to not know the "source" of their composted soils. I think this is a larger problem than is recognized, and that many people are mistaking one "organic" for another. thanks!
My friend Ginger makes GREAT completely organic compost on her farm in Laurel (between Bham and Lynden). She feeds her horses all natural food, and when they take their worming medication she saves all their poop for 3 days and doesn't put it in the compost piles. It is hot-composted with straw and other brown and green materials, and is FULL of the amazing microbes that make soil alive and healthy. The soil at her place is the most fertile I have ever seen in my life, so it is my mission to import lots of that microecology into other gardens! Ginger's email is ginger (at) interplaycounseling (dot) com. One caution though-- sometimes she gets quack grass at her farm, so inspect any compost you get there for green grass with long, thick, white roots and get it out of there. You don't want to import quack grass into your garden!
Other free sources:
- Whatcom County Pubic Works dept has two places where they drop their wood chips and the public can come get them for free: one is behind the soccer fields off Smith Road, and the other is on Brittian Loop Rd. It is a mix of all different chipped wood, including cedar and pine, so good for paths but not really veggie garden mulch.

- When I need some straw but not a whole bale of straw, I just ask at the Whatcom Farmer's Coop (on Meridian) if I can gather up a bag of the big pile of dropped straw where they unload their bales. They always let me. And I try to buy my organic chicken food there at the same time so they don't get annoyed. Or buy a bale of straw with your neighbors and all share it. Or get spoiled straw for free when you can find it on Craigslist.

- I also go around my neighborhood and scoop up wheelbarrow loads or big sacks of oak leaves, bamboo leaves, pampass grass, etc. to use as mulch on my gardens. And pine/fir needles to use as mulch around my acid-loving blueberries, gooseberries, currants, huckleberries, salal, etc. It is AMAZING how much mulch you can collect within walking distance of your house if you start looking around (this is the best Permaculture method)...although best to ASK FIRST if you are collecting from a private yard rather than a park! If you hear someone chainsawing, run over and ask if you can have the sawdust! (again, best for acid-loving plants).
Bulk Local Potting Soil –

Intrepid Coco-Coir Premium Potting Soil is very popular for potting up those special plants & tomatoes in pots! Available by the truck for wholesale pick-up in Ferndale area, or by the bag at local retail location. Contains coconut & conifer, organic fertilizers, and even soil micro-organisms....The price may seem high but when you use it you see why......I'm not sure how much longer it will be feasable for them to import the coconut material. The stuff is amazing to get your hands into! Business name is 'Center for Holistic Advanced Organic Studies' & 'Intrepid' products (this is local Scott Titus business).
http://www.coco-coir.com/ ? 384-5348
Chris, great source for horse manure & thanks for joining us in spreading healthy micro-organisms throughout our local garden soils! Wait till you get a compost tea sprayer...then we can really cover some ground!

Donna – great research. Yes its true that the old fashioned granolia word – 'organic' – used by so many gardeners & farmers who care for the earth in their actions, has been taken over by the globel marketing corporations & governments to be redefined into something completely different than the spirit it was first used....it seemed to accelerate once more consumers started purchasing products. We could have a whole seperate discussion on this subject, and maybe Farmer Walter will start one in his blog posts!

Anytime we bring anything onto the land beyond what we personally care for, the chance of bringing in toxins, unwanted plant seeds/roots, hormones, etc is very likely.
Thats why some farmer-gardens who are 'beyond organic' strive to produce all their compost & soil improving organic matter on their own farm. Knowing your farmer and being able to walk their lands tells a lot. But its difficult to be completely pure unless you consider everything you toach or purchase.
Example is cottonseed meal, which is a major 'organic' source of nitrogen fertilizers. Most cotton is grown with lots of pesticides...so surely that may mean the the cottonseed meal must have some pesticide residues...even though its popularly used as an "organic" soil amendment. One way to define organic is anything that contains carbon...that means pretty much all things on the earth living or that have lived.
Summary, do the best you can in making your decision with the research you find.....Consider growing plants that contain lots of bulky carbon for your compost piles and toss in the kitchen wastes...Consider obtaining many of your edibles in season from your favorite 'beyond organic' local grower...(See Continue to increase your awareness of everything your hands toach, your feet walk on, or that goes into your mouth or is brought into your home or land....just notice and make the yes or no choice. It's not easy approaching pure living on the earth in the current culture we walk among, but the earth is changing and will change us.

There are so many different ways to compost and build compost piles...anyone is welcome to start a separate discussion for folks to share their methods & philosophy....Just go to garden group and scroll down to bottom of 'Discussion Forum' section and click on "Start a Discussion".
Its sorta nice to have resource info that can be accessed in the future by many to be organized into Discussions.....And fun to chat on the comments...though the email box is flowing over!


Donna Auer said:
thank you for this special resource page...... BR>
I would like to ask if anyone knows of a basic composted soil to add to my edible garden, one that is CLEAN and truly organic? I know I should have made a compost bin (don't want plastic bins), but now without one, I am stumped about what to put in my old yard soil (1912 house in the city). I have researched this question quite extensively, and found that when composted or topsoil is marketed as "organic", it does NOT mean that it is without prior pesticides, toxins, additives etc. apparently, "organic" in the industry means "not synthetic". so composts using general lawn waste, for instance, could be loaded with undesirable chemicals from sprayed lawns. I've used soils from nurseries and co-ops, but only for perennials, since most claim to not know the "source" of their composted soils. I think this is a larger problem than is recognized, and that many people are mistaking one "organic" for another. thanks!
Alpacas Farmers & Breeders (not quite Llama's)

Alpacas - "A domesticated South American mammal (Lama pacos), related to the llama and having fine, long wool."

Camelot Ranch Alpacas - http://www.camelot-ranch.com/
Les & Carol Boswell

3405 Bay Rd., Ferndale WA, 98248
(phone number & email listed on their website!)

At least go to the website to see the cute pictures of these critters!

And, whoever makes first contact...would you let them know there are gardeners waiting in line for their poo...and maybe consider sharing whatever poo you bring home with your friends & neighbors....and leave a post here for what type of bedding material they use and what type of feed & medications they use.

This local family business "raise and sell registered Huacaya Alpacas, concentrating on Peruvian Accoyo stock.... breeding goals are aimed at improving density and fineness of fiber...along with those fiber quality goals ... are dedicated to raising a respectful, contented, and healthy herd."
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

And to highlight what Chris Wolf said earlier:
" It is AMAZING how much mulch you can collect within walking distance of your house if you start looking around (this is the best Permaculture method)..."

So start bringing your wheelbarrow on your walks or hauling a cart behind your bike!...Auhh...I admit I carry a big bucket in my car for cow poo... and a bag for straw, gloves & tools...and carry cover crops in my cooler to toss on bare ground! - HK
- - - - - - - - - - -

Would someone post some etiquette guidelines for obtaining the cardboard?

- - - - - - -
more cardboard­ & wood chips - thanks to Chris W. & Juliet T. posts-

cardboard- Wilson Furniture on Pacific Hwy"

Wood Chips - “County Maintenance yard at Northwest and Smith...There are 3 county wood chip bins, one at Smith and Northwest (the most reliable - back behind the soccer fields), one at Britton Rd. and Mt. Baker Hwy, and one in Sudden Valley".
Compost in Skagit that is regularly tested for aminopyralid by by the Zeilstra family.
Please share your experience if anyone here obtains compost from them or wants to split a load. I've posted this info in the text of this discussion for easier future referencing.

Remember To Grow & Harvest Plants for Your Own Compost!! (& Seaweed)
Be aware of the source of any outside feed or organic matter being brought onto your land.


* Skagit Soils Inc. (360) 424-0199 http://www.skagitsoilsinc.com/5073.html
13260 Ball Road (or google map 14104 Ovenell Rd) Mount Vernon, WA 98273
They are located just east of the Skagit County Garbage Transfer Station off Ovenell Rd.
(address doesn't show up correctly on Mapquest or Google Maps because it is a private road.)
Use 14104 Ovenell Rd. 98273 to get driving directions.
Hours - Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm,
Is anyone doing any research for local sources of animal feed and manure that are free of the problem herbicide?

We are getting rabbits to keep for their manure for our garden. But if we buy hay and other feed that has the herbicide it will get into our garden. We have a small city lot and do not have room to grow feed for the bunnies and later the chickens we plan to get. It will take time to research via going out to the county to ask farmers what they use on their crops....time and gas to do that kind of research. May be necessary or the only way to find out. But not every gardener needs to do that if some of us are willing to team up, do research and report to others via this site.
Or does anyone have another method?

What are our local organic farmers doing for this issue? I only saw one article in the Herald on the topic. In it one organic farmer acknowledged significant damage to his crops and loss of income. I have not heard anything about what is being done to remedy this problem. It seems pretty serious to me if the damage continues for at least several years. The two ways to get it out of the soil are heavy irrigation (washing it out of one location, dispersing it to another) or planting a grass/grain crop, which will up-take the herbicide, then harvesting and destroying that crop. Or total removal of contaminated soil, then rebuilding soil.

If anyone wants to join me to do research please call,
Angela MacLeod
733-3541
Many of us caring for land forget that our unsprayed 'mowed meadows' (lawns) are a great source for organic matter for both garden compost and small animal bedding.
One reason some folks don't have animals, is the many hidden costs of caring for them is subsidized by inexpensive feed or bedding that has Not been grown chemical-free.

Any local dairy farmer who would make the decision to not use these chemicals on their fields, would have many folks wanting their manure & bedding....although that type of dairy farmer also might realize how valuable his cow manure was and be making compost for his own fields.
(I have a small truck if anyone finds a safe source of cow/straw manure...as my one beyond-organic cow/farming friend allows me to fork up the cow manure direct from the field because he understands the true labor & cost of growing the cow, with chemical-free straw & hay, and moving the manure to build compost piles).

My recall is that this herbicide has effected other communities in the past, and that Great Britian has banned the herbicide.....and much of the cow milk that is grown in Whatcom is being dried and exported to outside of the county.

One of my garden-farm friends had her contaminated soil dug out and removed and is sending a bill to Dow for the cost.....another garden friend showed me the soil they had gotton from Grow Source, and it had been there for 3 summer/spring months and it was barren, as in not even weeds were growing in it. (Paul Wheaton took vidoes of both gardeners speaking on the tour Christy & I took him on last week).
I have still not heard back from some mycelium folks to learn what mushroom would be helpful in breaking this chemical down.
As we learn more about what broadleaf plants this chemical kills or harms, then we will be better able to walk (or bicycle past) farmland to visually see that these guardian plants ('weeds') exist on the land, as an indicator that herbicides have not been applied.

The article in the Herald 8/1/10 was very very delayed in being printed (over a month past when farmers reported the damage & phoned them), and its a brief article, but I except the reporter will be writing more, and I look forward to a solution focused informative article.
As I talk to more conventional/chemical farmers, I learn that many of them are much more relaxed about this chemical in the community then I would be. I found one local urban grower who denied using Smits compost, but I found labeled plastic bags of it on pallets near their greenhouse.....
If our county had the citizen awareness & initiative like the British did, we could ban any chemical ag imports from Dow products, as there is no 'away' once something has entered our mouths, our homes, or our watersheds.

I encourage folks with an interest to start a new TW Discussion on the main page so that all members outside of this group can participate, or to continue the conversation on Farmer Walter's blog where all can comment.:

"A New Problem With Commercial Compost":
http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-problem-with...
And, especially to get to know their farmers and the land their food is grown on.

Here is a summary from top of this Organic Matter discussion:

"If you are adding Compost or Organic Matter to your soil from off-site locations or purchasing
– Be-Aware and know your sources or better yet, grow, harvest, incorporate your own organic matter!"


Link on contamination by aminopyralid residues in commercial & offsite compost & manures & soil mixes from Wash State U 7/2010: http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/aminopyralid

"...Herbicide Creates Killer Compost" - article from last year 09 in Mother Earth News:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Grow-It/Milestone-Herbicide-Contamin...

Link on ideas of how to avoid the chemicals, and what to do if your soil is effected:
http://www.the-compost-gardener.com/picloram.html
(link thanks to Laura R)

Angela, thanks for your post and awareness..
I'm with you on doing research
, and lets consider sharing on a wider TW discussion page so more folks can comment. (Ok to call me anytime)
I'm not caught up on all my Whatcom Farmer's emails or TW emails yet, but I've thought that if one of us went to the Sat Farmers Coop and asked around, we might hear of the most recent updates. (Possibly one of our local video TW folks up in Ferndale might be interested in helping out too.)

Have you given the WA University Extension Service a call, or connected with Laura R with Sustainable Connections to see if they have any news to share?

( Angela, I also have a recent source of some rained-on no-spray hay/straw if you are interested give me a call before end of this week!).

Angela MacLeod said:
Is anyone doing any research for local sources of animal feed and manure that are free of the problem herbicide?......If anyone wants to join me to do research please call,
Angela MacLeod
Valuable info shared on herbicide aminopyralid per comment by Laura R on June 28, 2010 in Walter H blog: quote: “The product, marketed as "Milestone Herbicide", introduced in 2006 by Dow AgroSciences, aminopyralid, and according to our extension agent, Craig MacConnell, the chemical is active down to parts per trillion. It is highly persistent for years and minute concentrations will have an effect on plants. They don't yet know how long but are guessing it could take up to 10 years to break down in the soil.

“In Whatcom it is mostly applied on grass pasture for dairy cows, and applied to corn silage crops for cows via the slurry from manure lagoon. (Although similar broad leaf herbicides are used on barley, wheat, and places that grow a lot of grass, like golf courses). It is a bio-accumulator (plants, like grass and corn take it up and then wherever those plants go or are disposed of, they spread the chemical). It also persists in the ground water, and may have an environmental effect on water species.

“The WA Department of Ag is investigating which businesses have take out use applications for Milestone Herbicide. Dow is suggesting the only way to get rid it is to a) grow up a cover crop (in the grass family that will not be effected by it) and burn the cover crop material (and then find place to dispose of the burned material where it won't effect plants), and b) remove 18-24 inches of top soil and dispose of it. Apparently heavy irrigation of the soil can speed up the decomposition, but it is expected to be a very slow process.

“In addition to getting in compost, the bigger issues to be aware of are:
* we have nearly 50,000 cows in Whatcom County, mostly all for dairy production.
Dairies need to get rid of a lot of manure. This will be a significant waste issue very quickly.
* We have many different manure companies and products that use the manure, making it very difficult to trace.
* It is possible, because of the high number of dairies and land that the manure has been spread on that Whatcom County may see a higher damage rate as a whole.
* Lands in Whatcom County will need to be tested before growing vegetables on them
* I am particularly concerned that we may have reduced capacity to successfully grow fresh produce on our lands designated for agriculture for quite some time. Currently we have a little over 80,000 acres designated good agricultural soil. If you are considering buying land for row crops, berries or anything but corn, Aminopyralid will likely effect your production capacity, and therefore it effects all of us......

“Apparently the impacts of its use has been known since the product came out.....” endquote from
http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-problem-with...

Angela MacLeod said:
Is anyone doing any research for local sources of animal feed and manure that are free of the problem herbicide?

We are getting rabbits to keep for their manure for our garden. But if we buy hay and other feed that has the herbicide it will get into our garden. ..... It will take time to research via going out to the county to ask farmers what they use on their crops....time and gas to do that kind of research. May be necessary or the only way to find out. But not every gardener needs to do that if some of us are willing to team up, do research and report to others via this site..... I have not heard anything about what is being done to remedy this problem. It seems pretty serious to me if the damage continues for at least several years. .........If anyone wants to join me to do research please call,Angela MacLeod733-3541
Idea: Everyone go on Craigs list to the Farm and Garden section and do a wanted post like this:

Wanted: hay with clover in it. (if it has clover then it cant have had the herbicide applied)

OR

Wanted: hay with out the HERBICIDE Aminpyralid and manure from animals that have not been fed any food grown with the HERBICIDE Aminpyralid.

And

Tell Grow Source and Smits etc that you want manure/compost/hay with out the HERBICIDE Aminpyralid. Tell them that you know dozens of other gardeners who want this too.

Heather K said:
Many of us caring for land forget that our unsprayed 'mowed meadows' (lawns) are a great source for organic matter for both garden compost and small animal bedding.
One reason some folks don't have animals, is the many hidden costs of caring for them is subsidized by inexpensive feed or bedding that has Not been grown chemical-free.

Any local dairy farmer who would make the decision to not use these chemicals on their fields, would have many folks wanting their manure & bedding....although that type of dairy farmer also might realize how valuable his cow manure was and be making compost for his own fields.
(I have a small truck if anyone finds a safe source of cow/straw manure...as my one beyond-organic cow/farming friend allows me to fork up the cow manure direct from the field because he understands the true labor & cost of growing the cow, with chemical-free straw & hay, and moving the manure to build compost piles).

My recall is that this herbicide has effected other communities in the past, and that Great Britian has banned the herbicide.....and much of the cow milk that is grown in Whatcom is being dried and exported to outside of the county.

One of my garden-farm friends had her contaminated soil dug out and removed and is sending a bill to Dow for the cost.....another garden friend showed me the soil they had gotton from Grow Source, and it had been there for 3 summer/spring months and it was barren, as in not even weeds were growing in it. (Paul Wheaton took vidoes of both gardeners speaking on the tour Christy & I took him on last week).
I have still not heard back from some mycelium folks to learn what mushroom would be helpful in breaking this chemical down.
As we learn more about what broadleaf plants this chemical kills or harms, then we will be better able to walk (or bicycle past) farmland to visually see that these guardian plants ('weeds') exist on the land, as an indicator that herbicides have not been applied.

The article in the Herald 8/1/10 was very very delayed in being printed (over a month past when farmers reported the damage & phoned them), and its a brief article, but I except the reporter will be writing more, and I look forward to a solution focused informative article.
As I talk to more conventional/chemical farmers, I learn that many of them are much more relaxed about this chemical in the community then I would be. I found one local urban grower who denied using Smits compost, but I found labeled plastic bags of it on pallets near their greenhouse.....
If our county had the citizen awareness & initiative like the British did, we could ban any chemical ag imports from Dow products, as there is no 'away' once something has entered our mouths, our homes, or our watersheds.

I encourage folks with an interest to start a new TW Discussion on the main page so that all members outside of this group can participate, or to continue the conversation on Farmer Walter's blog where all can comment.:

"A New Problem With Commercial Compost":
http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-problem-with...
And, especially to get to know their farmers and the land their food is grown on.

Here is a summary from top of this Organic Matter discussion:

"If you are adding Compost or Organic Matter to your soil from off-site locations or purchasing
– Be-Aware and know your sources or better yet, grow, harvest, incorporate your own organic matter!"


Link on contamination by aminopyralid residues in commercial & offsite compost & manures & soil mixes from Wash State U 7/2010: http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/aminopyralid

"...Herbicide Creates Killer Compost" - article from last year 09 in Mother Earth News:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Grow-It/Milestone-Herbicide-Contamin...

Link on ideas of how to avoid the chemicals, and what to do if your soil is effected:
http://www.the-compost-gardener.com/picloram.html
(link thanks to Laura R)

Angela, thanks for your post and awareness..
I'm with you on doing research
, and lets consider sharing on a wider TW discussion page so more folks can comment. (Ok to call me anytime)
I'm not caught up on all my Whatcom Farmer's emails or TW emails yet, but I've thought that if one of us went to the Sat Farmers Coop and asked around, we might hear of the most recent updates. (Possibly one of our local video TW folks up in Ferndale might be interested in helping out too.)

Have you given the WA University Extension Service a call, or connected with Laura R with Sustainable Connections to see if they have any news to share?

( Angela, I also have a recent source of some rained-on no-spray hay/straw if you are interested give me a call before end of this week!).

Angela MacLeod said:
Is anyone doing any research for local sources of animal feed and manure that are free of the problem herbicide?......If anyone wants to join me to do research please call,
Angela MacLeod
If anyone is interested I found a source of herbicide-free horse manure.....Ell Worthington 927-0045.

I have continued to search for hay and composted manure that hasn't been tainted with the herbicide. I found a source of Timothy hay and orchard grass from a local horse person. He said that it had not be sprayed but I didn't feel confident so I am growing a test. I made a concentrated water infusion of the hay to use to water the pea seeds. I got 'clean' potting soil and set up 6 pots. 3 for control using only filtered water. and 3 using the hay water. All the conditions except for the water are the same. So far the sprouts look the same in all the pots. This Timothy hay is for my rabbits to eat, and their manure will be for the garden.

I found a source of 3 month old horse manure from a person who claimed to be sure that there was no herbicide used on their horse feed. Making a personal connection has been enriching. I would prefer cow manure but the dairy farmers I've tried to contact all are extremely busy. It takes time to build connections. have also started keeping rabbits We also have started keeping chickens but that will take time also to generate manure for the garden. I'm new at gardening and there is a lot to learn. We just bought a house on a half acre and the previous owners used some local compost that probably had some of the herbicide as I am seeing some evidence in the plants this season. But it is difficult to know when there could also be other reasons for the mangled growth.

I'm still concerned for the local organic farmers and their livelihood being adversely impacted by this herbicide. I'm surprised that there is so little in the news about it.
Angela

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