Transition Whatcom

The Herald recently reported on the local use of a new herbicide being used on crops which passes through dairy cattle and stays viable in their manure. A lot of this dairy manure is used in organic farming making it's way into the produce that the co-op sells. This herbicide is also in a lot of the local composted manure and soil mixes that are sold to local gardeners for use in their gardens. Gardeners and farmers are finding damaged crops due to this herbicide. The herbicide continues cycling through different systems as it takes a long time to disperse or break down. for more info see the article and follow up on the links:

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/08/01/1549538/herbicide-tainte...

I suggest that the Co-op find out more information about this herbicide and let the community know more about it, how to avoid it in their gardens, find out if our organic produce has traces of the herbicide in it and does it contaminate our gardens when we put tainted produce into our kitchen compost? Where can we buy compost and potting soil with out the herbicide? What are the local organic farmers who sell to  the Co-op doing about this herbicide. Is there anyway we can help our farmers with this issue as the herbicide reduces their crop yields ?


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Agreed! Thanks Angela! I look forward to us all sharing solutions and protecting our communities soils, water, forests.
I'm also interested in what the local organic farmers have to say, and whether there will be a consideration of boycotting the certification process of buying the label "Organic", when in reality the certification process does not reflect the truth of what the care of the soil life is, or whether there are chemicals coming indirectly from application of dairy compost or straw/hay.

I'm interested in the coop creating an event that invites the local farmers to share what they need to be able to continue farming and caring for the land....and then taking a united stand to support them.
I bought five-way last year that must have had this in it...the photos on the WSU extension link look just like my poor plants. I filled some deep raised beds with this soil...short of doing the backbreaking work of trying to shovel it all back out, I have been adding in our own aged compost from the chicken coop. This year it seems a little better...but I have yet to hear in any of the articles whether the dairy farms are going to discontinue the herbicide, or if the soil producers are going to start making sure they only buy compost from herbicide-free cows, or what. I mean, what's the plan? Anybody know?
Make your own compost. The solutions are not easy or fast

Kate, The topic is big and an old one. .
Don't spread any tainted compost or soil around further than it already is.

Become aware that anything you bring onto your land could contain some unknown unwanted element and be very very selective with anything you bring onto your land, or into the mouths of your family or animals.

There is a need to start a TW Discussion that is seperate from all the groups so all TW members can post without having to join a group, and to have one location to post experiences, solutions, links to information.(Volunteer anyone?....I have info I could pass onto whoever wants to organize the text & resources to a link)

I hear you Kate asking about a plan...I'm not sure the Dow chemical company who benefits monitarily from the sale of the chemical is interested in a plan or solution – yet.
Apparently this herbicide is one that is not as bad as the earlier ones.....remember these companies often tweak a few chemical bonds and make a new product when an old one gets banned.

It may be we the people who protect our soils & waters and educate our children who become the next farmers how to care for the land & animals without adding these poisons.
My instincts are that fungal or mycorestoration would be most effective, and finding a safe location to put the elemental chemicals once they are pulled out of the soil/water.


A lot of information has been already shared online between Whatcom farmer & gardeners since back in June. (It took until august before paper/radio was willing to share info publicly)
Many people have been effected and many more awakening to what is happening.


I just spoke with mycelium advocate JC today and he checked his research resources but they do not list this specific chemical herbicide, but he has some ideas, and is willing to assist a farmer/gardener who has land to do some trials.

what I would like to know is who are the volunteer & salaried groups of individuals that are working on the solutions? (other than us)
What is the UW Ag Extension Service doing and where are they sharing what is being done.?
Is Sustainable Connections Farm program playing a role and where is the link to learn what they are learning & doing?
Is the Community Coop putting staff time towards this issue, and where is there information. The information flow and transparency is very lacking, other than what we are providing here on our own time as volunteer citizens.
Is one of the local Whatcom Farmers groups working on this?
The fair is coming up soon, should be a lot of local dairy farmers around to learn about their perceptive, which might be different than some of ours.

Some info is posted on TW at these two locations, and these links provide links to even more info.

Compost & Animal Poo & Organic Matter Locations (discussion within Earth Gardens group)
http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/group/organic/forum/topics/compos...

A New Problem With Commercial Compost (blog by Farmer Walter)
http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/profiles/blogs/a-new-problem-with...

It would be helpful if someone would volunteer to contact this Kate Halstead, and then request that we be able to post the information that she has to share....She wrote helpful info in a group email, and I think she might be a good source to start with:

Conact her at:: Kate Halstead Agriculture Workshops
WSU Snohomish County Extension
Everett, WA 98208-6353
C-360.794.6081 W-425.357.6024
khalstead@wsu.edu
www.snohomish.wsu.edu

A cut from her email: “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/

Walter, great to read your thoughts!! Hope to hear from other farmers also!!

Kate Clark said:
I bought five-way last year that must have had this in it...............I have yet to hear in any of the articles whether the dairy farms are going to discontinue the herbicide, or if the soil producers are going to start making sure they only buy compost from herbicide-free cows, or what. I mean, what's the plan? Anybody know?

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