Buy & Bake Organic
Now let me preface this by saying that I am not an environmental, political or nutritional zealot. I just try to be sensible and practical/moderate in all things. So I'm not trolling for an argument here. But recent news motivates me to address this online community of bread, baking and, importantly, wheat enthusiasts.
A US court has decided that it is likely enough that a plaintiff developed cancer from repeated and prolonged exposure to RoundUp herbicide to rule in favor of his suit against Monsanto/Bayer. Mind you, this is a court, not the National Academy of Sciences, so the finding is a bit, well, American. This, coupled with recent reports, echoed just the other day in a post right here on Fresh Loaf, of wheat farmers using RoundUp to kill off their crops for a 'clean' and uniform harvest, motivates my little pitch here.
I lived on a midwest farm for 20+ years before moving to California. I used RoundUp to kill poison ivy and to keep the weeds down on the quarter-mile gravel lane connecting our rural road to our house. I followed all the prescribed precautionary practices (gloves, mask etc) but always dreaded the chore. Neighboring farmers hired contract applicators to spray RoundUp on their RoundUp-Ready soybeans every year. I also have indirect professional connections with some of the guys at Monsanto who researched and developed RoundUp Ready crops. So I know the stuff well. It is a bloody awful chemical. That wheat farmers would treat with RoundUp a crop destined for direct human consumption, so close to harvest, is almost as amazing and appalling as any regulatory agency, Canadian or American, signing off on such a practice.
At home, we buy exclusively organic fruit and veg for our household's strictly vegetarian cuisine (my wife has an inherited intolerance of meat and I just eat her way). We buy organic not because we have ever thought it "healthier" than conventional. The USDA organic standard is a compromise, after all. No, we are both university biologists and it's more an environmental vote with our pocketbook not to support chemical agriculture and farming practices that disrespect land and life. But now, in the case of wheat, there IS a case to be made for "organic is healthier" because non-organic grain products are likely to contain measurable quantities of glyphosate -- not exactly a health-promoting additive.
My simple plea here is for TFL's bread and baking enthusiasts to buy and bake organic, so as not to support these kinds of -- let's call it what it is -- sociopathic agricultural practices.