The importance of avoiding toxic, persistent chemicals cannot be overstated. It’s not only about pollution in our bodies and environment, but it’s also about the philosophical difference in how farmers consider ecology. Farming is the most direct way humans manipulate the earth, interacting with soil, water and biodiversity. While judicious use of chemicals certainly has a place in our modern society, the tendency to apply chemicals as the first response to weeds and pests leads to many global ecological problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 5 billion pounds of pesticides are applied annually to farms, forests, lawns, and golf courses in the United States. This has a myriad of known and unknown effects, including the growing dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, where no marine life can live due to deoxygenation caused by synthetic nitrogen fertilizer runoff.
It feels more important than ever to look back on Rachel Carson’s ground breaking book Silent Spring, which when published in 1962, helped launch the modern environmental movement with a new recognition of ecology. In it, Carson informed the world about the dangers of chemical overuse and its effect on everything from pesticide resistance to birth defects, infertility, and cancer. These concerns have not gone away, and if anything, have only become more pronounced as our landscapes continue to receive excessive doses of chemicals.
At Annie’s, we believe healthy alternatives do exist, and organic farming is one that we’re proud to champion.