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Pesticide alternatives & food safety

The recent concerns that have arisen in Shady Valley over the use of pesticides on crops and their possible effects on people has given food for thought on possible farming alternatives and food safety. While the use of pesticides has its purpose, there are many people worldwide who are apprehensive about the possible health effects on both people and animals.
All gardeners, both novice and experienced, will acknowledge that raising and maintaining a garden takes a lot of work and perseverance. There is weeding, watering and feeding the crop, control of insects and diseases, along with harvesting the crops.
All pesticides within the United States must be tested and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be deemed safe for human use. It is crucial that guidelines set by the EPA are followed when applying any sort of pesticide. Directions for the application of these pesticides must be strictly adhered to. When used properly and according to strict guidelines, pesticides can offer benefits such as increased crop production. However, pesticides not only harm plant pests and insects that destroy crops, but they can be harmful to people and to the environment.
Even though a farm may be considered organic, the growers still need to deal with pests, explained University of Tennessee Johnson County Director, Rick Thomason. Tamara McNaughton of Johnson County Farmers Market and Johnson County Food Security Council recently explained the concept of integrated pest management in relation to organic farming. According to McNaughton, the goal of integrated pest management is to manage crops and control pests in such a way that it does not cause ecological damage. The purpose is not to remove every pest, but to keep them under control.

For complete article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk