Small Growers Offer Organic, Rare Heirloom Plants

| 6/7/2015 4:02:00 PM

Tags: Linda Holliday, Missouri, heirloom plants, neonicotinoids,

brockovich neonicotinoid 

An enlightening chat with my local plant supplier taught me yet another discouraging fact about seedlings sold by large commercial nurseries. Many are treated with neonicotinoids to kill insects, hormones to retard plant growth and yet more poisons to prevent disease. Then, the plants are doused in chemical fertilizers to keep them unnaturally green until sold.

Unfortunately, there is usually no way of knowing what toxins may have been used on those plants.

“Most big growers spray their plants to keep them small and compact so they look nice in a pack,” Margie Lennington, owner of Lazy Ox Farm of Alton, Mo., told me when I stopped to learn more about the plants she sells. “Big growers aren’t thinking about your harvest or how that plant will grow for you when you get it home.”

In a snap, Margie listed four solid reasons we should all buy local, organic seedlings: The plants are adapted to the environment, the nursery does not use hazardous chemicals, buyers can have a conversation with the people who grew the plants, and we’re supporting small growers.

Especially horrifying in big-ag is the now common practice of treating seedlings or soil with neonicotinoids. The plants take the chemical up systemically through their roots, deterring pests.  Neonicotinoids can’t be washed off – and they kill bees.

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