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RE: vegetable washing - a necessity

On 08/25/99 09:41:43 you wrote:
>If you grow aerated vegetables (tomatos, beans, spinach etc.) rather than
>root veggies, then it's not a real problem. If you're doing an organic
>garden instead of using every toxic chemical onder the sun, then a washing
>station is not necessary.

Be careful of what you say here. "Organic" doesn't mean "pure" and "safe" automatically. Whereas 
a "staion" may not be necessary, washing, I feel, is essential.

Several points merit washing of organic produce, especially in an urban area:

1) Produce can carry microbial life that can cause illness, even if it's organically grown.

2) "Organic" does not mean "unsprayed." There are botanic and biological pest controls that are 
organic that we should not ingest. For example, applying the well-known neem oil requires full 
protective clothing including rubber gloves, a respirator and goggles. No contact with the skin 
should be had. Neem is derived from the neem tree, native to India. It is used in certified 
organic food production, but IS NOT "safe," per se.

3) Urban rain and air can carry unhealthy substances to produce. Not washing produce from a 
garden that is subject to the air of urban traffic and industry is not wise. Even if a garden is 
not near concentrations of these pollutions, rain can carry them to the garden from elsewhere.

4) If the garden program is teaching marketing and/or presentation of produce, washing is a 
must, and is a skill specific to each vegetable, not just a flush of water any old way.

5) Soil, insects and frass, which are not desirable to ingest, can be present in the folds of 
leaves but not readily visible at a glance. Thus, any person in any situation would want to wash 
their produce.

I hope this helps to keep a perspective that there a many reasons to take certain informed 
measures and precautions in all aspects of growing and consuming produce, including that which 
is organic. This is not suggesting a paranoid, "the whole world is dangerous" mentality, but 
rather promoting awareness of what one is dealing with, and how to appropriately respond.

Happy Gardening!

John Edward Verin
Senior Apprentice
Ecosystem Farm
Accokeek, MD

"The world is not to be put in order; the world is order incarnate.
It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order."
- Henry Miller

Food is power... are you in control of yours?

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