Thursday, April 18, 2013

Persistent Herbicides Contaminating Animal Manures Making them "Killer Compost"

As an organic gardener, I'm concerned about the increased use with inadequate labeling of persistent herbicides such as picloram and clopyralid.  To read more on this issue, see this excellent article from Mother Earth News.

If you want to take action as suggested in the article, you could send an email to the EPA at this address:

Here is a letter that I wrote to the EPA that you may use as a template.  I'm sure you all can tailor it better.

Mr. Keigwin,

I am an organic gardener who is trying to garden vegetables at home to improve the health of my family and reduce our environmental impact by eating very locally.  I was surprised recently to learn that I can no longer compost horse manure to reuse as a fertilizer for our garden as it may be contaminated with persistent herbicides such as picloram and clopyralid.  Since these herbicides can persist through the animal ingesting the sprayed food product, get into the manure, and even remain after composting, they may still be present in the composted manure.  It is so sad that we as a country are allowing a potentially reusable resource like animal manures to become contaminated with herbicides that make it into a true waste product rather than a reusable resource.  These herbicides are too harmful to our farming cycle to continue to be legal.  I hope the EPA will change its policy toward these herbicides.


Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Bread

Using the Grain-Free GF Flour Blend I just posted, I use it in my bread machine to bake a "Large Loaf (1.5 pound)" .  And in my new bread machine I use the "Gluten Free" setting.

1.5 cups water
2 Tbs olive oil
1.5 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
4 cups GF flour blend
1 tsp guar gum
1/4 tsp gelatin
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast


Grain-Free Gluten Free Flour Blend

Here is the flour blend I use to make yeast bread, quick breads, cookies, cupcakes, etc.  It is my all-purpose baking flour since I'm allergic to almost all grains.  I blend it ahead of time using a whisk to get it evenly distributed, then I store it until I use it.  I do it by weight with a scale so I don't know the cup measurements but here it is:

Potato Starch 24 oz
Gar/Fava Bean Flour 13 oz
Tapioca Flour 5 oz
Coconut Flour 2 oz (I like the lightly sweet scent this adds)
Mesquite Flour 1 oz (I like the slightly chocolatey scent this adds and the color)

Sometimes I used to also add one of these GRAINS, but I no longer do:
Amaranth Flour 2 oz
OR Wild Rice Flour 2 oz

When all the eaters are able to use nuts, sometimes I'll use about 2/3 volume of this GF flour in recipes and the remaining 1/3 volume I'll use almond meal.  I've done this in yeast breads, quick breads, cookies and cupcakes.

I hope someone finds this useful!