Coffee klatch, Food safety, Growing good food, Take action
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Neurotoxins with your strawberries, Ma’am?

Ripe organic strawberries fresh from the supermarket

When farmer Jim Cochran walked into his strawberry patch before dawn one morning, he didn’t know that, by the time the sun rose, he would be sick, poisoned by powerful pesticides.

To protect his crop from predatory insects, just before daylight he’d had his strawberry fields sprayed. The bright sun activated those chemicals on his strawberry plants–and on him after he walked through the rows, contaminating his clothing and skin with the toxic soup.

Reeling with the effects of the poison, Jim thought about his farm workers, exposed to those pesticides many times a season. When he recovered, he knew he had to do something, not just for himself and his family, but for the consumers–you and me–who bought his strawberries, and for the farm workers who bring them to us so cheaply.

And so was born the organic strawberry movement. Watch Jim’s story here.

Strawberries top the Dirty Dozen

Today, conventionally grown strawberries top the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen–that list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues likely to end up in our bodies. Those pesticides include powerful neurotoxins, known carcinogens, hormone disruptors and much more, risking our health, and our children’s.

Cochran’s sudden illness that morning, directly related to the chemicals he’d exposed himself to, woke him up, not only to the risk to his family and his customers, but to the workers he employed. He changed how he grew his strawberries. He changed his employment practices too.

“It costs a lot more money to farm this way,” EarthJustice, who produced this video, quotes Cochran, “but I don’t see any point in farming organically without paying a proper wage and providing good benefits and working conditions.”

Protect yourself and your family

What's on my food? See the button to the right? Click on it to learn what pesticides are showing up on your strawberries, or any other of dozens of common foods you and I eat every day.

According to the Pesticide Action Network, in 2009, USDA scientists found 45 pesticide residues on strawberries bound for our tables. Of those

  • Six are known or probable carcinogens
  • Sixteen are suspected hormone disruptors
  • Seven are neurotoxins
  • Six are developmental or reproductive toxins
  • Twelve are toxic to honeybees

Get those pesticides off the shelf!

How? I’m just one person. You’re just one person. Apart from paying more for organic strawberries, what can you and I do to keep these toxic chemicals out of our bloodstreams, out of our food supply and off the shelf? Plenty.

Here’s one easy answer for you right now: Sign the petition. Go to the EarthJustice web site and sign their petition to ban dangerous neurotoxic pesticides that are poisoning workers and damaging children’s brains.

Here’s another: Support organizations like EWG and EarthJustice. Even a small donation helps. Drops in a bucket, right? Your drops. My drops. Your sister’s drops. Your neighbor’s.

And a third: Pass this information along any way and every way you can.

Sign the petition for Earth Day 2016

Tomorrow we celebrate Earth Day for the forty-sixth time. Taking these three steps above are one small way you and I can make a big difference in what’s to come.

Won’t you sign the petition linked above? Then come back and tell me what you think.

How much did you know about pesticides on your food already? What did you learn new today? What changes for you, going forward? What else can we do to help protect our food supply and the workers who bring our food to us? If you could imagine a world where everyone had enough nutritious, healthy, vibrant food to eat, what would that world be like? What would your typical day be like?

♥  ♥  ♥

Shared on:
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Hop #107
Real Food Fridays #136 – Healthy organic living is our goal
Plant-Based Party Linkup #83


  1. Thanks so much for posting this Kathryn! You provide such valuable information and ways for us all to be proactive. I believe there is power in our pocketbooks and in our voices. Our food shopping choices matter. I don’t buy strawberries unless they are organic and do speak out by contacting the FDA, my elected officials, and manufacturers and farmers either to tell them to keep up the good work or shame on them. Nancy Andres @

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. The information you share really hits home. I was reluctant to press play on the video, scared that it would be another bad news food story. It started that way, but ended up being a story of hope and social justice!

    I am making the shift from “buying organic when it’s available” to buying “what is available as organic”, if that makes sense. In other words, perhaps I can’t always buy certain products, if the organic, non-GMO version isn’t available.

    Now, more than ever, I can’t wait for our own strawberry crop to start producing.

    Thanks, again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure, Leah. I know it’s tough finding all organic food. Thankfully, the EWG puts out their Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists each year (linked to in the article) so we can focus on those if our choices are limited.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree! This is such important information for people to realize! I love strawberries but I only buy organic. We have to make eating organic a habit!
    Thank you so much for sharing Neurotoxins with your strawberries, Ma’am? with us on the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m pinning and sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Kathryn,
    What a wonderful article. This hits me on a personal note since I have MCS and have to very careful of what I eat and what is on the food. I make sure I eat as much organic and local as possible. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marla. I looked up “MCS” and remembered seeing a documentary some years ago about people who have it so severely they all moved to a town somewhere in the southwest where they carefully monitor any chemicals permitted in the town. Scary stuff. I wish you well.


  5. Seeking Joyful Simplicity says

    I was just thinking of strawberries and pesticides as I consider whether to take my children strawberry picking. We moved to a new part of the state, and although the local farmers downplay their pesticide use and the dangers, I know the strawberries are heavily sprayed. Thinking about my children consuming those poisons and turning all that delicious goodness into jams makes me shudder. Thank you for the great post!
    Visiting from Real Food Friday blog hop!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome. Glad it came out at just the right moment. Hope you can find an organic grower nearby, or one who is working toward certification. It takes years here in California to get certification, and the farmer has to grow using only organic methods during that entire years-long process, so we are lucky to find in-process growers now and then.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for writing this article about such an important topic.

    These toxic chemicals are especially bad because they infect people without any warning.

    Thus, I buy only organic produce.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Steve. Like you, I buy only organic. Unfortunately many cannot and others have little access, so we must work to get these chemicals out of the food stream. Thank you for your support.


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