We talk about farmers dousing our land in Roundup, and the dangers that causes to our health and the Earth. It’s why we buy organic. But what a lot of people don’t know is that this same chemical cocktail is being sprayed in lawns and parks all around us. Homeowners use 10 times more Roundup per acre than farmers do. Not only are our neighbors spraying it all over the place, but so are we – through our tax dollars, which the city spends on Roundup to spray in the parks. It’s in this park we’re standing in right now, in the rings around the trees, where the deadzones are. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Anyone who’s enjoyed dandelion coffee or blackberry syrup or garlic mustard pesto, or who’s drank red clover flower or mullein leaf tea, or who’s made a salve with St Johns Wort, understands how useful weeds can be for us.
The city of Portland and Metro kill very useful edible and medicinal wild plants using Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup. Our tax dollars go directly into Monsanto’s pockets. If you talk to people who work for Metro, or for the Portland parks, they’ll tell you that they trust Monsanto’s claims that Roundup is safe. But I don’t trust Monsanto. In two instances, the EPA caught labs hired by Monsanto falsifying data on Roundup to make it sound safer than it is. The European Union lists its active ingredient, glyphosate, as “dangerous for the environment” and “toxic to aquatic organisms.” Studies link also it to birth defects in animals exposed to it and to cancer. The EPA is actually now re-evaluating Roundup’s active ingredient and is considering banning it in 2015.
We’re Portland. We’re supposed to be leading the nation in being green. All around the country, cities are banning the use of pesticides, especially Roundup, in their parks. Ninety percent of Chicago’s parks are chemical-free. The parks in Boulder, Colorado, banned Roundup. Why not Portland?
To browse some of the useful wild plants available this season, visit my new Search Plants! page.
– Urban Foraging 101 tomorrow (Sunday May 26), 2 pm to 5 pm, in NE Portland. $40. Info here.
– Stinging Nettle guided plant-spirit meditation, 7 pm to 9 pm Thursday June 6, in NE Portland. $20 to $40 sliding scale. Info here.
– Herbal Medicine 101 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday June 23 in SE Portland. $45, including medicines and materials. Info here.