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Soil Organic Matter Is the Secret to Good Food




The majority of food produced as meats in the U.S. comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), industrialized systems that, by their very nature, degrade the ecosystems around them. But “to be economical and efficient, farming needs healthy ecosystems,” notes “A Regenerative Secret,” the important documentary video above.

This stark contrast between two farming methods is at the heart of the film. One, the industrialized model favored in the U.S., is steadily destroying the environment while the other, known as regenerative agriculture, is trying to rebuild it.

Why CAFOs Are Destroying the Planet

CAFOs house hundreds to even millions of animals in small spaces, confining animals into unnatural, mostly indoor (often windowless) settings where disease propagates and animal welfare is an afterthought. Some CAFOs, such as those for livestock, may also include feedlots, where animals may roam outdoors.

But unlike the green pastures you may envision when you picture cows grazing outside, feedlots crowd hundreds of thousands of cattle into small pens that are devoid of greenery. The animals trample over mud, dust and an excess of feces and urine, which washes into nearby waterways.

Raising large numbers of animals in such an unhealthy system leads to disastrous environmental outputs. According to the environmental organization Sierra Club:1

The amount of urine and feces produced by the smallest CAFO is equivalent to the quantity of urine and feces produced by 16,000 humans.

CAFO waste is usually not treated to reduce disease-causing pathogens, nor to remove chemicals, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals or other pollutants.

Waste is often collected into noxious “lagoons” for storage or sprayed onto neighboring fields.

Over 168 gases are emitted from CAFO waste, including hazardous chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and methane.

Airborne particulate matter is found near CAFOs and can carry disease-causing bacteria, fungus or other pathogens.

Animals frequently die in CAFOs. Their carcasses, often in large numbers, must be dealt with.

Infestations of flies, rats and other vermin are commonplace around CAFOs and therefore around CAFO neighbors.

CAFOs Devastate Water, Air and Soil

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), manure from industrial agriculture is the primary source of nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways.2 The resulting damage includes an excess of nutrients that lead to algae overgrowth, depleting the water of oxygen and killing fish and other marine life in expansive dead zones.

This, combined with the excess fertilizers applied to monocrops like corn and soy (much of them used to feed CAFO animals), sends a steady stream of nitrogen and phosphorus to both surface and groundwater, spreading potentially disease-causing organisms and unsustainable amounts of nutrients along the way.

In fact, in the U.S., agriculture poses the greatest threat to water quality and is single-handedly impairing drinking water supplies across the country. CAFOs are also toxic to the air. Research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters demonstrated that in certain densely populated areas, emissions from farming far outweigh other sources of particulate matter air pollution.3

As nitrogen fertilizers break down into their component parts, ammonia, a byproduct of fertilizer and animal waste, is released into the air. When ammonia in the atmosphere reaches industrial areas, it combines with pollution from diesel and petroleum combustion, creating microparticles.

CAFO workers and neighboring residents alike report higher incidence of asthma, headaches, eye irritation and nausea. Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also revealed that markers of lung function were related to how far people lived from CAFOs.4

The closer they lived to the factory farms, and the greater the density of livestock, the more impairments in lung function were revealed. Lung function of neighboring residents declined in concert with increased levels of CAFO-caused ammonia air pollution, the study revealed.5

At the same time, CAFOs and the industrial monocrops used to feed CAFO animals destroy soil, depleting it of nutrients and adding an excess of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

For example, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide globally, shuts down amino acid synthesis, followed by inhibition of protein synthesis necessary for plant growth. When that happens, it makes the plant more susceptible to pathogens in the soil.

Glyphosate also acts as a mineral chelator, and minerals such as zinc, copper, and manganese act as cofactors in many enzymes. This mineral suppression opens the plant up to disease and when minerals are bound to glyphosate in the plant, they will not be available to your body when you eat it. Instead, those minerals will be excreted or stored in your body along with the glyphosate

Regenerative Farming Rebuilds the Earth

Regenerative agriculture is the opposite of industrial farming. Where CAFOs pollute and destroy the soil, regenerative farming rebuilds it. Allen Williams, Ph.D., a sixth-generation farmer and chief ranching officer for Joyce Farms, is described as the “grass fed guru” in the featured film. He explains how regenerative farming restores and increases soil organic matter, leading to a number of beneficial outcomes.

For starters, soil organic matter is 50 percent carbon, so by rebuilding soil they’re putting carbon into the ground. The importance of carbon sequestration simply cannot be overstated. Not only will it reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) load in the atmosphere, but once sequestered in the soil, the carbon actively nourishes soil health and improves water retention.

Adding just 1 percent soil organic matter to the earth means every acre can hold another 25,000 gallons of water, according to Williams. “When you contrast that with the average farm and ranch across North America, water infiltration rate is less than a half-inch an hour,” he says.

With classic industrial farming, this means the water will either evaporate or run off, carrying with it topsoil (more than four tons per acre are lost this way annually, Williams says), along with nitrates and phosphates that run off into waterways, creating significant environmental issues. Regenerative farming, on the other hand, reduces the need for irrigation, which currently accounts for 70 percent of the world’s total fresh water usage.

Regenerative Farming Builds New Soil Organic Matter

According to Williams, by using regenerative agriculture techniques, they’re able to build new soil organic matter at a rate of 0.5 percent to 1 percent annually. For comparison, a 0.4 percent increase in the world’s soil organic matter would completely negate all current CO2 emissions. What techniques are used to create this impressive output?

In short, they try to mimic what bison once did as they roamed the plains, by creating different paddocks where cattle are moved multiple times a day, a practice known as adaptive, rotational grazing.

This prevents overgrazing, allowing the grass in one area to grow back while the animals graze in another, and promotes fertility and growth. Additional principles of regenerative agriculture, as described by Williams’ Joyce Farms on their website, include:6

Build Soil Health — By farming without harsh chemicals and tilling, regenerative agriculture allows microbes in the soil to thrive. These microbes are essential for preventing runoff and nourishing plant growth. “Soil doesn’t work without microbes,” they say, as soil should be alive, not dead. “Dead soil cannot hold carbon, so it is released into the atmosphere as CO2.”

Diverse Cover Crops and Plant Life — Planting a diverse variety of plants increases microbial populations and organic matter in the soil, while also covering and protecting the earth. “By introducing a diverse variety of plants to the soil, the microbial population in the soil becomes stronger. With soil life, ecosystems thrive,” they say.

No Till — Tilling destroys soil structure and reduces soil organic matter while increasing weeds and the release of CO2.

No Chemical Inputs — The use of chemicals like fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides kill off beneficial species, like pollinators, and pollute waterways with chemical runoff. It’s also a relatively recent practice that traditionally was not part of farming.

“For hundreds of years chemicals where not needed or used in farming because, sensibly, chemical inputs aren’t needed when you are working with (not against) the systems Mother Nature already has in place,” the Joyce Farms website explains.

Livestock Integration — Rather than housing livestock separately from other animals and crops, livestock is integrated into a symbiotic, complementary system that mimics the way nature works.

“The way we do this at Joyce Farms is by mimicking the dense herds of grazing ruminants that used to roam across America, grazing and trampling plants into the soil. This trampling provides an armor of plant life for the soil and feeds the soil microbes.”

Why Aren’t More Farmers Adapting the Regenerative Way?

Interest in regenerative farming is growing, but it still represents less than 2 percent of farms in the U.S. According to Allen, regenerative farmers make up just one-tenth of 1 percent of the entire U.S. population. Why aren’t more farmers doing it? “It’s just because people don’t know,” the featured film notes.

One common misconception is that in order to farm in a way that’s good for the environment, you can’t make a lot of money. In reality, Williams was able to increase production on his farm fivefold in the last three years without the use of imported water, feed, fertilizer or pesticides.

With the improved soil health, he’s now growing 3.5 times more forage per acre, which means he can also carry more cows per acre, bringing in more profit. In addition, as organic matter in the soil has been rebuilt, plant growth and diversity thrives. This has resulted in a return of significant wildlife populations, including but not limited to deer, ground-nesting bird species and wild turkeys.

Beneficial insect populations that are vital to fertilization and propagation of plants are also positively impacted. Allen has noted a significant return in the pollinator insect population and other beneficial organisms like earthworm and dung beetles on farms that have adopted regenerative land management principles. He says:

“We know how profound this impact is, not just on farmers and ranchers and their ability to make a good living but also on the rural economies surrounding these farms and ranches. We can rebuild our ecosystem, our degraded soils and our degraded water cycles. That’s what excites me. And we’re creating an opportunity to bring young people back into agriculture.”

How to Support Regenerative Farming

One of the most straightforward ways is to seek out grass fed food from regenerative farmers, via local farms, farmers markets or food co-ops. You may also be able to find sustainably grown food at small local markets and online.

Foods from Joyce farms, for example, are available not only online but also at select farmers markets and retail locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Georgia and Tennessee. If you’re not sure how the food was raised, ask questions of the shop owner or farmer to find out.

In addition, consumers can unite to support policies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), EPA and others that support regenerative agricultural practices while voting against policies that are detrimental to regenerative farmers.

In your own backyard, you can also stop using agricultural chemicals in favor of regenerative practices like not tilling and using mulch and compost. By creating a regenerative garden in the spring, it will allow you to improve soil microbiology on a small scale while also rewarding you with fresh, nutrient-rich food.

Every little bit helps, and the more individuals and larger scale farms move away from industrial methods to regenerative ones, the faster the Earth will heal and the brighter the future becomes.


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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high




(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine




(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states




In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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