By Contributing Author: Sharon A. See
Most produce, meat, and poultry products you find in the grocery store unless labeled otherwise, are grown, raised or produced by what's known as “Big Ag” and or Factory Farming operations. Big Ag operations are huge commercial farms that typically grow one crop over and over again. The sole purpose is high yield, not high quality or nutritional value. This style of crop management can lead to over-farming of the land which depletes the soil. Huge amounts of pesticides, herbicides and chemically based fertilizers are used. Here you will also find a very high rate of GMO use.
Factory farming is the industrialized production of livestock. These animals are raised in deplorable and inhumane environments. These filthy, unsanitary conditions require the constant use of antibiotics. The animals are also injected with or fed growth hormones to enhance the rate of growth so they can be brought to market in shorter periods of time than the natural growth cycle would allow. These practices produce some of the most chemical-laden and unhealthy food products in our food supply. All the chemicals, antibiotics and hormones the animals ingest are passed along to the consumer of the meat, milk, eggs and other food products made from these animals.
Fourth grade teacher and Science Coach Chris Treat has been leading students and teachers at Monroe Elementary School in a school-wide gardening effort. He also provides lesson plans for the teachers to implement with their students in the garden. Each student has had the opportunity to plant in the school garden this year and many crops were started from seed in the cafeteria while others were transplants.
This season, they'll be at The Monroe Farmers' Market selling some of what they've grown, including beans, beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, peppers, radishes, tomatoes, herbs, cut flowers and sunflowers.
The Monroe Farmers' Market is open June–October and offers fresh, locally-grown produce, baked goods, prepared foods and hand-crafted specialty foods to Connecticut locals.