. What is on your plate? What are you eating? - Castoponics

The foods we consume today are very different than what they used to be. Every person purchasing food from local markets, farmers’ markets or grocery store chains would like to believe they are ingesting wholesome grains, fresh fruits, and vitamin enriched vegetables. Unfortunately, we are NOT! Currently, we are being provided and eating nutritionally ‘empty’ foods filled with chemicals from pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. For example, if you are eating Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) like potatoes, some strawberries, or a few of the many high-cost veggies or fruits commonly found in your local grocer, you are likely to be consuming up to 67 different chemicals! What does this mean to you? Well, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides and 30% of insecticides can cause several fatal health problems like cancer, immune deficiencies, and nervous system issues-just to name a few! Even washing your produce, thoroughly, does not protect you from those nasty counterparts unable to be washed away. In a study performed by the USDA, even power washing vegetables and fruits didn’t remove the harmful hitchhikers. Lots of different chemicals are sprayed & instantly absorbed into our fruits or vegetables when pesticides & herbicides are continuously sprayed, numerous times, over the growth cycle of the plant. Sadly, pesticides are only one part of the problem. The use of inorganic or synthetic fertilizers are being used in mass quantities as farmers attempt to replenish the soil barren of any nutrients left to grow any plants. What’s the outcome: Chemical remnants in the produce we consume and now our fruits and vegetables fail to replace what ‘Mother Nature’ originally intended. Our colorful salads and delectable fruit slices are as nutritious as your favorite candy bar.

Laboratory studies show that pesticides have severe harmful effects, such as birth defects, nerve damage and pose multiple health risks to children. Studies clearly establish a link between pesticides and health problems such as diabetes, weakened immune system, attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in children and nervous system disorders. Pesticides can irritate the skin or eyes and may affect the hormone or endocrine system in the body.

EPA’s human health risk assessments for many pesticides are available on the web; check-it out! Dr. Philip Landrigan, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York says that our children are the most vulnerable.

Why would anyone knowingly take that risk? Pesticides are designed to kill things and come with all kinds of horrific labels and hazardous warnings. Yet we eat them! Feed them to our family! Serve them to our friends! It just doesn’t make any sense. Workers are required to be covered from head to toe in chemical suites with respirators and gloves, in some instances; they even must go through special detox/cleanup procedures after handling produce. But the government and big agribusinesses want consumers to think it is okay. It is NOT okay!

Many people have opted for eating organic and do not allow GMO or genetically modified crops or ingredients in their diets. In contrast, you have corporate moguls like Monsanto that have been developing and seeking approval for GMO crops such as alfalfa, corn and soy-and are winning. This is a problem because, it is known that there is currently more organic produce being sold, than actually is being grown, which means some produce labeled as “organic” is NOT. Corporations are about profit, not our health and are telling us anything at our own expense. The only way to combat this is to know, factually, what you eat.

This issue is, on top of the other concern of, — So what is being fed to the livestock that becomes the meat and dairy products we eat as our daily meals. Is it the same GMO, “organic”, pesticide, herbicide foods being planted?

Organic foods typically cost more than conventional foods. In part, the higher price is related to the use of “natural” fertilizer and labor-intense pest control tactics. Regulations limit the number of pesticide products available to organic producers; however, it does not eliminate all pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. Both organic and conventional animal products, on the other hand, have repeatedly been shown to be widely contaminated with harmful pathogens. The reviewers found that the differences in contamination between organic and conventional products were statistically insignificant.

So now you attempt to buy food “natural.” When you buy food labeled “natural,” what exactly are you getting? Well, when it sits on a food label in the US, the word “natural” has no regulated definition. “Natural” can mean any number of different things, depending on where in the US you are, who the food manufacturer is and what store is carrying the product.

Eating “organic” or “natural” foods is highly likely you are consuming up to 32 different types of chemical agents. A study, published this July of 2014 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed 17 human studies and 223 studies on nutrient density and contamination levels and concluded that, so far, published literature “lacks strong evidence” that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional alternatives.

The review found that, overall, organic produce is 30 percent less likely to contain detectable pesticides, compared to conventional produce; however, the vast majority of all produce, organic or conventional tested fell below government safety tolerances.

The internet was abuzz with reaction to the study then. On Tuesday, July 22, 2014 more than 500 news stories — with headlines like “Study Questions Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce” (New York Times), “Organics not a healthier food choice, study finds” (Chicago Sun-Times), “Why Organic Foods May Not Be Healthier For You” (NPR) — seemed to contradict one of the main reasons a growing number of consumers choose to buy organic.

So, how does Aquaponics, Hydroponics or Aeroponics relate to all this? Aquaponically, Hydroponically, and Aeroponically grown produce is 100% chemical free and that makes it even better than organic. Whereas even conventionally grown organic food has an allowable amount of chemicals, ‘Ponically’ grown food has NONE. Not a bit. It is absolutely pure, unadulterated food and we have the best enforcer in the world. What is that you ask? When ANY CHEMICALS are introduced into an Aquaponic, Hydroponic, or Aeroponic system and to the plants it will KILL the fish and/or the plants. Case Closed.

Food growth options Genetically Modified Organism


Organic Traditional



Hydroponics, Aeroponics


Chemical pesticides YES NO YES NO
Herbicides YES YES YES NO
Insecticides YES YES YES NO
Antibiotics YES NO YES NO
Soil Fertilizers used YES YES YES NO
Irrigation & Sludge YES NO YES NO
High-cost produce YES YES NO NO
Vast land use YES YES YES NO
Farmland needed NO NO YES NO
Tap water used YES YES YES NO
Naturally Fortified water used NO NO NO YES
Heirloom seeds grown NO NO/YES NO/YES YES
Spray over chemicals from other farms possible YES YES YES NO
Yields more per square foot NO NO NO YES
Year-round growth NO/YES NO/YES NO YES
Produce can grow an any climate NO NO NO YES
Indoor growth YES YES NO YES
Needs soil YES YES YES NO
Yields produce & fish NO NO NO YES
Produces can grow successfully on sand, gravel, or rocky surfaces NO NO NO YES
Water and nutrients are recycled NO NO NO YES
Water conservation NO NO NO YES
Energy conservation NO NO NO YES
Protects our rivers & lakes NO NO NO YES
Gas conservation NO NO NO YES
Energy conservation NO NO NO YES
Fresh taste NO YES YES YES
Local produce YES YES YES YES