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It is not surprising to find glyphosate in our bodies because it is basically everywhere. It is in the food we eat, the water we drink, the rain that falls on our roofs, and the air we breathe. Despite its rampant use, it is a poison that slowly kills us and must be eliminated from our bodies, and it all begins by getting rid of glyphosate from the soil. Joining Corinna Bellizzi is the Glyphosate Girl, Kelly Ryerson. She talks about the work needed to improve soil health by encouraging farmers to stop depending on poisonous chemicals and shift to organic agriculture. Kelly explains how glyphosate leads to anxiety, depression, and ADHD, which mainly affect children. She also talks about her documentary film and how she uses it to push the conversation about this crucial matter towards the mainstream.
About Kelly Ryerson
Kelly Ryerson works at the intersection of agriculture and health. She regularly collaborates with farmers, scientists, policymakers and media to address agrochemical damage to our soil and bodies. She also started the news site Glyphosate Facts, which explains the link between chemical agriculture and the explosion in chronic disease. Kelly has contributed to several documentaries and news publications, co-hosts the morning show on CHDtv, and is a frequent speaker on podcasts. She is an Ambassador for The Rodale Institute. She has a BA from Dartmouth College, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and completed training in integrative health coaching at Duke Integrative Medicine. She is featured in the new documentary, Common Ground alongside giants in regenerative organic agriculture and Hollywood icons including: Jason Mamoa, Woody Harrelson, Rosario Dawson, Laura Dern, and many more.
Guest LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-ryerson/
Guest Social: https://instagram.com/glyphosategirl
Additional Resources Mentioned: https://youtu.be/6-M4Hq0MKFA?si=CuXVp5Ub-sHxU1-A
Show Notes: – Raw Video
00:00 – Introduction
01:34 – Common Ground premiere
04:34 – Why should we avoid glyphosate
08:32 – How glyphosate impact soil health
18:18 – Shift to organic farming
26:56 – Glyphosate, food, and ADHD
42:00 – Impact of Common Ground
45:29 – Hopes for a glyphosate-free future
50:23 – Closing Words
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Freeing The Soil Of Glyphosate With Kelly Ryerson
In this episode, we’re going to continue our conversation about food, soil health, climate change, and climate cooling as the things that we’re all working towards as we get to know the glyphosate girl herself, Kelly Ryerson. Kelly has contributed to several documentaries and news publications. She co-hosts the morning show on CHD TV and is a frequent speaker on shows like this one.
She has a BA from Dartmouth, an MBA from Stanford, and completed training in Integrative Health Coaching at Duke. She also serves as an ambassador for the Rodale Institute, which you’ve heard about on this show before. She is featured in the documentary film, which had its debut on the silver screen in Santa Monica, Common Ground, which is practically a sequel to Kiss the Ground. Kelly Ryerson, it’s glad to have you here. Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me on.
I’m a little bit disappointed that I’m going to miss the premiere of Common Ground in my local neighborhood because I’ll be on vacation when it hits Santa Cruz.
I can’t believe the timing of that. That is such a big bummer.
I’m going to be in Hawaii. It’s not terrible. This will air right around the time that that occurs, and I know that there are select screenings throughout the United States of Common Ground, and you have to visit one in Santa Monica. How was the opening?
It was fantastic. It was filmed a while ago. A few years ago, they came to the house and filmed, which was exciting because, during COVID, there had been so much lockdown that it was a lot of excitement to have a visitor. It won the Human Nature Award at Tribeca, which was exciting. In June 2023, I was able to go to that. It was cool because it collected a bunch of people that are interested in regenerating. There were a few little edits. I saw it for the second time in Santa Monica. It is so moving. I’m going to be able to watch it over and over.
What everyone has gone through in that film to where it ends in the end with feeling hopeful is an amazing thing. It’s being shown across the country. The plan is to have it shown at various schools and have it more broadly distributed. Rebecca Tickell, who’s one of the directors, said that they had tons of people at the Santa Monica Theater. They were younger, like community college and high school students. There was so much enthusiasm and excitement behind it, maybe because they’re not jaded. They’re like, “Let’s plant a plant and start pulling in carbon.” The whole experience has been fun. It’s inspiring because there aren’t that many of us in this pesticide-health food world.
It’s becoming more mainstream day by day. We keep talking about it.
You’re helping to make it mainstream, which is great.
As it stands, you and I got the chance to meet in person at one of these events. It was the Soil and Health Forum in Petaluma. I have the opportunity to interface with people like Jeffrey Smith, who our audience met. He’s talking about the perils of GMOs but also why glyphosate is terrible. It’s easy to gloss over it and think, “I’m getting non-GMOs. I’m okay.” This is something you and I touched on a bit when I brought you on the Nutrition Without Compromise Podcast.
It’s important that we start there with this understanding that non-GMO does not mean free of glyphosate. When you’re looking at grains in particular, you need to seek out organic because that’s the only way to guarantee that you’re not getting this overexposure. Why don’t we start there? Why should we avoid glyphosate? As real and shocking as you need to be to sell the story as a glyphosate girl, how do we work to avoid it as much as possible?
I became a glyphosate girl as I was an anonymous blogger on this topic during the Roundup cancer trials. I kept it as glyphosate girl, but it’s not a name that I thought I would pick for myself. Once people realize what this chemical is doing to us, we all should be glyphosate girls and guys. The single most impactful change that you could make on public health would be to ban the pre-harvest use of glyphosate. Pre-harvest use means that a great deal of our grains, which are non-organic, beans, sugar cane, and several other crops, are sprayed right before harvest with Roundup to speed up the ripening and make it even ripening. It’s harvested and goes directly into our food supply.The single most impactful change you can make today on public health is to ban the pre-harvest use of glyphosate. Click To Tweet
Any one of us could go and take a urine test. It would be surprising not to have glyphosate in your urine because it’s everywhere. It’s in our food. It’s also can end up in our water, rain, and air. It’s all around us all the time. This is how enormous this problem is. It’s the most widely used herbicide of all time. When it originally came on the market, people were celebratory because they thought this was a relatively non-toxic pesticide in comparison to what had been used before.
A lot of those studies that were showing it to be a carcinogen at the time were covered up. The EPA was bent over, and they agreed to say that it’s noncarcinogenic despite evidence that it is. Not only that, but now we know so much more about this chemical, which shows that it is extremely concerning. There are a lot of different body systems, our reproductive system, neurological system, kidneys, and livers. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and blood-testis barrier. This thing is bad news.
What makes me mad is that I know that the EPA knows this. They know its impact, and this was patented as an antimicrobial. It works as an antibiotic. What that means is that it’s bad news for our microbiome, which we know now is core to our everyday functioning. All body parts and how we even exist are dependent on this gut microbiome, which is every day being bombarded with this chemical.
The reach of glyphosate is enormous. With the non-GMO component, I am relatively new in the last decade to this topic of glyphosate, but it has been sprayed since the 1970s. I thought, when I was buying something, it was non-GMO that I was good to go because that must be healthy, only to find out it is not. It’s sprayed all over the soil anyway before planting seeds and as this pre-harvest desiccant. It is burned as ethanol and gasoline. This thing is everywhere. It’s hard to avoid, but you need to try to.
Let’s talk for a moment about where it comes up because you’ve already described grains. In our conversation with Jeffrey, he shared that it’s sprayed at the base of fruit trees to keep the weeds at bay. The real need to do that seems a little ridiculous for somebody who knows a little bit about regenerative farming because if you let the ground have some cover crops on it, it can mean that the soil is healthier, the water that is retained, the soil improves, and you could even support livestock grazing at the base of trees.
We can get into all of that. I’m sure that’s covered in depth and common ground. It’s also important for people to understand how this particular chemical affects soil health and even its ability to do things like soak up water. I’d love for you to share because if we’re talking about microbiome, the soil is the biome.
We know that the biome is critical in the soil. We’re as connected. As described in the film, you have the idea of soil, which is rich with all these microbes and earthworms. It exists as it should be in terms of being able to create these nutritious crops. You then have industrial agriculture that includes these pesticides, namely glyphosate. It’s considered dirt versus soil. It’s like dust. That is what’s happening also to our bodies. It’s completely paralleled.
When we’re in a state of illness, particularly from environmental insults, we’re operating in a situation where our gut microbiome, like the soil microbiome, is rocked, not for the better. It’s funny that Jeffrey would say that because I was watching a news short. It was about Georgia peaches and how it’s sad because the Georgia peaches are diseased now. They don’t know if there’s a future for Georgia peaches. There were all these reasons. They said, “We’re going to work on some breeding. It’ll take decades to get the breeding correct.”
They showed the farmer in front of his orchard. It was like what you were describing, where all it was dirt underneath the orchard. There were no cover crops at all and greenery because it had been sprayed. It was dust. You know that if you don’t have crops under there or cover crops of some kind and it’s looking dead, that is going to have an effect also on the tree. The tree can pick up the glyphosate when it’s sprayed and clears the cover crops. It goes up into the fruits like peaches, oranges, and grapes. It manages to get its way there, even if someone thinks that they’re spraying it far away.
I talked to a USDA scientist who was a whistleblower at the time. He was staffed to talk about citrus disease. There’s a huge problem with citrus disease in Florida. That was his specialty. He raised concern. He said, “The part of the problem here is that this is being sprayed with Roundup all around it, and you’re creating a disease state all around this tree. It no longer has the nutrients it needs to be able to have a healthy immune system like people.” They quickly pushed them aside, and they’re like, “You’re not going to talk about that if you’re working at the USDA.” It was obvious that was happening.
We’re both in California. We’re near farmland. I’m near the Central Coast. You’re up North a little bit. You drive by these nut tree farms or these fruit tree farms. What you generally see is rose trees with a lot of dirt between them, completely clear of any ground cover at all. Even Paul Hawken said when he came on the show, “The earth doesn’t want to be bare. Something is going to try and grow there.”
If you don’t enable something to grow there, it can’t enable the water to find a home because it’s not stabilizing the soil the same way. What you get is a lot of puddling when there’s heavy rain and less drought tolerance on the part of the plants. It’s critical that we have a deeper understanding of this and that consumers start to push for this change right from the bottom.
If we all understand that it’s not about whether it’s non-GMO, it’s also about getting organic regenerative foods so that we’ve got cycles that are supporting one another. It’s not just, “We’re going to experience another flood and another drought because that’s the cycle that we’ve built through our negligence.”
From the flooding standpoint, once you get that integrity back into the soil, it is much easier for the huge floods like we were having in California for the soil to be able to absorb and contain that water rather than it flooding over. When you see those big floods that were happening in Iowa, for example, with all the water runoff, it is because the soil couldn’t absorb any of it. It’s dead to even take in that water.By bringing the integrity back into the soil, it is much easier for it to absorb water and stop huge flooding. Click To Tweet
There are many elements that connect to this farming change practice. I was driving up from Santa Monica. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. When you’re driving along 5:00, and you do see those nut farms and all the almonds, it’s like, “It’s dirt and a few trees.” It’s such a strange, unnatural-looking sensation.
That is one practice that would be so amenable there. If they grow grass at the base of the trees and you could graze animals, they’d leave behind some fertilizer naturally. That would help the trees. You’d have soil that was rich, full, and dark instead of this powdery brown-packed earth that has been driven over by all sorts of farming equipment and packed it in. It doesn’t even want to absorb. It has no honeycomb structure left. It has no structure left in the soil at all. That’s part of why water runs right off of it. It’s more like clay than earth.
I went and took a shovel over to a chemical or conventional field one time. I was curious whether there were any earthworms that were there at all. I tried, and I couldn’t even get the shovel. Finally, I chipped away enough. There’s a worm carcass. It should be packed with worms. It’s sad to see. When you see that for yourself, and you start multiplying, how much of this country’s land is like that? It’s astounding. It’s disturbing. When you see Bayer, who owns Monsanto, come out and say, “The future is regenerative. Regenerative agriculture is the future. We have the tools to do it.” It’s extremely upsetting because there are all those of us here who are screaming regenerative agriculture, which is why it’s important to say regenerative organic agriculture is the ideal.
It’s tricky because there are farmers that are trying to make that transition. They’re not ready to be organic yet because it’s a process. You don’t want to leave them out of having the accolades of doing regenerative practices. You see the corporations coming in and stomping on this part and trying to capture the aspirational aspect of it but applying the chemicals with that aspirational image.
There’s so much to unpack there because I know one of the major farming families local to the Central Cast. I was sitting down with this guy over dinner and cocktails with friends. He’s not an organic farmer. He had to say, “If I could show you the list of chemicals that you can use in organic farming versus what I use, you’d see that there’s little difference.” I said, “Show me.” He never did. However, the one that stands out is glyphosate. If a farmer is generally using this and spraying it liberally to keep the earth bare between the rows of cabbage and broccoli, that means a significant portion of this chemical ends up in our groundwater.
To help people understand what’s different about glyphosate, we can start with the fact that it’s water-soluble. It’s not fat soluble. It ends up in our water table. That means it ends up in our waterways and oceans. There is a story of even individuals spraying Roundup directly into the ocean that you shared in our conversation on Nutrition Without Compromise, which I couldn’t believe. I was like, “This can’t be true. Somebody can’t be dumping it in the ocean to try and control algae blooms. That doesn’t make any sense at all.” Yet that is happening.
Understanding that this is prevalent, seek to avoid it and even push for these farmers in our local communities. I would like to say, “Stop it. Organic is a $1 or $2 more. I’m not willing to do that yet. My pocketbook’s too thin, and I can’t quite do that.” What would you advise those people to help them on their path?
First, I wanted to make a comment on the spraying directly into the water because, after our last conversation, I was like, “I wonder how often people are doing this.” I didn’t realize that Bayer has a specific roundup, quite state-based air herbicide for water. It’s still glyphosate. It’s still the same thing. There’s this super cute woman who’s helpfully doing a how-to video. She puts it together with a surfactant, and she’s standing in a beautiful pond spraying it. She said, “It’s great because the EPA said that this won’t injure fish. You’re good to go in your pond.”
What’s crazy about that is one of the biggest things that you will find if you look through the published peer-reviewed research is all the harm to aquatic life. It’s strange that they can even say that. I was going to post it in an Instagram Reel, and I felt bad for the girl. She doesn’t know. I didn’t do it, but it is maddening.
It is hard because I am the same way where I often meet with farmers. They’re not organic, and they see the benefits otherwise, but it is an overwhelming task to think of taking on change. A lot of farmers have only lived the life of chemical agriculture. There’s a lack of education about how you would do regenerative agriculture because it is complicated. It’s not the easiest. It’s achievable, but it’s not logical when all you’ve been taught, maybe in some cases by your parents and certainly by the companies, is this is the approach to farming. You spray this. You have a list, and you know what you’re going to do.
This is more hands-on, and you have to want. The farmers that get through that process see the other side of this beautiful regeneration. I’ve heard many farmers talk about songbirds returning to the farms, and you start to catch the bug that even I’m getting frankly like with my front yard garden. I feel like that too. It’s exciting and fulfilling. That’s one of the things with this film that’s helpful.
Farmer Gabe Brown, who’s the leader in regenerative agriculture, was a chemical farmer. He teaches other farmers. He was saying, “A big part of it is how many farmers are willing to show up. How many teachers can we get out there to teach exactly how this is going to be much more profitable for you?” You can get out of this debt circle if you farm this way. You’re not going to end up having to use as many pesticides, and the money that’s spent on that will make your farm profitable. The bottom line is that it’s appealing to people who are sitting there on all kinds of debt and fully reliant on government subsidies because to be able to get off of that is to get freedom for your family. We are putting that back into the local economy. It’s a beautiful outcome.
I did read another paper in which I heard this sentiment where there is a feeling among farmers apparently that you don’t want to be the one to go this route. That’s a social barrier because you want to all go down together, not be the one that’s like you’re doing it wrong. That’s a brave farmer to go against his community where likely you’re rejected from your community or your church. That is a hard road to take. It’s brave people making the change.
I got the chance to speak with Carlo Mondavi of the Mondavi Winery family. He has a regenerative organic winery. They are presently getting out into the world this monarch tractor that is fully automated, autonomous, and electric. We have an earlier episode on that. He mentioned on the episode that he’s talking to farmers local to the Central California Coast. Some of the largest grape-growing regions are near King City and Halon. There are mountains of wine growing region.
He said, look, “I had to make the case financially.” I said, “What are you spending on your chemicals and your chemical fertilizers every year?” He’s like, “What if we could save you all of that?” It shifts you away from this dependency on these chemicals that are impeding the health of your soil and lends you to a space where, at the end of several years, your soil is healthier, you’re supporting more life, and you’re also not spending all of that money on the chemicals that are keeping somewhat you consider pest weeds at bay that don’t impact the productivity of your grapes.
It makes it clear. However, getting somebody to make that leap to your point when they’re part of a community that says, “That’s the way these newfangled woke left to that effect.” It isn’t a political issue. It’s a people, food issue, and planet issue. How do you think we can best work to get over that hurdle to change the mindset from being an us versus them, and it’s just we?
This is the part that I feel sad and morbid about, but my feeling is that no one changes until their personal life is impacted, and, usually by illness. Gabe Brown, who was the leader of this movement, was diagnosed with ALS. That’s from the early years of chemical exposure. My father-in-law died from the same thing from chemical exposure.
It’s interesting because a lot of times, the community won’t want to acknowledge that it’s the pesticides that are doing it. As people are starting to have their own children and they’re seeing this, and I have heard a lot of farmers saying, “I expose myself to those chemicals. I don’t want my grandkids exposed to those chemicals.” My feeling is the more that we can publicly connect chronic disease because there’s the acute disease that the farmers often struggle with. It’s sad they get these extreme neurological conditions after exposure to 2,4-D, glyphosate, and other horrendous things.
They’re the frontline of it. It’s a little harder to trace all the rest of us because it’s such a slow chronic poisoning that you can’t directly say that it was because of that exposure. Even non-farmers can link these health issues to pesticide exposure. We put pressure on raising the prices because the demand will go up for their products, and that looks enticing. At the end of the day, they want to make money, and they should because they’re working hard. That is the demand that is there.
I’m hopeful because I am seeing pockets pop up in the Midwest in the bread basket that are not coastal farmers that are starting to get on board because they can see this as a losing thing for them and their families. They can’t afford to have their sons and daughters come and work on the farm once they grow older. You’re not going to hand the farm off. There’s not enough money to even cover their salaries.
That’s not what you want. You want to create something sustainable for your family. Hopefully, we’re becoming less accusatory because I learned very early on in this road. That’s not fair. They’re doing what they were told is safe. It looks like it was the wrong road. We all need to be supporting each other through this transition.
The larger the farm, the harder it is to make the transition. They may see, “There’s too much risk in this. What happens if I have to bear two seasons where I don’t have the yield that I need in order to sustain my farm?” There’s all this skepticism around making the shift. I wanted to bring something up because you made me realize something. I am not wheat-sensitive. I’ve taken the test for that. I don’t have celiac. I don’t even carry the gene for it, not even one.
I’ve often felt personally when I consume more bread and grain style products, that I feel more disconnected from my gut. I can’t even explain it another way. It feels like my brain and my digestive system aren’t connected. I’m not feeling as in tune with my body. I’ll go off of grains for a little bit, and I feel all of that return.
I’m wondering if it’s glyphosate. You can’t go out and have a slice of toast and know it’s organic. How many of these local restaurants are using organic wheat when they bake bread? I doubt that any of them are. I do live in a world where I travel, go out for meals, and do these things. I want to be able to have that liberty.
When I’ve noticed I’m feeling this disconnection from my gut, I pull back from eating grain. I feel fine even if I am eating out and going around to these places. I’ve realized that’s what it is. It’s the glyphosate. It’s the chemicals that are in the grains that I consume rather than it being a sensitivity to wheat because I already have that confirmation. I’m not sensitive to wheat. I’m sensitive to buckwheat, which is weird.
You’re kidding. It’s the alternative.
I don’t eat those when I go out at all. I don’t eat things that contain them because they make me bloated, feel icky, and sometimes get cold sweats. That’s a precursor to anaphylactic. I say no.
There’s no need for that. It’s interesting when you describe that feeling of feeling disconnected from the gut because I know what you mean. That’s eerie to me because it’s almost like I don’t even feel myself. It’s strange. I’m not in touch with myself when I am having those things. It is strange. I can get that same sensation when I eat non-organic hummus, which tells me that, in my case, it’s the glyphosate.
You ruined my day when we last spoke, and you told me, “Chickpeas are bathed in this diet.”
Potatoes aren’t much better. They’re also desiccant in, in that process, with potatoes, which is terrible because that should be one of nature’s biggest gifts for health.
In the potato world, how are they applying it? I always see potatoes as being grown under a cover of some sort. How do they expose the potato to glyphosate?
A lot of times, they will clear the field before planting to get rid of all the weeds and spray Roundup to get it ready to go for the planting season.
It is to make it easy for them. It does make you feel the people who live near or in farming communities are set up for health challenges that the rest of the city dwellers are less likely to experience, especially if they’re able to eat organic. We’ve created a system as a populace. I’m not saying you and me, but we’ve tried to build in efficiencies of monocropping to get more yield per square foot or acre of plotted land. What happens is if we take the shift and stop using all glyphosate, what’s the impact that we have? How long does it take to kind of work out of the food that you’re producing since it’s in the soil and it’s in the water?
It can take a long time. Dr. Don Huber said that it’s still there several years later, like the metabolites from it. It’s going to be with us for some time. The problem is that sometimes, even organic food has some level of glyphosate. It’s nowhere near the non-organic things, but there will be some because it’s impossible to avoid. What if those foods could slowly start to lift that because the exposure wouldn’t be there, and there wouldn’t be drift and it wouldn’t be freshly flowing down to the water table?
I read a lot of these studies and articles because it’s hot in Europe. They were supposed to ban glyphosate in 2023. That was the plan. There was a lot of excitement around it. On October 12th, 2023, I’m confident they’re going to be re-approving it for up to ten years of use because the farmers in Europe have claimed we would be devastated if we couldn’t use it.
That’s a shame. If they could learn these regenerative practices, it is a step that they could make starting in 2024 and take the hit of nervousness and get over this hump of dependency. There are ways to go back and harvest grains traditionally where you don’t need to kill them all off at once. Even in this era of climate change, it still is possible to go, use the tools, the swather, go, cut it as has been done throughout time, and take the chemicals out of the picture. There’s a lot of fear around it, which I can completely understand if that’s what your farming practice in your entire business has been your whole life. That is scary. We’re seeing things, and there are resources available to make that shift and do it well. You don’t have to feel like life is over if glyphosate is banned.
Getting glyphosate banned would be amazing. Many people have tried to get that through Congress. I’m going to sit on a panel on October 17th, 2023, to try and make the request to place maximum allowable residue levels on children’s lunches and school lunches. That would apply to all of our food. It’s upsetting when you see what’s in a school lunch that we feel like people should be able to wrap their heads around and be able to say, “It’s high time we stop poisoning the kids.”
It’s connected with ADHD, anxiety, and depression because it not only crosses the blood-brain barrier but also the microbiome disruption. We have a huge mental health crisis among children, teens, and most people, particularly among teens. You’re going to go and feed them something that you know is connected to that condition, but worry, “We have this problem with suicides.” It’s lunacy and crazy. It has to stop. I don’t even think there’s time for a phase-out at this point. It has to stop. No more poisoning. It’s a poison. That’s where I’m standing on that. I’m sympathetic and empathetic towards the farmer, but it’s something we all have to hold hands and do together.
I’m with you on this. If we understand that it is not only a weed killer but it’s also an antibiotic. What does everyone say to you from the time that you’re a little kid? When you’re exposed to antibiotics, you need to work to rebuild it afterward. Eat more things fermented foods and yogurts and even have that consumption happen in parallel with that antibiotic, which you shouldn’t be on for more than 7 to 10 days. We’re dowsing you with it constantly.
We have metabolic diseases that are coming up like crazy. We have people who don’t know what it’s like to be in tune with their bodies because they didn’t ever get a good start. They didn’t necessarily have the resources or the knowledge at hand to be able to get a good start in the first place. It’s not like we can blame our parents, parents’ parents, or peers. It’s that this became commonplace without any oversight.
We need to put oversight in place, and we need to say, “Enough is enough.” Glyphosate-free shouldn’t be something that we have to verify with every third-party test and only select a few brands because that doesn’t improve access for people. When you talk about school lunches, people who are participating in school lunch programs, generally speaking, they’re the people whose parents can’t afford to put a healthy meal together for them every day. As it stands, I’m thrilled that I have this knowledge to be able to provide my kids with a better start.
My eight-year-old is a child with ADHD. There’s no question there from his teachers to his care providers. He has a hard time focusing. We know this about him. Maybe that’s being an eight-year-old boy in the current school system. I also have a five-year-old who has been diagnosed as autistic. Even as hard as I try to keep everything clean. What do I do to ensure that they’re able to have their best health and their best life? I’m supporting them in every way I can. We’re as close to 100% organic in our household as we can be. This is life. My boys are fantastic. They’re beautiful, bright children, but they’re not neurotypical. They’re going to have more challenges than some of their peers.
It’s 1 in 26 boys in California diagnosed autistic at this point. That was the last statistic I heard when my son went through the diagnostics.
It’s only going to be more. My son is eighteen now, and it’s been a long road of trying to functionally heal him. In second grade, around that age, ADHD was through the roof. He couldn’t even sit in class. He was always outside because he was distracting. I know that I didn’t eat great during pregnancy. This was before I was aware of all this. I know that I didn’t, and I know that that had some impact on his biome. I also know that I couldn’t breastfeed until I was using Enfamil. I know that that was soy and glyphosate in a bomb. That also wrecked his gut.
It’s hard because I beat myself up on those decisions that I’ve made and not knowing. It is upsetting because I could see what happened to it. To give you some hope, he still has a light level of ADHD, but I think it’s more from social media. After several years of this organic approach, he’s gluten-free and now dairy-free. It’s been miraculous because he is able to keep his calm. Things started coming together as he grew. There is hope for people. A lot of us come to this topic because we’re experiencing it ourselves or through our children. It’s sad, and it’s not fair. It’s not our fault. We’re being left to deal with the mess that these chemical companies made.We and our children are experiencing the negative effects of glyphosate. It is not fair that we are being left to deal with the mess made by chemical companies. Click To Tweet
Unlike you, I did breastfeed both of my kids. However, I also didn’t eat the best when I was pregnant with my first because I had crazy nausea. The only thing that I was able to eat was bland stuff. I’d want a bagel with cream cheese on it. I don’t think any of the bagels we got were made with organic wheat. Maybe that was part of it. I could also blame being a geriatric mother. That’s a lot of blame on the mom because I was 38 and 41 at the birth of both my boys. Six in one hand, half dozen in the other, some of it’s environmental, and it’s bound to be. However, being 100% organic is hard at this point.
It’s impossible. My kids can’t be.
I thought forever that non-GMO meant that glyphosate was not sprayed. I thought that you meant that.
That is a huge disservice in many ways. There are a lot of things that are non-GMO but are completely toxic. Where’s the commune we’re going to go move to?
We do know that Mollie Engelhardt, who was previously on this show to talk about what she’s doing in regenerative farming and even with the regenerative organic restaurants that she co-owns with Woody Harrelson, who was in Kiss the Ground. She’s moving out to Texas. She’s starting a commune-focused regenerative space there. Part of that has to do with what’s happening here in California, and certain restrictions here, and the water use is questionable.
There’s so much that is changing on the daily here that as a business owner and someone who wants to create something big, she’s found some land in Texas and thinks that they can make it happen. I’m two big thumbs up. I want to come visit. I don’t know that I’m that out in Texas. It’s not my preferred climate.
I’m a spoiled Northern Californian, and that’s a problem.
Santa Cruz County here. It’s a great space to find a day. If you want to run in the Redwoods, you can do it in one day. You can go to the ocean, hike in the mountains, or visit Silicon Valley. As we record this show, I’m heading to San Francisco to see Peter Gabriel perform.
That’s so fun. I love him.
I love him too, which is why I’m going. It’ll probably be my last opportunity to see him. I don’t know how often he will tour, and he’s been on my bucket list for a long time. It’s going to be amazing. The type of experiences we have available living in some proximity to San Francisco is different than when you’re talking about living in the countryside. I’m curious to know when Common Ground comes out and is more broadly available. What impact do you think this film is going to have?
It’s going to be a huge gift to people like you and me because who’s going to sit down for an hour and a half and listen to me talk about the whole story? This is a long story of how we got here. Usually, I can get people to listen on a good day for five minutes at a dinner table. A lot of people came out, and they watched the first film, Kiss the Ground. That was their introduction to this topic. This goes even deeper. It’s more heavy-hitting and hopeful. It’s going to open people’s minds to thinking about exactly what they’re eating. People don’t know that they’re eating this level of chemical residue.
I know that they have plans for a third film called Groundswell, which is going to bring it to the international level. Other countries already are doing it better than us, particularly if they’d never accepted our GMOs like Russia didn’t because Putin specifically said, “No, we’re not going to take any of those chemicals because everyone will be sick. It’ll be bad for national security.” He was right. I don’t love Putin, but that was true.
He can be wrong 90% of the time and right 10% of the time. We need to keep this chemical out of circulation.
It needs to stop.
Is there a particular petition that people can sign? What can they find out? I know you have a website called GlyphosateFacts.com.
You can go there and get some basic information. If you are in the mood to do some activism around it, there are various things you can do. One, if it was to sign a petition, there is a petition I did with Dr. Zach Bush in 2022. It’s still ongoing. It’s on Change.org. It’s to stop the pre-harvest spraying of glyphosate. We have 150,000 signatures or something close to that now, which is awesome. We want to deliver that to our representatives.
Going local and getting it out of your environment in terms of spray is a great thing for your town. In San Mateo, California, where I am, they had said, “We don’t use Roundup.” I saw a city sprayer spraying it. I didn’t feel like dealing with that. I have a lot else going on, and that was disappointing, but I reached out. Indeed, there is a plan. They are phasing it out, but other cities are not doing that. You’re tracking it in. Your dogs are getting it up through their paws. You’re exposed to it in the air and the water all around you. Starting locally and raising awareness through that action is huge.
If you have a driveway you’re managing on your own, don’t spray Roundup. You can use vinegar and soapy water mixed together. You can spray it on the plants. The plants will die. They’ll go away. It’s a matter of a few days. They wilt.
There are different ways you can do this. You don’t have to use something that is going to be a killer. I would love to end on a more hopeful note. If there is a dream of the future that you have, let’s picture what that would look like when we get to a point where we no longer use glyphosate. How does that look to you?
I am excited to picture this one specific school that I was volunteering with for a bit. It was for children who had autism or ADHD and weren’t able to be in the regular classroom. I went back there, and their food was junk. I couldn’t believe it. They didn’t believe in the connection between what was going on. With a glyphosate-free future and going more regenerative organic and as the food becomes healthy, I’m excited not only for these students where the chemical load would be so much less, and we would naturally see this pickup in health because that’s what happens, but also for all of the socioeconomically disadvantaged people that only have a 711 or local yucky grocery store to go to get their food.
If the food that’s sold in that grocery store mandatorily could not have those chemical residues on it, their health would start picking up. They wouldn’t even have to make that effort to consciously decide, “I’m going to buy organic.” It would be fine either way. Getting to that future, which is where we used to be, would be such a dream come true, and we can attain it. Suddenly, people will magically see their healthcare bills plummeting. We can return to a society that’s proactive, healthy, and vibrant.
I feel like we’re getting closer in certain pockets and communities. You live in the North Bay, and I’m sure the farmer’s markets there are as beautiful as the ones where I am. There’s one conventional produce stand, and everything else is organic. They’re surrounded. They’ve got one conventional fruit tree spot. They’re $1 less for their fruits on a per pound basis, but they’re surrounded that it’s like, “We’re doing it. We’re getting there. We’ve got organic.” I can get everything organic, from bokchoy to asparagus, without issue. I have to go to the farmer’s market to do it because if I go to the local grocery store, sometimes they only have the conventional version of the things that I want.
The thing I would encourage people to do if they’re taking this leap to try and be more organic is to frequent their local farmer’s market and buy with seasonality. Buy the foods that are in season. You’ll get a broader spectrum of nutrients throughout the year, which is how we’re meant to eat anyway. You’ll also have more access to things that are usually organic because it tends to be who goes to the farmer’s market.
You’re also reducing your carbon footprint because it means the distance from the produce location to where you’re consuming it is less. It’s not put on a truck and sent all over God’s creation. You’re able to feel more confident that you’re leading a life that supports your local community and that isn’t introducing all these chemicals into your body. That’s my vision. I want everybody to be able to experience with ease a farmer’s market. I can drive to one in Felton on Tuesdays, Santa Cruz on Wednesdays, and in my local area of Scott’s Valley on Sundays. It’s not that hard.
It’s such a good feeling when you consume that you don’t have that disconnected feeling that you get when you’re eating covered food.It is a good feeling when you don’t have a disconnected feeling with the food you are consuming. Click To Tweet
The one in my local area has a kids’ place structure going on. It’s a nice community of people from my local area. Their kids are playing while they’re doing their grocery shopping. There might be music playing, a coffee cart, and a French bakery that’s giving out their wares. It’s a better way to engage and connect. If we can do that on a more nationwide scale, we’ll get closer quicker because there’ll be less shopping than the conventional.
I know what you mean because we have a couple of conventional stands. It would be rude to do, but I would like to go and tell the people who are shopping there, I’m not sure they even noticed that it’s not organic. Some people don’t even know what to look like. This is the farmer’s market. This is healthy.
It’s the only one that doesn’t say on a blazing banner of some sort, organic, local, and all that jazz. It is what it is. Kelly, if you had one thought you want to leave our audience with, or if there was a question I didn’t ask that you wish I had that you could ask and answer, I’ll give you the floor.
Bring all of your friends and family to see Common Ground if it’s being shown in any place near you, and go to CommonGroundFilm.org and see where different options are to view it. Hopefully, it’ll be streaming in the coming year, but it is a cool experience to see these beautiful farms and all these amazing dynamic people talking about it on the larger screen. Check that out, see if you can catch a show, and bring all your friends and family.
It won’t hurt to see Jason Momoa on the big screen or Rosario Dawson. Who else is in the film? I think
You’re fantastic. You’re in there. These Hollywood stars are in there, like Laura Dern. Who else?
He is involved in this better way of living.
I didn’t know until this film that Jason Momoa was involved in it, but he is. He’s a cutie pie.
Maybe a quarter of my audience would go see it to see Jason Momoa. Let’s put it that way. You see Aquaman talking about earth and soil. I’m going to go ahead and include with show notes the schedule for the release of the film. Kelly, thank you so much for joining me. This has been my absolute pleasure. I hope that I get to visit with you in person and maybe even go to a farmer’s market together. That would be amazing.
We’re right here. We should be doing that.
Have an amazing day.
What a great interview with Kelly Ryerson. To learn more about her important work, exposing how glyphosate damages your health and vitality and how we can avoid those perils, please visit GlyphosateFacts.com. I’ll be sure to include links with show notes about Kelly Ryerson, her Instagram page, which I encourage you all to follow @GlyphosateGirl, and the resources that we talked about, including the many episodes that we’ve covered on regenerative agriculture, organic farming, non-GMO, and how we can all lead a more productive and healthy life. We are putting an end to some of these more traditional farming practices that set us up for failure.
I want to encourage everybody here to add Common Ground to your watch list, whether it be in a local theater near you or even once it gets to streaming. We’ll get there. There are screenings across the United States that are happening now in the months of October and November 2023. You can go to the website CommonGroundFilm.com to find out, and you can also, even if you’re in an area that doesn’t have a screening, recommend that they have one in your area and make that recommendation directly on the site.
As always, I want to encourage you to visit CareMoreBeBetter.com for complete show notes and all of the resources that we talked about. This is an easy way for you to connect to all of the content in our episode, and you’ll find those direct links I mentioned. If you sign up for our newsletter, you’re also going to receive something else. That is the five-step guide to help you organize your efforts, unleash your inner activist, and do something like get a petition signed to end the spraying of glyphosate on crops before they’re harvested.
You can even go ahead and push out into the world the same petition that Kelly Ryerson and Dr. Zach Bush have put into the world. Consider posting about it on social media and sharing this episode with your community so that we can help spread the word. Getting some big icons like Jason Momoa to participate in a film about regenerative agriculture and Woody Harrelson, who was also featured in the earlier film Kiss The Ground, are ways to help our greater community understand what a big deal regenerative, organic can be.
If nothing else, perhaps you can also learn from our experiences with Kelly and mine when we talk about things like our own health or the health of our children being impacted by these sorts of chemicals in our local supply, unavoidably in our environment. We can do better. We can care a little bit more and be better each day. We can even seek to build the utopia that we might envision where the farmer’s market is more the norm, where the conventional is the odd man out, and where real, wholesome food is at the center of everybody’s plates. This is where health starts. Access to healthy food is paramount. We shouldn’t have to worry about our kids’ school lunches.
I hope you’ll join me and thank Kelly again for her time here with us. I hope that you’ll subscribe to this show. I hope you learn something. I hope you like it. If you did and if you could leave me a review on Apple Podcasts, that would be amazing. It helps more people to discover the show. Thank you, readers, now and always for being a part of this show and this community because together, we can do so much more. We can care more. We can be better. We can create a brighter future for everybody. Thank you.
- Kelly Ryerson
- Common Ground
- Kiss the Ground
- Soil and Health Forum
- Jeffrey Smith – The True Destructive Impact Of GMOs On Global Health With Jeffrey Smith
- Nutrition Without Compromise Podcast
- Paul Hawken – Regeneration: Ending The Climate Crisis In One Generation with Paul Hawken, 5 Time Best-selling Author and Environmentalist
- Carlo Mondavi – How Regeneration Can Change The Future Of Farming And Winemaking With Carlo Mondavi
- Mollie Engelhardt – How Regenerative Farming Can Lead to Healthier Living With Mollie Engelhart
- @GlyphosateGirl – Instagram
- Apple Podcasts – Care More Be Better: A Social Impact + Sustainability Podcast
- Saleem H. Ali – Understanding Aluminum And Achieving Industrial Sustainability With Dr. Saleem H. Ali
- Soil & Health Forum – Permaculture with Starhawk; The California Watershed with Brock Dolman
- Tom Newmark – Regenerative Agriculture: The Answer To The Climate Crisis With Tom Newmark
- Steven Cornwell Part 1 – On Building A Global Place Brand And Regionalized Food System With Steven Cornwell
- Steven Cornwell Part 2 – How To Build Long-Lasting Regenerative Cities With Steven Cornwell