Episode 23: Wheat, Meat and Lawns

This is the World Organic News Podcast for the week ending 4th of July 2016.

Jon Moore reporting!

This week we begin with a post referring to an upcoming film night in Glenbrook, NSW. This event is the screening of the Australian documentary: “What’s With Wheat?” The doco looks at what’s changed recently, in evolutionary terms, to create a huge number of health reactions to wheat. Given we’ve been eating this grain for at least 10,000 years, why are we suddenly finding individuals, not just those diagnosed this Celiac’s disease, having adverse reactions to this noble grain?

Well, not surprisingly to listeners of this podcast, it’s got lots to do with chemical sprays, selection for starchier grain and “modern” in air quotes, bread making techniques.

I understand not everyone will be able to attend the Glenbrook screening on the 10th of August nor the Castle Hill 14th of August screening. Fear not! A link in the show notes will take you to the documentary’s website where you can organise your own screening.

The discussion within the doco is important. Bread is but one aspect of our corrupted, price signal deformed and failing us food system, especially in the English speaking world.

This documentary and others like it are but the start of the process. Once we have identified a problem, we must act. There’s link to a 3 minute 18 second soundcloud piece from a while back I knocked up on the home bread making movement you might find interesting.

Even if we make just one loaf of real bread with organic wheat, spelt, rye or some combination thereof each week, we will have started the revolution. A revolution which fills your home with the scent of joy, the taste of real food and the knowledge you did it yourself!

What’s With Wheat?


The side effects we are experiencing with wheat can be attributed to the industrialisation of food. Wheat, wheat allergies and so on are but one of the canaries in the mine. 

A blog post: The danger of too much industrialised animal agriculture – The Cool Old School follows another line on this subject.


This short video points to the obvious and unpleasant consequences of industrial stock confinement. And I chose those words carefully. It is impossible to practice good animal husbandry when the animals are caged. It is bad practice for the stock, it creates conditions of work for the staff which fosters a general disregard for life and it concentrates “waste” in industrial terms and amounts. The idea animal manures could ever be seen as waste rather than the valuable resource they truly are is beyond me. What, then, can any one individual do against this state sponsored and state protected means of industrial production.

It’s difficult. The choices we face aren’t pleasant. 

  1. Carry on as if nothing is wrong. Almost impossible once we’ve seen the conditions in which poultry, swine and cattle and increasingly sheep, are kept.
  2. Go vegan or at least vegetarian. And this may be an option for some people; or
  3. Buy organic or grass fed or pastured meats. All three of these production methods ensure the stock see the sky, have room to move and are able to live as they evolved to. This choice means, probably for most people on a budget, eating less meat. The quality of that meat will though will be far superior. An added benefit of eating these meats is the complete lack of antibiotics as a general part of their feed. That reason alone may be a good enough reason to stop eating industrialised meats.

As with wheat from our first link, meat too has been industrialised and it benefits us no more than it benefits the wheat or the animals.

Now for those who live in suburbia, there may be reasons to feel smug. Especially if you eat organic or ar vegan. Suburbia though adds its own dimension to the harvest we are reaping from the industrialisation of all life.

The blog| Transition Cornwall +  has a post: “Why Our Lawns Are Bad for the Environment and How to Change Them for the Better” 


Grasses have their place, lawns maybe less so. Lawns, it would appear, became fashionable during the Victorian period as a way to both ape and to have within the confines of middle class townhouses a little bit of the aristocracy’s lifestyle. The great rolling lawns of the stately homes were created though not by mowing so much as by grazing sheep. Given that each sheep requires a minimum area upon which to live, the only way to mimic the look was by mowing. Mowing then meant the use of a scythe. Nowadays it means fossil fuel powered machinery and the application of massive amounts of chemical fertilizer and herbicides. It will come as no surprise to many of you to know the most used herbicide used in this setting is: glyphosate. Yes, our old, friend is probably not the word shall we say acquaintance: RoundUp.

Recently declared a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organisation, the application of this herbicide is destroying biodiversity in cities, suburbs and of course, my pet hate, golf courses. Add to this the lack of “weed” flowers for bees and we can see the issue of “lawn” should rightly be higher in our focus.

Have a read of the post, link in the show notes, and make some changes, not just for yourself and your loved ones but for the biosphere as a whole.

And that brings us to the end of this week’s podcast.

I believe it customary on this date to say to my listeners between Mexico and Canada: Happy Fourth of July! I hope it’s going well for you all.

If you’ve liked what you heard, I’d really appreciate a review on iTunes. This helps others to find us. Thanks in advance!

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at podcast@worldorganicnews.com.

Thank you for listening and I’ll be back in a week.

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