Written by: Kevin (AKA the weaners’ daddy)
I am an urbanized farm boy. Coming from the Peace Country in Northern Alberta I never knew what ‘typical’ produce was supposed to look like… turns out it is uniform shape, uniform colour and blemish free – according to major grocery chains anyways. Not on the farm. (aside: did you know those mini carrot packages are actually made up of machined down giant carrots… or so says my pa). On the farm, garden vegetables have bumps, bruises, and come in all sizes. I once dug up a potato that looked like Ross Perot, big ears and all. To the point, sitting in the garden as a child I would routinely pull carrots, parsnips, turnips and pick cucumbers, beans, peas etc, etc with no intentions of ridding them of the majority of the earthen materials they are covered with prior to partaking in their savory unaltered goodness. This was not due to my inherent good intentions of healthy living. However, it turns out that I and most farm kids are on to something when it comes to how much dirt we grow up ingesting. As a matter of fact, it even has a scientific name – Geophagy (though the definition suggests some sort of compulsion, I in particular was more driven by laziness – not wanting to waste time returning to the house to ‘properly’ wash the produce prior to partaking of my bounty). Research suggests the clays in soil are particularly good at plant toxin removal. Minerals naturally found in soil are routinely taken as supplement pills (especially during pregnancy as the body’s demand increases). It is also said that soil, again referring back to the clay portion of the material, is capable of building up the immune system…. bodies of evidence even suggest that farm children (like me!) have fewer incidents of allergies and auto-immune diseases than our city dwelling brethren. With the discussions that have ensued, my wife’s ingrained pessimism has subsided and I now have free reign to have our two girls reduce our previously instilled cleanliness mantra…. at least when it comes to vegetables straight from Grandpa’s garden. Moral of the story… dirt is not to be as feared – Eat more dirt.