Hei Mahi Māra
Tangata Whenua – Tangata Moroiti
A beginner’s guide to growing organic vegetables
Nā Tremane Barr
Summer is the time when nature is abundantly full of life and the māra is at its most productive. However, despite the obvious beauty of the bountiful summer māra, what we can’t see in our food is just as important as what we can see.
Microbes (moroiti) inhabit a world beyond our normal eyesight. Research is increasingly finding that moroiti can be just as important to our diet, our physical health, and our mental health as the normal nutritional factors we know are in food. Researchers have found that trillions of microbes live in, on, and around us, collectively making up our microbiome.
One critical way microbes can affect us is through our digestive system microbiome, as the trillions of microbes that inhabit the gut help us digest our food, making essential nutrients available for our body to use. In this way they are also constantly interacting with our immune system, for better or for worse.
Microbes (moroiti) inhabit a world beyond our normal eyesight. Research is increasingly finding that moroiti can be just as important to our diet, our physical health, and our mental health as the normal nutritional factors we know are in food.
Researchers have found that the makeup of our gut microbiomes can be responsible for diseases and conditions including food allergies, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), and asthma. Studies have also shown that the gut microbiome and the brain are linked. There are possible links with anxiety, depression, and autism.
The good news is that we can get all the good microbes we need for our microbiomes from food, and in particular, organically-grown food. Research has shown that conventional pesticides sprayed on vegetables and fruit significantly decrease the good microbes, and increase the number of known pathogens that can negatively affect our health. Not surprisingly, organically-grown food has much more of the beneficial microbes, such as probiotics like lactobacilli, and far fewer negative pathogens. Summer is the best time to eat fresh organic vegetables, fruit, and berries from the māra, which are covered in the microbes our body needs to thrive.
Rocket (Eruca sativa)
Fresh raw salads from the māra are also particularly important for powering up the microbiome. One recent addition to my māra has been rocket – sometimes referred to as arugula or rucola. Italians have been using this plant for at least 2,000 years, but it has only become widely known here in Aotearoa relatively recently. Rocket can often have a sharp, piquant, peppery taste. It can also be classed as a superfood, as it is abundant in vitamins A, K, and C; as well as folate, calcium, and antioxidants (and microbes on the leaves). Not only does it make a great salad, it is also good in pastas, stir-fries, sauces, omelettes, and on pizzas.
The name rocket gives an indication of its growth habit, with just a few short weeks from sowing seed to harvesting. Because the seed is small, it can be easy to over sow, so plants usually need to be thinned out. However, the thinnings are also good to eat. The plants left behind require about 20cm of growing space.
The older the plant gets, the more peppery the leaves become; but the leaves can be harvested from the small size of 7–10cm. The established plant in its first growth can be regularly plucked or can be cut down to 2cm, and it will then go on to grow new leaves for later harvest. It grows more rapidly with regular watering and liquid fertiliser.
Any flowering stems can be removed to stop the leaves becoming really hot and strong. This will also stop them going to seed, and potentially becoming a bit of a weed. The flowers themselves are also edible.
Rocket can germinate and be grown year-round, even when the temperature gets down to around 5 degrees, although in winter it grows best in a tunnel house.
Electromagnetic radiation and insectageddon
It is important to have flowering plants in the garden as sources of food for insects. Alyssum, calendula, and nasturtium are good choices. I also let some of my brassicas go to flower, as they are a great food source for insects and bees. I am lucky that my wife has her own flower garden areas, so we have a rather diverse range of flowering species blooming throughout the year e.g. roses, jasmine, Christmas lilies, peonies, etc.
In spite of this abundance, the decline in both the quantity and diversity of insects has been noticeable in my māra. The decline in insect biodiversity (insectageddon) has been recorded around the world. The main factors are thought to be pesticides and the loss of natural areas and biodiversity; none of which are factors in my māra. However, the widespread proliferation of cell phone towers broadcasting microwave radiation on the 2G, 3G, and 4G frequencies is increasingly being correlated with a reduction in bees and other insect species. Now companies want to unleash 5G submillimetre and millimetre waves in frequency ranges above 6GHz to 100GHz and beyond. For 5G to work, this will require the roll-out of base station transmitters every 100–250m, because these types of Electro-Magnetic Frequency (EMF) waves do not easily penetrate through solid matter e.g. trees, walls, etc. This will lead to a large increase in exposure to EMF radio-frequency radiation for the general population and the environment.
While there are well-known health risks to 2G, 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi at present, there is no research to show that this massive increase in exposure to the 5G EMF radio-frequency radiation 24/7 with no escape will be safe. There are also plans to launch tens of thousands of 5G transmitting satellites into orbit around the planet, covering 95 per cent of the Earth’s surface.
The mobile phone and telecommunication businesses smell money and people want speedy mobile connections, but at the moment no one knows what the health and environmental consequences will be. It took decades to rein in the tobacco industry, stop DDT and 245T use, and make Aotearoa nuclear and environmentally GMO-free. In my opinion, 5G is a technology too far; it should be stopped until such time as it can be proven safe through government-funded independent and transparent scientific research.
Physicians for Safe Technology
Former President Of Microsoft Canada Frank Clegg: On Safety and 5G/Wireless Technologies
Seminar Presentation by The Insect Inspector, Michael Chapman Pincher, on why insects are disappearing all over the world (from 40th minute)
Claire Edwards: The Madness of Putting 53,000 5G Satellites in Space
Invisible Force Driving the Sickness of Technologically Advanced Societies – Dr. Martin Pall-Washington
Monsanto Roundup Attacks Healthy Gut Bacteria, Lawsuit Says
Tremane Barr is Ngāi Tahu/Kāti Māhaki ki Makaawhio. He has been gardening organically for more than 30 years. Tremane is currently a self-employed mauirpreneur whose whānau owned and run business sells essential oils and natural skin care products containing native plant extracts: https://zurma.co.nz/