Brown Paper Bags, Glass and Butcher’s Paper

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Brown Paper Bags, Glass and Butcher’s Paper

There’s a simple reason why boys are becoming wimpier and girls more dominant, and it all starts on the farm.

Once life was simpler—and healthier.

Once we bought fruit and vegetables from a sidewalk fruit stand or a green grocer, or pulled it off the tree or out of the ground in the backyard.

Once we used plain old brown paper bags to contain our fruit and vegetable purchases, our meat was wrapped in pristine white butcher’s paper after purchase at the local butcher; the same for that great old English standby, fish and chips.

Once our milk was poured from the milkman’s steel can into the customer’s pail at their front door. We simply called it a milk can. Then that advanced to delivery to the door in that wonderful inert container, the glass bottle.

Much has changed in food production through the impact of chemical farming based on monoculture and the factory system over the past century. Since World War ii, advances in the chemical, plastics and packaging industries—accelerated remarkably by the centralization of mass distribution systems to huge supermarket chains—have added impact to the way we grow, process, package and purchase food. Now we buy much of our food—in particular meat and often fish—pre-wrapped in plastic film, the fruit—much of it gas ripened—often waxed to a glossy pleasing image, and vegetables are thrust into plastic bags, scourge of the windy curb and countryside. Milk and juices are encased in plastic containers.

Then there’s what we put into the products we consume even as we grow them. The hormones inserted into cattle and poultry, the poisons sprayed on the once good and fertile land, its microbiotic life long destroyed by a century of chemical farming—the effluent from farm, factory and domestic dwelling pouring its residues of chemicals and hormones into our water tables.

Was man’s environment, and the human being dependent on that environment for survival, designed to absorb the impact of all this?

Is there a connection between the organic farming, brown paper bags, butcher’s paper and plain old glass containers of a past age and good health?

Is there a connection between chemical farming, hormonal injections into living food products, plastic, chemical food additives and poor health?

Apart from the simple, obvious, common-sense answer to those questions, if you want to get scientific about it, the answer is a resounding YES!

The Summer 2010 edition of Intelligent Life magazine quotes scientific findings on why our youth are experiencing hormonal changes to which earlier generations were not subject. The author points to the conclusions of Prof. John Sumpter, a fish physiologist at Brunel University. In reporting an outbreak of hermaphrodite fish in rivers in England, he suggested that male fish were becoming feminized due to “man-made industrial chemicals in sewage effluent acting as female estrogens.”

Further studies have highlighted the excessive amount of estrogen that has entered water tables and is being ingested by human beings causing dramatic changes in the hormonal balance of whole populations. At highest risk are unborn fetuses and children.

The Intelligent Life article highlights the efforts of a Danish team that is researching the effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (edcs). These are mostly man-made compounds believed to have a detrimental effect on the way hormones work in our bodies. “According to Anders Juul, most edcs either mimic sex hormones, estrogens in females and androgens in males, or interfere with the way they are metabolized” (ibid.).

Of marked concern in the effect of manufactured chemicals on human health are compounds called phthalates. According to the Environmental Working Group, these are “a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (pvc) more flexible or resilient and also as solvents. Phthalates are nearly ubiquitous in modern society, found in, among other things, toys, food packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, wall coverings, lubricants, adhesives, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo. Phthalates have been found to disrupt the endocrine system.”

Intelligent Life reports that another concern is with Bisphenol A, which is a component of polycarbonate. It is used in the manufacture of tin cans, baby bottles, children’s feeding cups, “sippy” cups and plastic bottles. The report notes that “Last year the Danish government passed a motion to prevent the use of Bisphenol A in milk bottles, but it has yet to be enacted. In 2008, Canada followed suit. In January the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended a similar ban on Bisphenol A in baby bottles and infant feeding cups because of ‘concern about the potential effects of bpa on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and young children’ ….”

That report also highlights the dangers of food preservatives and animal growth enhancers known as parabens. These are “used in many everyday products including sun lotion, shampoo and deodorant; and finally the phyto-estrogens, like lavender, fennel and tea tree, and perhaps most significantly, given its widespread use in America, genistein in soya. American children have a particularly high exposure to edcs, [Prof. Niels] Skakkabaek says, because 80 percent of American beef is still treated with growth promoters.”

Of major concern are findings that the widespread—as one report quoted above even states, “ubiquitous”—use of these substances in our everyday life is drastically altering the hormonal balance in children leading to anything from premature puberty and the feminization of boys to the embedding of cancer in humans from fetus to adulthood.

Simply put, our insistence on fiddling with the basic laws of agronomy and on creating processes and packaging for food which are significantly unnatural are changing hormone levels in the current generation, leading to confusion in the distinction between the sexes. At the same time, we are encouraging illness and too often death by cancer in humans at the very point of gestation by continuing to use such methods.

At Herbert W. Armstrong College, sponsored by the organization that produces the Trumpet magazine, we are striving to reverse this process. We are increasingly growing and feeding our students real, fresh, organically grown food that has not suffered from the impact of destructive chemical farming methods nor is packaged in containers that contribute to the debilitation of bodily health. We are simply striving to follow the natural God-given laws of food production—laws that were designed to sustain vibrant healthy minds and bodies.

Though our farm, like any farm project, means a struggle against weather, pests and limited labor, we are determined to persist with applying God’s natural laws of the environment to triumph over setbacks in our endeavor to reach for the vision of producing natural, hormone-free, chemical-additive-free food, presented at the table the way God created it to be. We know that God always blesses any endeavor that seeks to submit to Him in faith and obedience to His law.

This is just one other way in which we are raising the ruins of one of the earliest and most successful postwar efforts at organic farming. That was the model farm created under Herbert Armstrong’s administration on the Bricket Wood campus of Ambassador College over 40 years ago.

In effect, our farm at Herbert W. Armstrong College is, in its own small way, a forerunner of the great agrarian economy that Bible prophecy declares will exist in the world of peace and prosperity that lies beyond the great traumas ahead in our increasingly divided and disrupted world. That will be a time when “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it” (Micah 4:4).

If you would like a foretaste of that world, then read our booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow.