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White Fox

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Folks, although this post is somewhat off topic here, in many ways it is spot on. Since the Animal Rights organizations and Organic foods tend to go together.


This link goes to a book on the myths about organic food For instance, did you know that if all foods were organically based that we eat, that there would have to be 8 BILLION more cows on earth? First off, these people say we should not raise cows. And secondly, that many cows would cause extreme pollution, etc. Can you imagine the diseases we would get from that much manure. That many rotting carcasses after those cows die. Etc.


It is a complicated subject, but for those interested it is indeed an interesting fellow who wrote it. He has indeed done his research!



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Maybe the Animal Rights folks think so but not this dedicated Organic Adel Davis/ Edgar Casey follower


I never get any guff from the hippies at my food coop when I wear my fur jackets.





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Isn't the primary difference between conventional commercial agriculture and organic the adoption of synthetic chemicals in the former? For those who tout the superior crop yields of commercial farming, my question is what's your plan for global peak oil production? We might already have reached that point. That means chemicals derived from petroleum will become increasingly costly.


Another thing those trashing organics tend to ignore is the cost imposed on ecosystems by toxic runoff, the costs to farm laborers and others who process foods with hazardous chemical residues. It's not an easy correlation to demonstrate, but I also wonder how many of our healthcare costs are actually roundabout subsidies to our chemically dependent agriculture. You checked this guy's funding carefully? Sure he doesn't have financial ties somewhere to corporate agribusiness or petrochemical industries?


I'm not an organic foods purist. I'll choose something grown by local family farmers who aren't certified organic over something trucked, shipped, or flown in with a pretty plastic certified organic label from 4,000 some miles away. Food is perhaps the most important indicator of my relationship with the mother planet, and I want to be treating her RIGHT.

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couple of things this fellow brings out.


Organic is based on manure. Think back to the spinach problem months back in North America. That was due to the manure used apparently to grow the spinach. Organic really equals manure. However, the amount of manure available today is very small. Thus one would have to have huge numbers of cattle, pigs, etc. to grow the same acreages of crops.


Here is an example. Remember the battle in the US at Gettysburg? I've been told that for many decades after that battle there was polluted water and all kinds of such problems due to the huge number of rotting human bodies and horses, etc. buried where they fell. (I was told this by locals, and not those interested in pros and cons of organics.)


That is what this huge increase in manure would cause. They apparently estimate that it would take around 8 billion cattle in the world to convert to organic. Think of the pasture that would need. Think of the huge acreages to feed that many cattle. And think of the bacteria they would produce. Think of the huge methane increases going into the atmosphere from those ruminous stomachs. The reason that the number is so high is that it takes way more acres to feed those animals. In turn that needs more manure. It skyrockets very, very quickly.


It is that bacteria from rotting substances that is the problem with organic. But, if you get rid of fertilizers, you MUST up manure. And very high concentrations of manure tends over a long time to go hand in hand with bacterial contamination. Also, as you increase manure you tend to throw the land out of balance over many years. For instance one element will gradually become too high for the crop to survive while another element will become too low. With fertilizers you can balance that out. With manure it is much more difficult. Think of the crop yields when farmers started to use chemicals and how quickly they jumped. This is exactly why. Another way to illustrate this is to think of our Indian friends from early on. They knew about manure. But, they still had to be nomads moving from place to place. That is why. The elements in the land got out of balance so they had to move on.


Second point he mentioned was that there was a product in extremely high use in Europe based on Copper used on much of their organic acreaqe. And, it is apparently quite highly toxic. The gov't allows it as there is no other product to use. Get rid of it, you get rid of organics.


The other problem is that as you increase the levels of manure, you produce huge spikes in contaminated surface runoff. Manure is extremely bad for that. Yes, fertilizers are not good. But manure is mostly applied on top of soils and then disced in, etc. i.e. it is still in those top couple of inches of soil for a good while. Thus, extremely easy to run off into rivers and lakes. The answer is to plow it in, thus causing huge erosion in some areas.


Indeed, at the moment, world food supplies are indeed shrinking. However, remember that farmers have been subsidized for decades to produce their products as there is no market for them. Yes, there is need, but those in need cannot afford to buy them. Believe it or not, there is a huge shortage, and a surplus at the same time! Just because those in need have no way to purchase those products. Have you ever looked to see how huge the subsidies are in both Europe and the US and to a lesser degree Canada and some other countries really are? Think about Ethanol. Something like 70 new plants under construction in the US. Used to burn up that huge surplus of crops we have now causing this over supply and the huge subsidies.


Don't get me wrong. There is a place for organic. However, there is a huge amount of sensationalism in the press from it. The biggest thing is that if you use organic food you want to be extremely careful to wash it far, far more than regular foods. Tests prove (I have heard from many different sources) that it is often still contaminated with traces of those huge levels of manure, etc. Believe it or not those levels you can get are a far greater risk than chemicals. No, I don't like chemicals. But - you do need to understand organic foods and how they are produced. Yes indeed, there is a great cost to using fertilizers for instance. But, if one tried to increase to those huge levels of organics some people like to encourage, the costs to our poor old world would be very high.


Of course to really get into this you need to read the book. Far too complicated to discuss here to any real depth.



P.S. Who the writer of the book works for. You missed the following on the web site. I'll admit it is kind of "buried" there.


Alex Avery is director of research and education with the Center for Global Food Issues at Hudson Institute. Prior to joining Hudson in 1994, he was a McKnight research fellow at Purdue University, where he worked to develop drought-resistant sorghum varieties for the Sudan of Africa. Since joining the Center in 1994, Alex has represented the Center at the 1996 United Nations World Food Summit in Rome. The Center for Global Food Issues looks at agricultural policy from a global perspective, with reference to both economic and environmental impacts.


He actually mentioned that he does not get a cent from the book. All goes to the CGFI. However, he is employed by them.


And before you ask. Yes, this is controversial. It just shows how little research as been done on it. We need far, far more and need it quickly, as it affects the food we eat and our poor old environment so strongly! But so few people seem to care about our environment when money is involved.

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Organic does NOT mean manure. It is only one aspect of organic farming.


Crop rotation is the main key to the regimen. The main factor that depletes soil is mono crop industrial farming. This REQUIRES huge amounts of some kind of fertilizer to make the soil at all productive after only a few short years.


Petroleum based fertilizers will eventually totally deplete the soil to the point of non production.


This is happening very rapidly in Brazil with the deforestation. The fields won't grow grass after a few years because there is no soil. Brazil is turning into desert because of the agricultural push.


ORGANIC is getting things back in balance so the fields can be very productive year after year without fertilizers or insecticides.


The manure incident was from cows on hormones in the adjacent non-organic fields blowing over. Not as fertilizer for the spinach.


If your neighbor isn't organic chances are you will be corrupted. Like the tons of Mercury now being deposited on the US and Canada from the furnaces of China.



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I don't want to get into this here as there is way too much sentiment involved. But I've done a fair bit of research into this myself.

OFF, you need to remember that there are two things with soil. Fertilization, and tilth. You are getting those "back asswards" as the old expression goes. You are getting them mixed up. And you have to remember that the problem comes from the production we demand of land that was not "designed by Nature" to produce that much. It was designed to grow a forest. Not a field of cabbages.


You have to remember that soil nutrient level is one thing. You can put manure on a computer and break down to it's components and it will always have the same amount of N, P, K, Mg, Mn, Bo, Z, and all of the other trace elements. Yes, it varies from animal to animal somewhat. But each animal's manure is always almost exactly the same.


The problem is that if the land needs "X" number of parts per million of Mg for instance, with using manure one has to also put on the equivalent number of ppm of Bo when you use manure. With fertilizers you can put on the correct amounts. But with manure you cannot very that. That is where the problem is. Indeed, the fertilization WAS indeed a VERY major factor as to why the natives were forced to move from place to place. No, it was not all of it. But it was a huge part. Tilth as you say was one other. And there were others as well. (Fertilizaiton - Many of today's farmers very the amount of each nutrient as they travel from one end of the field to the other, allowing them to very nutrient levels according to the soil they are fertilizing. This is done by GPA and Satellite locations, site specific soil testing, etc. Thus no areas get too much fertilizer as they used to.)


As you state, crop rotation helps. However, it is not the whole picture by any means. That is where you are mixed up. As you state, the lack of rotation is in fact a major reason that so much soil is spoiled in Brazil. But you are missing one thing. They do not rotate, and do not fertilize or keep up the soil Ph. With either manure, or fertilizer, and that is the problem. It takes thousands of years to make an inch of top soil. Much of Ontario for instance has less than 15 cm (guess that is about 6 inches or so) where land is farmed. And not keeping nutrients in check gradually depletes what has taken thousands of years for nature to build.


Much of what OFF says is quite correct, however, your point about the hormones in manure blowover from cows on spinach is NOT. You need to do research on that one. That is NOT the case. The spinach was contaminated with a bacteria, and not a hormone. The bacteria was E-Coli. And believe me E-Coli is a bacteria and not a hormone. And believe me that spinach was indeed organic. And, it was fertilized with manure! And the fact it could be contaminated like that proves what high manure levels can do. Yes, that time you mention might have been from an adjacent field. But remember there was more than one case of that. Do you think that there were cows next to every field where there were problems found? What about the other cases that you do not mention? Manure applied was indeed the case.


It has been mentioned that manure has nothing to do with organic. Where did you think that organic farmers get their plant food from? Believe me, what rotation puts into the fields mainly is tilth. Yes, it allows farmers of today to keep up nutritional levels as well, but it's purpose is to keep the tilth in the soil. The other big factor in production. Without that, we are lost. To show you. The number of farmers not rotating on at least a three year basis in North America would be tiny. I've never saw the figures but acreage would be very small. Corn/Beans/Wheat, etc. Those on 4 and 5 year rotations are actually increasing, but lack of crops make that difficult. Do you think they could grow those crops without fertilizers or manure? Do you think that rotation is enough to fertilize them? No way! (By the way what tilth is... Pick up a handful or soil from a lane pounded by trucks and work it through your fingers. Then pick up a handful of rich soil and work it through your fingers. That crumbling affect is soil tilth. That is the best way to describe it.)


Also, for instance. A good friend of mine who is a chicken farmer began to use high levels of manure to fertilize his crop to save money. In fact, in just over ten years he had to quit using it for awhile and fertilize as in just that time his soil nutrient levels were getting so far out of whack that his yields were diving. A very good friend of mine who is an organic farmer I know solves this problem with a rotation of organic and non organic on rotation of something like 7 years. (Been awhile since we talked - might be 8 or 9.) He has a field on organic for that time. Then, he brings the nutrient levels into balance. Then goes organic with them again. Once again, the reason for all of these problems is that we push our land to feed people. It was not designed by nature to do what we demand today from it. It was designed to grow a forest. Not a field of cabbages.


But, all of this has nothing to do with the point at hand. what I was hoping this thread would point out was the way press takes off with sensational stories like those of Animal Rights, and not present the other side. There are two sides to every story. Not just the sensational side.


First off, there is nothing wrong with organic. But folks hear the story like OFF has heard about spinach being contaminated with hormones. Someone gets an idea like that and the press takes off with it and everyone believes them as here, even though it was contaminated with a bacteria and NOT a hormone.


Again, I do not want to argue this out here. There are far too many sentiments involved here. This can become political and there is no way I want that. If anyone is interested in this subject I suggest they read that book. There you can see the whole picture. It may not change your mind. But it will get you to thinking. Again, there is nothing wrong with organic farming. There is something wrong with people thinking you can feed the world on it.


And above all, this thread has gotten way off direction here. So I think it best I bow out. However, if you are indeed using organic foods there is nothing wrong with that. But you need to be very, very careful to wash them much more than you would non organic ones. Because there is a huge level of decaying material involved to grow them, and decaying and bacteria is one and the same.


P.S. I hope this did not sound like I am "attacking" anyone here as I am not! As with every story, there are two sides and this is no exception.


Just did some quick research and found in two places that it was irrigation water that was poisoned by manure that caused the problem OFF speaks about.

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These seem to be just a few examples of improperly done organic foods, used to bash the whole concept.


This thread is starting to remind me of touchofsable's anti-anti-smoking threads.

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Who's post are you pointing to? And it's not that easy to tell, since the pages split.

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My dad has background in organic chemistry. A few times when I first mentioned organic foods, he objected that all foods are organic because they're composed of carbon compounds.


But I don't think that's the sense of organic that was intended with the beginning of organic farming. I believe it has to do with treating the relationship between soil, plants, and eaters as if they were organs of a larger system. I'm no agricultural expert; however I understand that the typical agribusiness field is a dead zone for organisms other than the intended crop. And that relative lack of diversity is regulated through heavy applications of pesticides and herbicides.


Manure certainly may have a role in many organic farms. But so do earthworms. When I get produce that has insect larvae in it, I say "All right! This produce didn't kill the caterpillars; maybe it won't kill me, either."


Organic is also about composting, and composting not just manure but plant waste of which there's LOTS. Organic farming is about attempting to reintegrate with natural systems where there's no waste, where death is a transition back to a different life form. Humans don't like that order. We like to imagine a world without death, because we don't like to die--and can you really blame us?


The promise of conventional farming is that by sucking earth's petroleum blood and modifying it to magic potions to put in the soil and on its crops we can transcend the old order and grow and grow and grow forever. Ultimately it's a lie.


Part of our problem whether we're going to try to feed all of us through organic or synthetic agriculture is that we've increased our numbers outside earth's carrying capacity. There's not an easy solution to that. I can't expect 5.5 billion people to just stop breathing, and probability is that I'd be one of them.


Maybe we can make some progress whichever agriculture we favor to strive to limit our waste. Knowledge about what it takes to grow our food and its consequences on biological communities is also important. And on that score, I thank White Fox for his curiosity and the attention he's given to satisfying it and sharing his perspective here.



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Waste ... toxic waste


Non-toxic food, water and air. Try and find it.


Wonder why there is the direct correlation between toxic waste and all our afflictions?


frugalfurguy has the handle on carrying capacity.




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One of the problems is defining what is toxic. It is pretty unbelievable that today some sprays are so non toxic that they have an LD-50 which so low it is not only many times lower than table salt that it is right out of the ball park. Yet, a tiny packet will spray many hectares. One is the chemical behind a product called Ultim/Elim.


However, does this mean that we could eat the pesticide right out of the packet? No way and I do not think that anyone would insinuate that at all. The governing agencies do (counter to what people believe) do their best to rate these things, but it can be difficult. And some folks do not pay attention anyhow. It is probably 95% certain that it is not even close to the toxicity of table salt. But it is still hard to tell.


Interesting fact. A friend of mine knew a fellow who produced many of the organic eggs for stores in the Toronto region. A very high proportion of them in fact. He produced eggs with chickens raised on floors, organic, chickens on open range, etc. Brown eggs. White eggs in each catagory, etc. And - the kicker. All of his chickens were in the same pen given the same food as any other farm chicken was. The stores really were saying "Don't tell me - I don't want to know." He is of course out of business now but it was probably only maybe two to three years ago that he was still doing that.


Interesting fact. Many pesticide companies could develop much less lethal sprays. However, anti spray movements are causing them to not do that. As a result farmers land up using much more toxic products that are old as they do not have the new ones. Such movements are actually causing our land to get a much higher overload than we would otherwise.


People in fact do not understand that biggest problem with these. That is not the food they are applied to, to grow it. It is the ground water. But since that all comes from the same place, no one seems to care. And what they do not understand is that bottled water comes from the ground. It is not the slightest better than the water out of the tap when it comes to that contamination.



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You seem to be confusing organic with Kosher at best, and clean with sterile at worst. This fact twisting is just as stupid as half the conspiracy nuts on the web.

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Give me that again? If you don't understand something, let me know and I will explain. Just do not want to get long messages here.


If you mean re ground water, the facts are out there and extremely easy to find. Just do a search for ground water tests, etc.


You have lost me on your charges. If you let me know what you did not understand I will explain further.



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I meant the chickens in the pens. As for the ground water, do you mean the pesticides were used, and somehow got in the water? If so, why do you think that's against just organic foods, as the pesticides would affect non-organic as well?

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As for the chickens...


Indeed, that farmer is not around today as I mentioned. I have not heard if they guy was caught or quit voluntarily. You have to remember that it was only recently we figured what organic was. (for example, if you fed cows hormones and applied their manure 24 months ago, was food grown on that ground with no pesticides, etc actually organic? know it sounds simple but it isn't.) With no rules, there were no inspectors, etc.


Finally we have inspectors checking for those things, Now that we are getting them properly defined. So folks like the chicken farmer are easier to catch. But remember. How do we prove which pen the eggs came from that he sold to that particular market? (research needed again.)


The ground water thing is indeed a problem as you mention. Putting those pesticides in there is a huge problem. But if you go 100% organic you have so many cows, pigs, and chickens, that their manure pollutes the water. So we come full circle. Remember the example I mentioned of the ground being polluted after the Battle of Gettysburg for so many years? As someone (OFF maybe?) stated here the answer may lie in processing and composting, but remember that it is not easy to compost a thousand tons of cattle manure a year for instance. Even way more than that for big farms. While waiting for it to compost, it again pollutes the water. If we go 100% organic, we multiply that problem endlessly as we are back to those 6 to 8 billion cows!


We are back to what I mentioned originally. Our governments need a whole lot more research on these things than they are doing today.

Again, I am not anti organic! By no means am I that. But I am against the sensationalism and lack of understanding of it. It will continue into the future as it should. But so will regular farming methods.


With that I think it is time to bow out again here.




P.S. Totally off topic aside. Interesting that there are many more draft horses used again these days. A lot of cattle farmers are beginning to use them again to feed their cattle. Easier to start a horse than a tractor.

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Don't forget that the "spinach scare" we had in 2006 was traced back to an organic farm.


There were cows on an adjoining piece of land and the cow manure got into the runoff water used to irrigate the spinach farm. The manure contained E. Coli bacteria and that's what caused the contamination. After that, every piece of spinach processed on the same equipment, be it organic or traditionally farmed, became contaminated.


One stupid pile of cow s*it caused a nationwide food scare!


I'm not saying that organic food is better or worse. I'm saying that organic is not NECESSARILY better simply because it's grown a certain way.


Further, there is little to no evidence that food grown organically is any better than traditionally grown food. Nutrition-wise, there is virtually no difference.


The overuse of pesticides... I AM generally against.

But that does not mean I am against the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, either. Used judiciously and responsibly, they are beneficial and not harmful. It is the OVERUSE of pesticide that is the problem.


You guys are going to freak about this:


DDT is NOT necessarily a bad pesticide.

It's cheap to produce. It is effective and, for the time it was invented, it was relatively safe. Now we have even better pesticides that have fewer side effects.


However... it was NOT DDT, by itself, that caused the environmental problems associated with its use. It was the WHOLESALE SPRAYING of DDT over vast areas of cropland that caused the problems. If it was used for what it was originally designed... spot application... it would be okay.


Even today, there are several applications where DDT would be the best pesticide for given applications but, simply because people associate the name "DDT" with negative effects seen in the past, they automatically fear it.


100 million people in Latin America are at risk from Chagas' Disease because there are few cheap pesticides capable of killing the beetle that spreads it. (Chagas is a malaria-like disease spread by the bite of an insect.) DDT is a good pesticide for use in killing the Chagas Beetle but it can't be used because it's illegal.


It's a shame but it's true. All because farmers in the past used too much of it and now it's illegal.


Again, I am not against organic farming. But, neither am I for it. Rather, I believe in SUSTAINABLE farming.


Farmers should use what they need to produce the crops that feed our populations but they shouldn't overuse chemicals simply in the name of making short-term profits.

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Sustainable farming with the "judicious" use of DDT. Doesn't work in my book. Brown pelicans and bald eagles were on a fast track to extinction until that vile stuff was banned.


When we base our arguments about the appropriateness of a chemical solely on human benefits, we tend to overlook that humans are part of a greater system. If we destroy that greater system ultimately we compromise its ability to uphold our quality of life. So we run the fish-eating birds into extinction because we're afraid of some insect-transmitted disease. The human population gets still bigger and expands into more marginally desirable habitats, possibly catching more novel diseases and requiring still more applications of magical poisons so they can rear up more and more slums.


It seems to me ironic that because media hypes it so, we become incredibly scared of hitchhikers on our greens. On the other hand, the media is relatively silent about people getting run over in crosswalks. It's just all too commonplace. But the probability of my dying because of a motor vehicle collision is much, much, much greater than my dying of contaminated produce. If we gave the kind of attention to designing cities that are safe to walk and pedal and wheelchair in

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Sustainable farming with the "judicious" use of DDT. Doesn't work in my book. Brown pelicans and bald eagles were on a fast track to extinction until that vile stuff was banned.


When we base our arguments about the appropriateness of a chemical solely on human benefits, we tend to overlook that humans are part of a greater system. If we destroy that greater system ultimately we compromise its ability to uphold our quality of life. So we run the fish-eating birds into extinction because we\'re afraid of some insect-transmitted disease. The human population gets still bigger and expands into more marginally desirable habitats, possibly catching more novel diseases and requiring still more applications of magical poisons so they can rear up more and more slums.


It seems to me ironic that because media hypes it so, we become incredibly scared of hitchhikers on our greens. On the other hand, the media is relatively silent about people getting

run over in crosswalks. It\'s just all too commonplace. But the probability of my dying because of a motor vehicle collision is much, much, much greater than my dying of contaminated produce. If we gave the kind of attention to designing cities that are safe to walk and pedal and wheelchair in<96>let alone where useful destinations are actually within easy walking distance<96>as we gave to making sure not one E. coli bacterium lodges on a lettuce leaf, we might re

ally save lives.


My death-wishing life has me frequently pedaling home with a bicycle rack trunk loaded with food, much of which is organically grown. I can't

say whether it's the pedaling or the eating. When my doctor examines my blood chemistry he says he wishes his numbers were like that. So is it really a death wish?


And considering this site, is organic farming good for fur-bearing animals?

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Interesting question.


Are you familiar with the Nitrogen sometimes used in corn production in the form of a gas called "Anhydrous"? Less expensive but very dangerous.


That stuff freezes anything on contact so obviously is not good for earthworms.


Let me say right off I am guessing here. However, I would think that earthworms would like manure better than fertilizer. And I would think they would be a part of the natural system of things. So - in terms of today's agriculture I think it would be really good with organic. but try to turn everything organic. In other words increase to those 6 to 8 billion cows, or the animal equivelant as they call it. And I think that amount of manure in the soil would do the opposite. Again, this is guessing.


I do know that surveys after application of "Anhydrous" proves that they rebound so quickly that the difference is not very big. Those little succors do like to have sex!


Earthworms do play a big part in nature. Earthworms = birds. Birds go hand in hand with other insects, etc.

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Hippie that I am (but can do without the hash!), I've kept a worm bin under the kitchen sink. It's a way of composting my scraps without having to have a backyard pile. We're talking about red manure worms now, not deep-burrowing nightcrawlers. Anyway, they're amazing how much they eat and, yes, how much they reproduce.


Ultimately I decided I'd sneaked the worms in, rationalizing that they weren't pets and didn't break landlord's rules. I'm working on being direct and rigorously honest so sneaking around that way doesn't do. I decided not to ask my landlord about it and instead quit using the worms.


It was fun while it lasted.



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