Elise’s sweet potato project is a reminder that not all food is good food.

REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A KID and your teacher had you stick a potato in a glass of water and three weeks later a vine would grow out of it? Well, unless you have an organic farmer’s market nearby, those days are gone.

As it turns out, even so-called ‘organic’ fruits and vegetables in supermarkets contain pesticides, though the levels are lower than those of ‘regular’ produce. We all know that produce is sprayed with pesticides. Fortunately, we can’t see or taste it, so we can subconsciously block out the fact that we’re eating poison.

One thing I like about this video is that the girl actually shows us the effect Bud Nip (street name of the pesticide Chlorpropham) has on the regular sweet potato: it’s dead as a mackerel. One has to wonder if it contains any nutritional value whatsoever.


Photo: Rachel Zack

The other thing I like is the Fourth Grade Science Project feel to it. Sure, the girl’s grandma probably did her project for her, but it raises more important moral questions: Should food come with a warning label, such as on household chemicals? Does everyone deserve to eat safe food, or just those who can afford it? How much more are you willing to pay for food that won’t give you cancer?

Try this project at home to see if your potato grows vines.