Avery and Hudson Inst.
Charles Benbrook (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wed, 15 May 1996 10:06:59 -0400
I have been critical of some of Avery's views, and even called some of them
silly once on SANET, which triggered a long debate on SANET from Feb. 1995
through the fall. I got invited to debate Dennis at EcoFarm Jan 1996, he
could not make it, but his son and co-author, Alex did. We had a spirited,
entertaining, and perhaps even elucidating debate for almost 2 hours with a
few hundred folks, many of whom liked the session a great deal. Alex ate
with all the rest of us at EcoFarm, raved about the great food, enjoyed the
good organic wine and danced his socks off. Did he change many people's
minds, no, did I change his, no. But it was a civil exchange.
Interest in the debate at EcoFarm wound up leading to a
point-counterpoint between Dennis and I in California Farmer published about
2 issues ago, extracted verbatim from some of the posts of last year.
Dennis and I have agreed to debate "head to head" Oct. 25 in San Diego, and
I am sure it will be entertaining, etc. Given the audience (western Ag
Chem. Association), I plan to try to educate him about what pesticides have
done to sustainability, worker health, and soil quality. Through all this,
I will remain respectful of Dennis and others who have decided, for wahtever
reason, to take the "agbusiness" line to the public. I do not expect people
to believe me because I am generally regarded as an enviormentalist, nor do
I expect people to generally mis-trust Dennis because a good share of his
support comes from industry. In the end, the microbes will win (as will the
truth) and even the most die-hard pesticide lover will admit we got way more
than a little carried away with this "chemistry is better than life"
In my travels many new and old friends are lamenting the loss of the
middle ground where tough ag/envir/food safety issues can be debated, even
argued over, withut leaving people without a sour taste in their mouths.
Farmers in particular are very poorly served by the level of distracting and
meaningless discord that seconds as public policy dialogue these days. I
hate to see how quickly every abberent voices/persons that venture onto
SANET get trashed for where they are coming from. I miss the exchanges with
those I do not agree with, in part because they are the people I tend to
learn the most from. I hope everyone will work to make SANET a safe place
for a diverse range of perspectives for in diversity their is...