I am one who asked you for whom you worked. Sorry if I seemed 'unfriendly,'
but I thought I detected some of the verbage we often associate with
'responsible' and 'reasonable' corporations whose business happens to be
An example of this verbage:
>There is room -- need -- for visionaries who pursue their vision with
>messianic zeal. There is also need for a lot of drudgery in the fields to
>winnow through the myriad of technological choices to find what works
>and what doesn't work. We need to temper our enthusiasm for a more
>benign agriculture with realism; evaluate these alternatives with caution
>and skepticism, but NOT reject any out-of-hand because of prejudice or
Words like "visionaries," "messianic zeal," and "irrational fear," seemed
unfair to Bill and they could be construed as an attempt to discredit him as
extreme...a tactic frequently used by corporate/political spin doctors.
In a recent exchange on this list, it was discovered that there are 'paid
lurkers' in this network--ie those who are paid to keep track of what people
like Benbrook, Madden, Lockeretz, Ann Clark, and others were 'up to.' That
kind of 'intelligence gathering' makes many people uneasy. Certainly it
makes me uneasy--and I gather from the tone of Bill Duesing's writing that
it makes him uneasy too.
I detect political undertones in Bill's writing--one of the most important
is the danger of corporate influence both through advertizing and through
>Potatoes are very big business. For example, the potatoes used for French
>in fatty-food, excuse me, fast food restaurants, are grown by large corporate
>farms, processed by a global food manufacturer then sold by a third giant
>corporation.... Transnational chemical and drug companies are happy
>to supply the poisons used to grow these potatoes.
Some writers would label this line of thought 'populist,' and thereby try to
dismiss it as 'conspiracy theory' or 'paranoia.' These writers apparantly
'trust' the folks who bring us the Leher News Hour, etc. Yet there seems to
be pleanty of evidence that a large share of problems of 'big government'
are rooted in the unsavory influence of big business.
Organic farmers are a diverse lot: aging hippies, retired scientists, 3rd
generation farmers, etc. Their politics are just as diverse...but in all I
detect an independant spirit and a distrust of both big government and big
business. Their direction suggests farmers taking back control of their
production. Since economic control and political control are often closely
linked, this seems like a very American thing to do.
Since Bill's column is aimed at NPR listeners, he seems to be suggesting
that consumers can make choices that rearrange control of their food
>Potatoes are a good example of the possibilities for radical redesign of our
>food system. We may not be able to change the world, but we <I>can</I> change
>the way we eat.
The key word here is 'possibilities.' Other possibilities he has written
about include farmers' markets and community gardens. In the
context,'radical' doesn't seem to have 1960's connotation as much as it
Dept of Ag and Resource Econ
Colorado State University
Ft Collins, CO 80523