>Too often farmers are caught in the modern agricultural
>production system. They have to produce for the market that
>But, when a pest threatens to wipe out their crop (and their
>livelihood), they treat the crop to reduce the pest population
>below damaging levels. They have mortgage payments to make,
>families to feed and clothe, and children to send to college.
Now this thread is getting to several important points.
One is the realisation that as soon as you HAVE to trade you
are no longer in a free market. And being an efficient producer
of one crop is pretty stupid. We have started articulating a
real logic which is giving farming women here a new focus; while
the "boys" are out "playing with their machinery", :^) you
garden to feed the family if .. the pests .. the market.. the
strike.. the trucks.. the kangaroos.. the APB..
Spraying crops with a cocktail of chemicals is surely a classic
case of what I see as "the commons and futures problem" we all
face. My crop is threatened, so I choose to destroy part of the
biological system on which my own long term future depends. My
crop is threatened, so I spray, despite any broader effect
on air, soil, water around me, on which I and everyone else
depend. It takes huge courage and lots of commitment to go organic;
a friend of mine says he is going to write a book titled "3 days
to catastrophe", because he has found that that is as much
leeway as he has. It takes huge courage to see a crop or flock
die from some natural cause, and I have a huge admiration for
farmers' stoicism in the face of natural cycles' variability.
Many farmers here are changing to organics after observing
deterioration in their families' and their own health. Has anyone
checked the incidence of cerebral haemorrages in young men in
rural areas?? I am informed there is some slight evidence here
of an increase which seems to coincide with the increased use
of systemics for low tillage.... What are the comparative rates of
cancers in rural versus city areas? Ask you local epidemiologist!!
"Oh, the cancer clinics are in the cities, so we wouldn't know."
So get your local organisations collecting the data..
>What works on a small scale in a garden, sometimes may not be
>adaptable to a large scale situation.
The next point:
Gardening is often more productive than agriculture per se,
and when you remove the transport, packaging, handling costs,
dramatically so. For many many crops, and in many many
circumstances, we need to go back to gardening; intensive,
high supervision, rather than extensive, mass production.
David Holmgren wrote a brilliant article on this in The
Permaculture Edge several years ago. Mollison just says
"everything gardens" - attempts to change its immediate
environment to make life more comfortable..
( I also don't have the
>additional $ it costs for organically grown cotton apparel.) I don't have
>enough room in my garden to grow all that I need.
And surely letting some poor person in the USA or China or
Malaysia struggle with chemicals and a competitive market is
just another form of colonialism - but more corrupt because
it is covert??
If we are not prepared to pay the real costs, should we be
able to buy it?
>Some things may not be as simple as they seem.
I agree wholeheartedly, and am not having a go at anyone,
particularly farmers. But I am questioning the system we are
all a part of, and asking that we don't fall into the debating
trap of an "us/them", or an "either/or" mindset, with respect
to organics v chemicals.
But I do ask you to look at how these conundrums need to be
addressed in your life. Then you might find a permaculturist
near you who is doing the same thing. Trying .. Learning..
Permaculture Applications Consulting & Education
Rosneath Farm, McLachlan Road
P.O. Box 250 Dunsborough
Western Australia 6281
097 568888 014 088385