On Sep 15, 7:35am, Warwick Rowell wrote:
> Subject: Re: More on Potatoes
> 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..
A farmer may chose to sell to the established market or not sell at all. Given
the choice, I think most people might decide to work and get paid rather than
have no income. Farmers in northeastern North Carolina are diversified and
grow a variety of crops. Do farmers in your area really have the luxury of
going out and "playing with their machinery" while their wives tend gardens to
feed the family? The picture you paint is not one with which I can identify.
> 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.
Aren't we all trying to get away from spraying a "cocktail of chemicals.?"
Conventional farmers as well as organic. It takes courage and committment to
be any kind of farmer these days. Conventional farmers also see their efforts
wiped out by drought or floods, or hurricanes. Farmers do not set out to
destroy the ecosystem. They are aware of the effect of pesticides on
beneficial insect populations, for example. They use chemical pesticides only
when necessary. They monitor their crop, the pest popualtions and beneficial
populations. They look at the whole system. But in order to be in business
for the long term, they also cannot afford to let their crop die from a
"natural cause" that can be treated. How long can any of us survive without
> >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..
Gardening is great! Many vegetables and fruits can be produced locally for
local consumption with improved quality, less transportation and packaging
(fossil fuel use). Most people will also need to rely on commercial sources
for grains (rice, wheat, oats, corn) meat, and dairy products (if they choose
to eat them).
> ( 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?
I'm sorry. I wish I knew of a low cost alternative. Any suggestions? Many
people do make decisions on an economic basis, because they see that as the
only choice they have. I cannot presume to tell a low income individual that
they shouldn't buy the cheapest product because of the way it was produced.
Some people have that choice because of their economic situation, others
> >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..
I am just an extension agent trying and learning and helping farmers work
towards sustainablility through Integrated Pest Management. I work with both
conventional and organic farmers. I am also a part time farmer (at one time -
full time), so I can relate to farmers and their situations. I am not debating
or defending organic vs. chemical agriculture. I just feel we need to try to
understand where people are coming from and not get into the trap of passing
judgement or assuming that if some individuals choose to go in one directions,
everyone else should be able to do so, as well.
Thanks for your comments.
(These are my personal comments and opinions and do not necessarily reflect
those of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service or N. C. State
> Permaculture Applications Consulting & Education
> Rosneath Farm, McLachlan Road
> P.O. Box 250 Dunsborough
> Western Australia 6281
> 097 568888 014 088385
>-- End of excerpt from Warwick Rowell
-- Marjorie Rayburn (Ms. IPM) E-Mail : mrayburn@chowan Internet: email@example.com Phone : (919) 482-8431