I was stunned, while taking the Master Gardeners Course up here in
northern Idaho, to find how much emphasis was placed on chemicals. No
phones for me either--but that was my choice after being told that I could
only recommend the approved chemical solutions to problems and would not
be permitted to discuss non-chemical alternatives. The rules are
different for tenured faculty than they are for volunteer Master
Gardeners. That's a shame considering so much experience in testing
alternatives is in gardeners and outside the purview of University
I'm aware that Extension Agents have considerably more lattitude in
providing alternatives than volunteer Master Gardeners. There are a number
of Extension agents, even here in Idaho, that are working hard toward
positive change. I applaud their effort to swim upstream. Let's hope they
don't suffer the same fate as the salmon in this region.
Mention was made of creating demand for more emphasis on sustainability in
university ag programs. Demand is defined as "willing and able" to
pay for the product desired. In this the Universities are meeting the
demands of those who are able to pay. Students "demand" for sustainable ag
programs simply can't be as influential as research dollars provided by ag
chemical and biotech companies.
A consortium of organization in Washington has banded together to move WSU
to change by working to influence legislative allocation of dollars to
specific programs within the college of ag. This political action has
proven to be the most effective way to provide balance to private dollars
right here, right now. By continuing to influence the source of
dollars and by staying engaged we can continue to create change from
within the system and from without.
On Sun, 7 Feb 1999, Wilson, Dale wrote:
> > But as far as I know I'm still not allowed to "man" the
> > phones on the master gardener line because I don't just
> > deliver the published chemical control sheets but
> > sometimes offer the organic solution. Uh uh, that's
> > a no-no.
> My appointment at the University of Idaho - Parma was 20% extension
> specialist. We fielded questions from organic gardeners, and tried to give
> them "organic" solutions to their problems. I didn't feel any pressure to
> avoid this. Maybe the master-gardener program at Cornell is reacting
> adversely to polemic or politically-based responses you make, not to
> "organic solutions" per se.
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