Whoa! Hold on Larry, you are way off in the hills of Appalachia
-- most likely surrounded by organic friends talking organic stuff
all day long -- yet in the fish bowl of organica you are losing sight
of the multiple, multiple, multiple realities that exist in
Steve Groff has a superb vegetable farming system worked out
through years of experimentation that relies very heavily on cover
crops and carefully crafted no-till equipment to build a resilient
agro-ecosystem. Worms are quite happy living underneath the mulch,
there are soil microbes doing their thing, all kinds of organic
agriculture systems are in place.
One really noteworthy aspect of Groff's no-till vegetable system is
that it has actually eliminated the need for 6 or 7 fungicide sprays
in the growing season for control of early blight on tomato, since
the no-till mulch reduces soil splashing.
And here, it should be especially noted that fungicides are most
definitely used by organic tomato growers in the eastern United
States. Tomatoes demand the use of copper fungicides to control
diseases, and sometimes sulfur. The rates at which copper fungicides
are used, most definitely are *not* sustainable. They are harmful to
soil microorganisms and worms, and they can build to toxic levels in
For certain, the sustainable agriculture that evolved in 1980s and
1990's from the USDA-SARE program, the efforts of land-grant
universities, the efforts of non-profit organizations such as Rodale
Institute, Land Stewardship Project, Practical Farmers of Iowa,
etc... these have all included the concept of "reduced" rates of
standard fertilizers and pesticides, but never has there been a call
for deliberate "elimination" of these farming tools.
Organic will lose credit if the fish bowl farmers start bashing
their neighbors, and especially when they are way off base as I
believe Larry is in this instance.
As an alternative, I'd rather see Larry talk about no-till equipment
for the small-scale market gardener that eliminates the need for
herbicides such as Roundup. That will not be an easy task, yet
it would revolutionize agriculture at the small farm level.
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