Methyl Bromide till 2015/

Jill Taylor Bussiere jdt at
Thu Jun 15 11:05:20 EDT 2000

    I should be outside, but am recovering from spending all day with others
getting ready for an open house for a Farm Market Kitchen - a community
kitchen project we are trying to make happen.  It would be beautiful weather
to be outside, and the strawberries need yet more weeding, so I will after

    Thank you for your answer - it is very helpful!
    What is it that is put on the strawberries to make them turn red, even
thought they are green, do you know?

----- Original Message -----
From: Alex McGregor <waldenfarm at>
To: market farming <market-farming at>
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2000 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: Methyl Bromide till 2015/

> Jill,
> Hugh may be outside right now.  I'll answer what I can and Maybe Hugh will
share some of
> his knowledge.
> Methyl Bromide is injected into the soil as a gas to kill all life.  This
results from
> the thinking that if you kill everything, you kill the "bad guys."  This
is widely used
> by strawberry growers and some monocrop vegetable growers.  It's used with
annual crops.
> The problem is that the only life forms that recover rapidly after
sterilization are the
> "bad guys," like fusarium, resulting (they think) in the use of more
sterilant. Sort of a
> self-perpetuating system- sterilization increases the problem.
> Hugh refers to an Acres USA article as an attachment to his letter.  I'm
assuming this is
> the issue containing the interview with Elaine Ingham.  She has worked
with California
> strawberry farmers who had used methyl bromide for years and were looking
> alternatives.  Her bioassay of their soil showed that the soil ecology was
dominated by
> the "bad guys" and that the "good guys" were few or not present.
> She had them add compost with a balanced soil ecosystem present to
inoculate the soil and
> balance their ecosystems- with great success.  These growers are no longer
using methyl
> bromide and are producing above average crop yields while decreasing their
cost of
> production.
> The moral of the story is, encourage a healthy soil ecosystem through
proper soil
> management and add beneficial organisms through good composting practices
> Biodynamic preparations to suppress disease rather than trying to kill
everything and
> hopefully get the "bad guys."
> Current research on methyl bromide centers around finding another
sterilant.  The methods
> being tested are other chemicals, solarization and injecting steam.  All
follow the same
> flawed logic of killing all life.  Dr. Ingham's work is an exception.  It
follows the
> proven theory that a healthy soil ecosystem results in healthy plants.
The "technology"
> is available to stop using methyl bromide right now.  But the chemical
companies have law
> makers convinced that they have to come up with a chemical alternative
before it's
> banned.  They have also convinced the farmers who use it that they have to
use a
> sterilant or suffer crop losses.
> The only reason I can see for pursuing sterilization techniques is that it
keeps farmers
> dependent on supply companies.  Dr. Ingham's work moves farmers towards
independence and
> economic sustainability.
> Alex McGregor
> Walden Farm
> Jill Taylor Bussiere wrote:
> > Hugh,
> >     Is this the substance that is used on strawberries?   Can you tell
> > it is used for, on what fruits and vegetables, and if there are any
> > ill effects besides the sterilization of the soil?  Or some relevant web
> > sites?
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