[NAFEX] inputs and outputs- an apology

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sat Jun 20 07:45:06 EDT 2009


One thing I want to make clear to members of the list.  The comparisons I've
made between agriculture that accepts the use of at least some synthetics
and agriculture that follows organic orthodoxy is never intended to dismiss
or belittle the farmer who successfully grows and markets crops using any
method, especially those doing so within a small farm model.

When researching relative efficiency of farming methods one study that stood
out for me contained data that suggested the superiority of the small farm
model as far as the ratio of calories in and calories out are concerned.
Small, mixed crop farms seem to use much less energy relative to crop
production then the huge monoculture (one crop) farms that typify modern
agriculture.

I believe that what makes these large farms "more efficient"  i.e. capable
of selling products for less, is probably due to advantages in transport and
distribution in which volume is a crucial component to efficiency.  Of
course when you speak of environmental impact, this kind of efficiency can
be extremely positive.

When someone like Rivka is able to support herself, as I assume she does, by
working a small piece of land to produce food, I have nothing but admiration
and respect for the accomplishment and if she does so in a way that reduces
environmental degradation- all the more so

But I'm also proud of the fact that I turn thousands of formerly
unproductive fruit trees into fruit factories that provide food for humans
and wildlife.  Well informed people like Rivka are not what inspires me to
try to make people think more logically about the use of synthetics in
agriculture.  It is people like a client of mine who recently turned away a
spray truck from her property because her son had been diagnosed with ADHD
(attention deficit disorder) and she feared the spray might have caused it.

The synthetic pesticide issue has been so trumped up in the news that my
low-spray (2 Imidan applications) now requires many follow up reassurances
to customers because of near hysteria on the issue.  These same people have
no fear of the air they breathe when they go to Manhattan (where most of
them work) which exposes them to a pollutant level far more likely to cause
health issues, including cancer- or the air in their own homes which are
polluted with volatiles from building materials and even cleaning products.

Dennis stated how proud he was to produce fruit without the use of any IP's
but I'm proud of all the fruit I produce with the use of Imidan.  Avaunt is
the only chemical that promises similar control of plum curculio and it is
10 times as expensive and allegedly not as rain resistant.  It is also not
legal to use (yet) if you are not selling the crop- which most of my
customers are not.

Rivka makes her living selling organic produce, I make mine sticking fruit
on trees with a few synthetic chemicals.  Both of us therefore have a bit of
an ax to grind.  I admit it, I love the smell of Imidan in the morning-
smells like victory!
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