Inorganic gardening

You probably remember reading or hearing about Michelle Obama’s garden, the one she’s planting in the White House lawn, with help from some DC school children. Now the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) also wants to help.

Quote Jimmy Durante: Everybody wants to get inta the act.

What interested MACA was hearing that “pesticides or chemical fertilizers won’t be used on the White House garden.” MACA wrote a letter to the First Lady, pointing out factors of which — apparently — they assumed she was ignorant.

We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family’s year-round food needs.

My own impression is that Ms. Obama is perhaps more keenly aware of such factors than the PR flacks who operate MACA.

PR flacks? What do you mean, SOG?

What I mean is that despite the cozy home-grown name, Mid America CropLife Association is an agribusiness organization representing such cozy home-grown corporations as Monsanto, Dow, and DuPont. Here’s my favorite lift from their letter.

“As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S. in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply.”

Isn’t that lovely? “Conventional agriculture,” as MACA would have you understand that phrase, is built on pesticides, manipulation of seed genes, intense monoculture which drains nutrients from the earth, and chemical — I’d call it pollution — which attempts to replace the nutrients.

Agriculture limped along, feeding the billions, for about 9,900 years. Without artificial chemical intervention. That’s what I’d have called “conventional agriculture.”

At last report, the White House garden was still based on my version of conventional agriculture.


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