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community building | genetic engineering | sustainability

Food for people, not for corporate profit

I grew up on a farm in the Willamette Valley. We had an apple orchard and raised beans and strawberries. Much of it we canned into the 500 canning jars my mother kept on the shelves in our pantry. In the fall we sold apple cider and dried and fresh apples. We used this money to buy school clothes for the many children in my family. My family did not use chemicals on our farm. In the 50's when the local university started pushing the "new" chemically laden farm technology, my father said it was disgraceful. He believed that a person who works the land, should be close to the land, paying attention to the wildlife and striving to be a good steward. The chemical companies and their agents did not know a thing about the throngs of honeybees that visited our orchards each spring. They could not explain how the chemicals they pushed would not kill those bees while also killing other insects and organisms. My father would have nothing to do with the new agriculture. So I learned from a master. And, I leaned to farm with love of the land and all the species that lived there.

I started out as an organic gardener trying to learn more about my craft. In the 1970's the organic grower's movement on the West Coast took off. Local communities held monthly potlucks to bring would be organic gardeners and farmers together. They teach each other how to grow food without chemicals and with sustainable farming practices. Each major area of Washington and Oregon held these monthly potlucks to try to get growers together. It was fun and interesting to meet other growers. And there was a plan to make sure that what produce or farm products farmers and gardeners had after feeding their own families, would go to a local market.

At first the prices for organic food were very reasonable. No one was "certified" organic. People just showed up at the local markets and told customers they did not use chemicals on their food. Soon there was a competitive edge added to the markets and some growers said they were "more" organic than other growers were. There was also accusations that some growers were using all sorts of chemicals on their crops. Prices for "pure" foods went up. Read More>>>

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