Use of chemicals : LUSENET : David's Organic Forum : One Thread

We live in a world that is polluted by spray drift. Spray drift is the unwanted consequence of spraying. Farmers don't want drift but it is inevitable. Neighbours have to wear it. Drivers don't want exhaust fumes and shipping companies don't want oil spills but we have them all and we don't seem to be able to escape them.

What we can do is do our best to promote the less dangerous alternatives. It is hard enough to survive financially in our modern world and the less dangerous alternatives are often less economically viable in the short term and so need be more expensive.

A poor year on our organic farm has forced me to take part time employment on a conventional farm. The return to the chemical world has caused me to re-evaluate the differences between chemical and organic farming. Here are some observations: Chemical farming is a lot easier. When farmers use chemicals they don't generally have much respect for the chemicals or the containers they come in. It is cheaper to use 3 or 4 times as much chemical as is needed than it is to spray twice. Neatness is a pathological obsession and Roundup (glyphosate) is the drug of choice.

-- David Roby (, December 04, 1997



David, I think there is growing community concern over chemicals in food production and ending up in the environment. The lack of real and widespread action though is probably dissapointing to some given these issues have been around for 30 + years.

David Suzuki, in his talk at Byron the other day, made reference to a friend of his in England who had eaten organic most of his life but still had significant traces of chemicals in his blood. Perhaps as a community we need to look at the broader use of chemicals in our homes, work places and public spaces.

Chemical use reduction in agriculture is starting to happen in some sectors I think. Perhaps we need to establish some industry specific targets for reduction with industry and community support. The work by John Rogers in preparing some principles for chemical use in horticulture is a good start.

-- Rik Whitehead (, March 02, 2000.

Spray Spray Spray

I realise you wrote that message 3 years ago David, but it's as relevant today as then, if not MORE so. I am "surrounded" in Macadamia Nut farms - all cash cropping, and 80% using chemicals from the Agent Orange & Napalm company, alongwith chemical phosphates, spraying the plant, AND probably NOT CARING FOR THE SOIL. My neighbour is a complete contrast doing a permaculture/organic production farm ina beautiful forested orchard overlooking the Nightcap national park. But here's some ignorant questions: Do farmers automatically accept all findings from Dept of Agriculture? Do they question their local growers groups about maintaining the "accepted practice"? Recently, friends of mine were "advised" by a respected "successful" coffee grower here to spray and chemical their first new crop, high in the Minyon plateau. It struck me that the "Advisor" might not have wanted this keen new farmer to have an ORGANIC COFFEE CROP as it would be a more NICHE-Y market opportunity than those that spring up around here and who habitually use sprays in line with DoAg recommendations. They also have to fit in with the right harvesting requirements that the Harvesting machines stipulate that they hire from Dept of Ag. I note many people here lack the energy/resources/? to try the Longer Term solutions (that I'm sure Mollison and others have written hundreds of articles about), even though they own their land, and intend to live here for a long time. Very confusing. How do we change this? How can we work with a more sustainable model? What are the Regional development and agriculture groups doing about this major problem? Hello? Does anyone have some basic information about this issue? Who is collectively doing something about it?

Also, I really enjoyed the Organic Cafe at Byron Bay last week, and bought veges at the LIsmore market, and topped up my dairy supplies at the organic shop in Byron, buying some nice bio-dynamic fillets at the Byron organic butchery, but then went home and washed myself in my spray-riddled rainwater. Ho Hum. Any comments, particularly correctional, are MOST WELCOME. Cheers.

-- Jane Oliver (, May 01, 2001.

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