I'm back home. When I was gone my husband did a ton of brush hogging and plowing. We also got next years Johnny's Seed Catalogue, so I know what I am doing for some of this weekend!
Greenbuild was amazing. Over three days I heard people like Bill Clinton, Paul Hawken, the mayors of Chicago, Grand Rapids, Albuquerque, and Austin, leaders in industries from fuel cells (United Technology) to cleaning product (Seventh Generation) and practitioners of green design from around the world speak to both the wider philosophical issues and the practical how to do it issues! 22,000+ people were there and everything was standing room only!
I learned so much that it will take me a while to process it all. I will have to go through all my notes, and honestly, this is a blog about farming so I'm not sure if you are really interested in this at all! But let me talk briefly about one principle - the Precautionary Principle. Which asks us to reframe decisions from "Is it safe?" to "Is it necessary?"
This gives us a tool to defend decisions to people who claim that science has yet to prove that something is harmful. Remember, this many years after Newton and Darwin both gravity and evolution are still theories (not to mention Climate Change). PROVING something in science is (and should be) very difficult.
To bring it back to food, look at High Fructose Corn Syrup. We made the decision a couple years ago to cut it out of our diet. And in that time I have had a number of discussions with people about it NOT being bad for me. And it is hard to prove something like that. So using the Precautionary Principle, I can reframe the discussion to "Yes, but is it necessary?" And the answer to that is no. Anything from ketchup to candy, from soda to bread can be and is made without it.
On farms the same discussion can be made respect with pesticides and other chemical applications. With the knowledge that sometimes the answer is "Yes, something is necessary or else all of those will die." When that is the answer we look for the safest option that will solve the problem, maybe a baking soda spray, or hot pepper oil in dish soap, or maybe a certified organic pesticide.
I'll post more later, my head is overflowing with ideas! I'll try not to bore you all to much!