Links for August 24, 2009

August 24, 2009 @ 7:49 am | Filed under:

Once again, I’m using my Delicious autopost thingie to flag some things for Jane’s perusal. Will probably do this more and more often; it’s such a handy way to bookmark interesting pieces for my teen to read at her convenience.

Jane—a couple of related articles—this piece by Michael Pollan (I loved his book, The Botany of Desire) and then a farmer’s rebuttal to Pollan’s article.

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  1. Lenetta @ Nettacow says:

    :>) Just left a comment over at Karen E’s that I’m looking forward to what you two (and others) have to say about the Omnivore’s Dilemma. As I mentioned there, I forwarded the article you linked to my farmer-hubs a while back to get his opinion . . . things look a bit different from this side of the cow and corn and whatnot. Thanks!

  2. kort says:

    thanks for the links…i rather like the idea of learning along side of Miss Jane. and to imagine our little ones big enough to share such reading!

  3. Becky says:

    I read the “Omnivore’s Delusion” and was disappointed by the tone, but not surprised, considering it was published in the American Enterprise Institute’s review : ). Just as Mr. Hurst doesn’t appreciate being told how to farm, neither, of course, do my husband and I lol. Mostly, though, I’m intrigued that such a big industrial farmer is so piqued by a small group of North American farmers who pose so little threat to the conventional methods of food production.

    About 13 years ago, around the time when I was pregnant with our eldest, we decided to start farming organically rather than conventionally (industrially) and have been certified organic ever since. Back when we made the switch, there wasn’t nearly the concern about dependence on fossil fuels, and I’d have to say that if we were making the decision now about how to farm, the fossil fuel aspect would have made the decision for us that much sooner. Though the fact that Roundup is sprayed on wheat and other crops as a pre-harvest dessicant was more than enough for me at the time.

    And there’s no denying that farming organically has let us continue farming, through “mad cow” disease and droughts, while many of our neighbors who farm conventionally have to deal with high input (synthetic fertilizers and pesticides) costs on top of everything else. Farming conventionally can be quite a catch-22 — in order to afford the inputs, you need to farm ever more land, to farm ever more land, you need larger and larger machinery, to afford the machinery, you need to farm more land, and so it goes. There’s a reason that nowadays farmers are called “producers” rather than farmers, as they used to be. Interestingly, too, very few farm wives nowadays around here are home all day on the farm; most have jobs in town to supplement the family income. Though in Canada, universal health care is a huge boon for those of us who are self-employed farmers…

    I’m always rather distressed, whether the subject is farming or having babies and raising children, when some critics argue that everything new is good and everything old is bad, or vice versa. We don’t use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, but we, do use tractors and other handy mod cons : ). (Though every once in a while I do wish we could farm like Wendell Berry…) Then there’s levelling the charge of “intellectualism”, and I suppose by extension elitism as well, at those who would *dare* consider something different, and that never sits well with me either.

    One thing I like about Michael Pollan’s book is that as a writer, he — unlike the author of the Omnivore’s Delusion, who’s an industrial farmer — doesn’t really have a horse in this race. A fairly well considered reply to Hurst’s piece is this one,

    Back to farming : )…

  4. Becky says:

    Aack, the comment box ate my link to the well-considered reply!

    Trying again,

  5. Jennifer says:

    I just started a Pollan book and found those articles fascinating.

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Ooh, Jenn, glad you pulled these back to my attention–I’d forgotten about them.