Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wow, lots going on here, but all at this slow pace of  Latin American.
I met with a few local growers and shared a bit about Morning Star Farm. What I grow, how and to whom I sell veggies to. Also about my growing practices. I was fore warned that even these small growers who wanted to use organic growing methods used chemicals. It was still shocking to see my host family father all dressed in rainwear with a dust mask on spraying some kind of pesticide .  Not very appealing to come onto his finca and weed for a few hours anymore.
Today I had an even bigger shock. Helicopters spraying pesticides on sugar came crops. Just plain nasty! The backyard wells here are all contaminated, and it is common for kids and older men mostly to die of kidney failure. What for? So the one large landowner can make a buck! The spraying really affects these small guys tryin to feed their families using organic methods.
What happens is that these blanket sprayings is that the entire insect population is killed, both the pest and the beneficial insects. As nature works the pests are faster at repopulating themselves, with the beneficial lagging behind a bit, must have a secure food supply you know? Anyhow when you blanket spray even with an organic pesticide, you continually disrupt this balance and your crops take the brunt of this imbalance. Here and in Baja it seems that white fly populations just take over.
My immediate response was just to shoot down the helicopter. This of course creates so many more problems than it solves, but, well , it is a very real feeling. As the day has unfolded I realize a far better solution would be for consumers to purchase organic sugar. I now know up close how much damage the chemical agriculture of sugar came causes.
Oops , hard to stay on track, back to the small growers. I ended the meeting by offering to come out to their parcelas, get a tour, and make a compost pile. I got permission to make a pile at the research garden and was feeling pretty comfortable about finding a good balance of carbon to nitrogenous materials with which to build a good pile. Have I already mentioned how eager I was upon my arrival to make some compost out of all this great manure . Have I lost my marbles or what?!? Been practicing BioDynamics for too many years now and I have never had the opportunity to use such great manure. Fresh cow manure from grass fed milk cows, like a pig in the mud.  I have made 2 piles with appointments to make 2 more in January.