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No argument on community gardens being organic. . .

  • Subject: [cg] No argument on community gardens being organic. . .
  • From: Alliums garlicgrower@earthlink.net
  • Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 17:05:56 -0400

John Richmond wrote:

Part of the project is to make the argument that a community garden must be completely organic.
I'm not so sure that there is an argument that community gardens shouldn't be organic. Most folks in the US who have to go elsewhere to have land to grow food for themselves WANT that food to be safe and are willing to go to great lengths to make sure it is grown in ways that gives them peace of mind as well as vegetables. If they didn't care about their food supply, they'd just buy food from the supermarket -- or McDonald's! ;-)

People can't just do what they want with their plots beyond limits.
Heh, heh, heh -- only someone who hasn't spent time in agriculture could make a statement like this. I think this is a "straw person" argument on the part of your instructors. When you tussle with Nature (and agriculture is *always* a imposition of one's will on Nature), Nature is going to bite back. Limits are part of the deal -- even the conventional farmers will agree with *that*. The key is stretch the "damage" out to as long as possible (yes, I'm still depressed from Dr. Ray Weil's PASA soil science talk telling me that even when I'm doing everything right, my soil will not be happy 500 years from now!)-- which is why "sustainable methods" are the only hope of anyone who wants to be able to feed a family over their lifetime.

They shouldn't be able to use chemical fertilizer (except possibly as a one-time addition to get the garden going),
Chemical fertilizers are *never* necessary -- and as someone who moved her community garden to an acre of subsoil 7 years ago and still managed to fill her freezer the first year. The key is to scrounge as much organic matter (and manure) as you can get your hands on.

they shouldn't be able to use pesticides or Roundup to kill stuff, etc.
New gardens get a free pass from Nature the first year or so because the bugs haven't found your veggies yet. The key is to build soil so that the plants are strong and to avail oneself of the "sustainable methods" knowledge that is so readily available on the Web and elsewhere. This isn't the 70s any more when "organic" agriculture was a new idea -- there is some time and testing behind it now, so using pesticides as crutch just isn't necessary anymore.

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460

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