It was like digging for treasure. Squeals and squeaks rang in our ears as our daughters found yet another potato buried in the ground. Lying there in dusty violette splendour, waiting eagerly to have little fingers grasp it. Mother Nature’s Bounty. As we harvested our first modest crop of purple heirloom potatoes, I thought of Dag Falck.
Originally from Norway, Dag studied agriculture and was taken aback by the ‘modern’ methods back in the 1970s. Being interested in growing healthy food and protecting the land for future food production he was surprised and disappointed when professors taught him to use this ‘great new’ method for potato harvesting. Instead of a two week wait while the greens decomposed, Dag was taught to spray a chemical over the field. The greens would decompose overnight, saving the farmers some toil and time.
‘But that was a toxin!’ Dag said still indignant after all these years. ‘To save two weeks they put a toxin onto the soil. Then to make things even worse, they used that same soil over again to grow more crops’. The agricultural scientists had it all wrong, backwards, inside-out, and upside down. Following his conscience, Dag eschewed these modern methods to follow an organic calling. And that was before GMOs.
Today we have evolved this system of “desiccation” (which is the “professional term for killing a whole field of something”), and today this method of spraying chemical herbicides on crops while they are ripening is practised all over North American conventionally farmed grain land. When you see pictures on calendars etc, or drive on the prairies, you will have noticed tire tracks in the fields of almost ripe grains. These tracks are the evidence of sprayers driving through the fields only a few weeks before harvest to spray the toxic desiccants in order to “dry” the grains faster, so that the whole field will “ripen” evenly.
Sarcastically Dag informs me that of course our government has assured us that these chemicals applied only weeks before harvest are completely safe as they are gone or so minuscule that they will do no harm to our health when we eat grains in cereals, breads or pastas. Humm, I don’t know, who should we believe?
We have a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico from agricultural toxic spill-off. We have atrazine poisoning the waters that we drink. Atrazine is banned in Europe because it causes developmental defects. Our bees are dying. The worst of it and the best of it is that none of it is necessary to feed the world. Dag will patiently, logically explain to you with results and hard data, that organic agriculture results in equal or higher yields than GMO agriculture which depend on perfect conditions to grow. Each independent study after other confirms it. There is no need for synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides.
We have the answer. We have the solution.