2. "Organic Farming: The Secret is it Works"

Most Americans have been well propagandized by U.S. Department of Agriculture agribusiness corporations. We believe that growing organically means small, pest-infested fruits and vegetables with brown spots. Or, as our own Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz, said, "a primitive method of farming scarcely befitting the needs of a modern nation. Before we go back to an organic agriculture in this country, someone must decide which fifty million Americans we are going to let starve or go hungry."

From the Corn Belt, to the valleys of California, to fertile farmlands in Europe, there is proof which refutes the agribusiness myth. The secret of organic farming is that it works.

In the foothills of the Alps is the 6 million dollar Biolta Ltd. Company: It sells picture-perfect vegetables to supermarkets all over Switzerland. In Delano, California, there is a 3 million dollar ranch that has not used a poison on their vineyards in five years. Owner Steven Pavich says, "our ground was gone to hell. We would have gone bankrupt. But with these biological methods, our yields are better than many of our neighbors, while they've reached their peak, our potential is starting from here on up." Pavich is not an isolated case. At Washington University's Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, in St. Louis, researchers have found over 250 commercial organic farms, ranging up to 800 acres, in the Corn Belt.

Organic farmers like these, ignored by the press, may have the answer to some of the most critical dilemmas Americans are faced with today. There is mounting evidence that the pesticides used are responsible for cancer, mutations, birth defects and many other health problems. Meanwhile, the farmers can hardly afford the increasing amounts of pesticides they must use to do what less pesticides did last year. Some of their chemical bills rose by 800 percent in 12 years:

Farming without chemicals is not organic farming: In the 1930's there were some studies that show that top government and university officials were developing organic farming into a complex, self-renewing, ecological system. These are out of print today. Chemical fertilizers over a period of time deplete the soil. They do not contain the organic material or other elements that the soil must have. Through using chemical fertilizers over a period of time, the soil becomes very hard, requiring larger and larger equipment to work it.

The failure of the mass media to inform the American public that organic farming works in terms of energy, production, health, and profit qualifies this story for nomination as one of the best "censored" stories of 1978.

SOURCE:

The Progressive, December, 1978, p. 16, "Curbing the Chemical Fix: The Secret Is It Works," by Daniel Zwerdling.