"Crops, ponds destroyed in quest for food safety"

"Crops, ponds destroyed in quest for food safety"
Carolyn Lockhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Accessed 7/13/09 on San Francisco Chronical web site:

The intro and a couple extracts follow. But better you just read the article (and weep).

Dick Peixoto planted hedges of fennel and flowering cilantro around his organic vegetable fields in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville to harbor beneficial insects, an alternative to pesticides.

He has since ripped out such plants in the name of food safety, because his big customers demand sterile buffers around his crops. No vegetation. No water. No wildlife of any kind.

"I was driving by a field where a squirrel fed off the end of the field, and so 30 feet in we had to destroy the crop," he said. "On one field where a deer walked through, didn't eat anything, just walked through and you could see the tracks, we had to take out 30 feet on each side of the tracks and annihilate the crop."

In the verdant farmland surrounding Monterey Bay, a national marine sanctuary and one of the world's biological jewels, scorched-earth strategies are being imposed on hundreds of thousands of acres in the quest for an antiseptic field of greens. And the scheme is about to go national.
. . .

Produce buyers compete to demand the most draconian standards, said Jo Ann Baumgartner, head of the Wild Farm Alliance in Watsonville, so that they can sell their products as the "safest."
. . .

"It's all based on panic and fear, and the science is not there," said Dr. Andy Gordus, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Game.

- Read the article for the full madness. How the demand for organic farming AND prewashed prepackaged veggies leads to - very non-organic corporate practices.


Brad B said…
Wow. Seriously disturbing. Thanks for posting this. I saw the headline today walking down the street and wondered what it was about. As always agribusiness gets it wrong. And it makes me glad I have my very diverse yard with a vegetable garden mixed in.
Kelly said…
Unfortunately I live in the epicenter of the frenzy--the Salinas Valley. After the spinach episode in 2006 the growers got together to define their standards. Strange how nature is to blame and not the petri dish-like environment of the bagged greens.

We really have to do something about this or all the gains we thought we had from farmers really wanting to do the right thing (CSAs, organics, sustainable practices, etc.) will be lost. Not sure what, but we need to do something. Thanks for blogging about this article.
How can people sustain living in the perpetual state for fear that drives practices like this? Fear of food, fear of nature...