I’ve got a question for all of you: Can an organic garden service that farms out toxic weed control still call itself organic? Has it sacrificed its integrity, its very soul, or is such language uselessly hyperbolic in such a case?
Let me explain how the question arose. Given the paucity of garden-related businesses that had booths at Bozeman’s poorly-named home and garden show (subject of one of my more acerbic posts), I had time for conversations with the folks staffing all three. Indeed, I swooped down on the two booths for organic gardening services, partly out of sheer delight that they existed, but in part to ask a highly pertinent question: How did they handle bindweed on a residential property?
This is highly pertinent because the bindweed in my neighbor’s lawn is gradually encroaching on my lawn, and I’m worried.
The folks at the first booth had never encountered bindweed in a lawn and didn’t know what they’d do. The two at the second booth had also never faced this problem, but assured me that they didn’t use toxic sprays; no, they’d call in a regular lawn-care company and have them do the spraying. That’s what they generally did with a serious infestation of noxious weeds. But, they repeated, they never used such chemicals themselves.
So here’s the question: Are these folks passing the buck, or are they being realistic? Are they as complicit in the use of herbicides as if they’d done the spraying themselves, or not? What’s the difference between an organic gardening company that hires out herbicide treatments, and one that applies them?
Is this merely a matter of definitions (just what does 'organic' mean, anyway?), or is it a moral dilemma?
(Yeah, I know, that's more than one question. Rub it in, why don't you?)