The “upcoming” podcast mentioned a few days ago is now up. You can listen to or download the show, “Turning the Tables: Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto,” to get part of the back story about why 83 organic seed growers, farmers, and organizations are suing GMO seed giant (and manufacturer of RoundUp) Monsanto.
You can also check out my original post on the suit, written a couple of days after it was filed last spring, for some background.
In the course of the show, many sins are laid at Monsanto’s feet: that genetically modified crops don’t increase yields as promised, that they may give rise to an organism that causes miscarriages in cattle, that they have fostered a race of super weeds, that Monsanto routinely engages in intimidating tactics, that it has sued thousands of farmers.
Permaculture has to be one of the most interesting gardening movements I’ve discovered recently, and I have to thank Jerome Osentowski and Kareen Erbe hugely for letting me interview them about it. The idea of perennial food gardens delights me, and in permaculture that’s just part of the picture: it’s a whole philosophy of living sustainably, and of getting as much of what you need from your own plot of land as possible. I’m all for that, and as I mention part way through—well, both interviews , I think—it’s given me a name for something I’m already trying to do.
I’m honestly not sure what I was up to when I stumbled onto Jerome Osentowski’s Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, which more or less blew my mind. Four greenhouses, and no power needed from off-site? Figs and passion fruit growing at over 7,000 feet? Hello? Continue reading
Windrower and tractor, Wada Farms, Idaho
What first took me out to the Kimm’s farm was the fact that they grow organic seed potatoes. That operation, run by Yvonne Kimm, became the topic of “No Small Potatoes,” my second podcast.
But at least as interesting to me was what her husband, Jason, has done on the conventional fields to make them more sustainable. After all, no large operation can go organic overnight, and so the question arises: what can a conventional farm do to move away from the overuse of pesticides, herbicides, and even water? Continue reading
Yvonne Kimm lives surrounded by potato fields and potato farmers. A native of Manitoba, she married a potato farmer who’s the son, grandson, and brother of potato farmers.
So what did Yvonne do? She became a potato farmer. With a difference: she became an organic potato farmer and one of a handful of certified organic seed potato producers in Montana. I interviewed her at her farm, ten or fifteen miles west of my town Bozeman; you can listen to or download the show, No Small Potatoes, by following that link, or by navigating from the webtalkradio.net. logo in the right sidebar. Continue reading
Continuing my policy of acquiring plots that offer maximum challenge to the gardener, I have most recently adopted a swath along the alley that runs down the middle of my block. Alleys, by the way, are one of the things that I believe make for civilized life: they get cars off the street, encourage garages to stop dominating house fronts and take up a discreet position in back yards, and provide much-needed privacy between those yards.
However, they are not especially garden-friendly. The strip I’ve tackled, like most along alleys, is heavily compacted, stony, and weed-infested. Maybe eight feet wide and twelve long, it flanks an outbuilding on the west side of the alley, and is overgrown with grass and creeping bellflower (my nemesis, though not my arch-nemesis). It caught my eye because it gets full morning sun and plenty of reflected warmth from the wall behind it, and I don’t have to walk through anyone’s yard to get through it.