Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Local Instead of Imported

"I would like to respond to Alex Sheshunoff's commentary "Organic farming is un-green land grab" (Nov. 29). I am a farmer in the Palmer area, as well as the market manager for the South Anchorage Farmers Market, so I am admittedly biased. However, I am not a certified organic producer. Why? Because we live in Alaska, not California. Alaska is perfect for organic farming. It requires far fewer and in some instances no pesticides. A lot of the bugs and diseases that are only controlled by the regular application of pesticides in the Lower 48 can't survive Alaska's climate, or they haven't been introduced here.

For example, corn in Hawaii must be sprayed every two days to keep bugs from burrowing into the ears and eating the kernels. I have grown corn commercially for the past five years in Alaska; I don't spray my conventionally grown Alaska corn because the bugs that eat corn aren't here.

Alex refers to "pesticide-intensive stuff." In Alaska we don't have and probably don't even know what it means to grow a pesticide-intensive crop, unless he counts a manicured suburban lawn as "an agriculture product." I don't know of a farmer in Alaska who wants to apply pesticide. In California, pesticide application is a big business. In Alaska you won't find a single local listing for an agriculture applicator for pesticide."

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