Lawfare, ag, and managing the land

Carolyn Lochhead of the Chronicle Washington Burea posts a report about Crops, ponds destroyed in quest for food safety. It is about what large agriculture is doing in response to the episode of E.Coli in salad greens.

Invisible to a public that sees only the headlines of the latest food-safety scare – spinach, peppers and now cookie dough – ponds are being poisoned and bulldozed. Vegetation harboring pollinators and filtering storm runoff is being cleared. Fences and poison baits line wildlife corridors.

Some thing the ‘reduce to the absurd’, if this isn’t already absurd, is indoor hydroponic gardening. But there is another agenda that is evident in the report.

In pending legislation and in proposed federal regulations, the push for food safety butts up against the movement toward biologically diverse farming methods, while evidence suggests that industrial agriculture may be the bigger culprit.

It is also worthy of note that the draconian efforts by “industrial agriculture” are not predicted to be sufficient to cure their ills.

the industry rules won’t stop lawsuits or eliminate the risk of processed greens cut in fields, mingled in large baths, put in bags that must be chilled from packing plant to kitchen, and shipped thousands of miles away.

And, again, a source is quoted with the theme of the report.

“the big problem has been the mass-produced product. What you’re seeing is this rub between trying to make it as clean as possible so they don’t poison anybody, but still not wanting to come to the reality that it may be the industrialized process that’s making it all so risky.”

One the one hand you have the fear mongering about disease and tainted produce that is turned into massive lawsuits. That then generates an effort to sanitize the product which has environmental impact which can then be attacked. What is missing is the stimulus for the “industrial agriculture” in the first place and a proper comparison and contrast to its alternative.

Meanwhile, the target is put under the magnifying glass and, like the kid frying ants in the sun, there are some trying the technique on an idea the oppose to see much damage they can do and how long it takes to do it in.

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