Thursday, April 23, 2009
BIG Agribusiness P.O.d at the First Lady
Who will win when BIG AG starts slinging manure at the Obama Administration? From Times Online April 22, 2009 Big Agriculture takes umbrage at Mrs Obama's organic garden America's powerful agribusiness lobby has hit back at Michelle Obama's decision to make her new White House kitchen garden entirely organic, urging her to consider the use of appropriate "crop protection products". ... The kitchen garden is White House's first since Eleanor Roosevelt "dug for victory" in the Second World War, and pictures of the photogenic First Lady getting to work gained massive worldwide coverage. To the anger of Big Ag, however, Mrs Obama has aligned herself with the growing movement of "locavores", people who grow their own fruit and vegetables at home or try to buy only locally-grown food. The principles of organic gardening, which focuses on building healthy soil, mean that she will not be able to use chemical products to tackle pests or give her plants a boost. Shortly after she got to work on the plot, Mrs Obama received a letter from the Mid-America CropLife Association (MACA), which represents the companies producing the pesticides and fertilisers underpinning "conventional" American agriculture. Addressed to "Mrs Barack Obama", the letter congratulated the First Lady on "recognising the importance of agriculture in America". Farming is America's largest industry, generating 20 per cent of GDP and directly or indirectly employing 22 million people. Rest of article.