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Obama’s Organic Example Sets Cat Amongst Corporate Pigeons

Recently I shared how Michelle Obama was planning to plant a garden on the White House lawn – thrilling the many people that lobbied for them to do exactly that. Later we learned that, as we dearly hoped, the garden would be organic.

On top of this, the First Lady also named chef Sam Kass to head the White House Food Initiative. Mr Kass happens to have a good understanding of what we and our children should be ingesting. This is all great press for chemical-free agriculture and food.

But…

In my first post on this topic I wrote:

…the veggies pulled from the White House turf are either going to be organic (hopefully in the truest sense of the word), or we’ll have a slew of industries proudly proclaiming that White House staff are using their chemicals to ’solve’ any issues they may have along the way.

Well, Michelle’s actions have ruffled a few feathers it seems. The latest is that the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA), an organisation that represents chemical companies that produce pesticides (herbicides, insecticides), is angry that Michelle Obama isn’t using chemicals in her organic garden at the White House. From their perspective, capitilising on natural, biological synergies to create healthy food without their inputs is risking everything that makes America great….

Late in March the MACA sent the following note to people in their mailing list:

Did you hear the news?  The White House is planning to have an “organic” garden on the grounds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the Obama’s and their guests.  While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made Janet Braun, CropLife Ambassador Coordinator and I shudder.  As a result, we sent a letter encouraging them to consider using crop protection products and to recognize the importance of agriculture to the entire U.S. economy.  [emphasis added]

You can read the full (disingenuous) letter sent to the Obamas here.

A petition has been started that is encouraging the Obamas to ignore the corporate lobbyists – urging them to, instead, to build on the fantastic work they have begun by continuing to encourage the rebuilding of a healthy, localised, sustainable food system for everyone. At time of writing this post, the petition has garnered more than 95% of the 100,000 signers they were seeking. You can help take it over 100% here!!

Go Michelle!!

P.S. If you’re wondering what’s the big deal about using chemicals, please read my Which Came First – Pests, or Pesticides post, and follow up with Pesticides, and You.

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One Comment

  1. At least the Obamas are taking a step in the right direction. It’s not good to have large private corporations exercise so much influence over the Federal government in exchange for economic privileges granted on a preferential basis. This, my friends, is not capitalism, but rather mercantilism. The same economic system (as practiced by the British Empire in the 18th century) that George Washington and his contemporaries fought to remove from the 13 Colonies.

    Perhaps the Obama Administration is making it known that the US government will decide policy independent of the influence of large sectors of the economy, such as banking and agriculture. If this is indeed the case, then my hat’s off to them.

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