Well you can’t win them all. Garden News have decided that they don’t want an organic column next year so its adios and farewell to my compost lover column. I’ve enjoyed writing them very much and I’m quite sad that the magazine has decided to drop compost lover next year. Its no secret that Garden News supports the chemical industry and is supported by the chemical industry. It promotes the use of chemicals and arranges for particular columns to be published in association with specific chemical remedies. I guess its no surprise that an organic column would find itself a little out of place.
If you didn’t see last weeks paper you wont know that Garden News carried the front page headline SOS – Save Our Sprays. Because the European Union is examining the list of approved pesticides to remove the most dangerous the horticulture and agriculture industry are up in arms. Rather than explore alternative practices and change the way they do things to make the growing of plants a safer occupation or pastime, they are going to fight Europe to protect their own interests and profits.
As a result they are running a high profile media campaign to get gardeners to write letters to their MEP’s in support of chemicals. The chemical companies have always tried to manage the media agenda – going way back to the attacks they made on Rachel Carson when she wrote Silent Spring. As the stakes get higher the campaigns get busier and more aggressive.
The most hurtful claim In the Garden News article was that chemicals promoted a healthy way of living. How anybody can say this without one finger crossed behind their back I’ll never know. There is plenty of evidence to show that pesticides are dangerous. Ask Georgina Downs – who has just won a high court case to prove that she has suffered from ill health as a result of farmers spraying pesticides next to her country garden. Or the millions of farmers in the third world who are sold all those chemicals developed nations will no longer allow because of health fears. Or the families of those farmers in India who have committed suicide because they have been forced into chemical dependence. Chemicals are also bad for animals and no one ever seems to want to talk about that. Thousands of animals have to suffer testing so that governments can ‘prove’ that chemicals are ‘safe’ for us to use.
Anyway going back to my headline – The Guardian is publishing an article I wrote on comfrey on saturday – thank you Jane Perrone for offering me the opportunity to talk to people through another medium. The article is published to coincide with the re-publication of Lawrence Hills‘ classic book on Comfrey and Its Uses. Its published by Faber on December 11th and is available as a print on demand book through their website.
Lawrence Hills lived by the motto “search only for the truth that hurts no man”. I’ll try and continue to do the same.
If you’re free this friday and near to Central London go to The Rachel Carson Memorial Lecture – http://www.pan-uk.org/Projects/RCML/index.htm.