I’m in the process of searching for a course to help me become a better gardener.
I enrolled in horticulture at Wodonga a couple of years ago and didn’t find it to my liking.
I didn’t like the focus on chemical remedies and there were a number of other philosophical differences between that and the way I like to do things.
When I discovered a permaculture course at Thurgoona TAFE I was quite excited, my excitement was short lived however as I found the course seemed to be heavily involved in the organic food movement which I have serious reservations about.
I prefer not to use chemicals, I doubt anyone would call me a chemically reliant gardener, I have lost stuff rather than spray, I prefer a “soil up” approach, meaning that I see it as priority 1 to enrich the soil and it’s resident flora and fauna.
To me these things aren’t revolutionary, they are good practice and most importantly they work.
To my great chagrin I discovered the focus of the course I was looking at was on commercial organic production, a scam if ever I have seen one.
A quick review of the “organic” movement will show you that it was “invented” by a couple of rich aristocracy types in Britain during the middle of last century.
Indeed “bonnie” Prince Charles has just celebrated 25 years of “organic gardening” in one of his country estates.
Which is really my main criticism of it, it’s elitist, a form of food snobbery really.
Organic METHODS work exceedingly well, in fact they are unsurpassed in my opinion, the problem is that the TERM “organic” seems to have been subverted and there is immense pressure for people who use these methods of food production to become “licenced” or “accredited”.
In effect the term “organic” (really a meaningless buzz-word, what does an IN-organic apple taste like I wonder?) has been subverted by those who stand to make a quick buck from regulating it and sold of as a commodity for profit.
Another way for money to run uphill in other words.
If anyone who produces food for either their or someone else’s consumption chooses to use chemicals in their production, they have little choice but to have some multi-national like Monsanto dipping into their pocket.
Genetic modification seems set to compound this problem massively.
However if a food producer chooses to advertise that they do NOT use chemicals in their processes, they have a completely separate group sticking their hand in their pocket by way of organic “accreditation” which can run to multiple hundreds of dollars per year.
For a small operator, this is nothing short of crippling.
Ever wondered WHY you pay between two to five times MORE for produce grown without chemicals and grown locally than for equivalent grown far away and WITH chemicals?
I know I have.
Well the answer is that all that “accrediting” BS has to be payed for, in the short term it’s the poor beggar scratching a living off the soil who picks up the can.
Longer term, if he or she wants to stay afloat, they have little or no choice but to pass on the cost to the consumers of their produce.
The process of “organic accreditation” came about in response to people claiming their produce was grown pesticide and herbicide free, and the claims turned out to be spurious.
A heavy handed, over regulated, top heavy industry which can’t compete on an even footing because it is hamstrung by maintaining the cost of the bureaucracy that feeds on it.
A veritable plague of $75KPA+ “locusts” which in all likely hood wont stop devouring until there is nothing left.
As with so many things when you decide not to use chemicals, the “cure” is worse than the ailment.
Anyway, nobody’s going to tell me how to grow things and if I choose not to use chemicals that’s my buisiness.
As for “organic accreditation/ certification” well I guess it would make good fertiliser (if you can stand the stench).
My solution? grow your own and put the whole filthy lot of them out of buisiness as quickly as possible.