10 May, 2010

Round Up Resistant Weeds?

This story from Hudson Valley Food Network about a story in the New York Times on "Super Weeds" that have become resistant to the world most popular herbicide: Round Up.
The Hudson Valley Food Network is an incredible source of information for local foodies. Super discussion groups and regular contributions from farmers, gardeners and locavores alike.
Mono-cultures on large factory farms have created not only super productive farm lands but super vulnerable land at the same time. I call it the steroid effect. As long as you keep taking them and do not get sick or interrupt the supply performance is incredible. But one mis-step or when time finally catches up to you the crash is fast and hard. The problem is not so much the permanent damage of the crash. Athletes make huge amounts of cash and fame so the risk is worth the crash in many cases on a material basis.
The premise is this: "I can win a gold medal in the Olympics, get the product endorsements and be stinking rich. When the steroid crash finally comes I may be out of a sports career but will still be stinking rich and doing the endorsement thing as long as I did not get caught taking 'roids".
Are we doing the same things on farms? Could mono-culture farm land with it's steroids, strong herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, be setting itself up for a crash? It seems so. 
The answer is localism. Local food from local gardens and farms. Local meat products whether free range or not. Mergers and acquisitions in corporate America are said to make the company more competitive. If more competitive means stomping out the competition the long term effect is no different than the steroid effect. That is not competitive at all.
American exceptionalism has died. It can only be gotten back by starting again.... in our back yards again just like the first time.