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Archive for May, 2008

So the Independent didn’t feel able to go long without publishing a rebuttal to their ‘contra organics’ story of last week. Here‘s the response, from Peter Melchett of the Soil Association.

Again, the comments on the piece suggest that the debate is far from over.

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It’s always worthwhile having one’s most deeply-held convictions challenged. That must have been the thinking behind the UK Independent’s decision to publish today an article arguing against organic food.

“The great organic myths: Why organic foods are an indulgence the world can’t afford,” is by ‘environmental expert’ Rob Johnston.

Among the ‘myths’ Johnston lists are that organic farming is good for the environment, that it is pesticide free and produces healthier food than conventional farming.

Judging from the general tenor of the many comments that the piece has already received, not too many Independent readers were persuaded by Dr. Johnston’s logic.

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Reuters journalist Kate Kelland gets excited this week about guerrilla gardening, writing a way-over-the-top article about the phenomenon keyed to a new book on the subject.

“They work under the cover of night, armed with seed bombs, chemical weapons and pitchforks. Their tactics are anarchistic, their attitude revolutionary.”

And that’s just the start in a story full of ‘enemies,’ ‘attacks,’ ‘troops’ and ‘a win-win war.’

Partly, Kelland just gets stuck belaboring her (already hokey) metaphor. And she’s trying to be funny — reflecting a common journalistic inclination to belittle anything to do with gardening.

But is something else going on, too? In the eyes of mainstream journalists, does gardening — or anything else for that matter — need to be so conflict-ridden that it actually becomes warfare for it to be deemed interesting to their readers?

Maybe the people acting as guerrilla gardeners really see themselves in martial terms. If they did, that might be interesting. But there’s no evidence of that in Kelland’s piece. She certainly doesn’t question them about the need to see gardening as fighting. Instead, the need seems to be hers.

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