A client of mine recently sent me an article pertaining to a study recently done in France on pesticide residues found in wine. Although he farms organically, he is concerned that neighboring vineyards are not; he wanted to know about the potential for pesticide drift, how it would affect his grapes and vines, and ultimately the finished wine. How can he consciously label his grapes organic, he wondered, when there is a potential for contamination?
These are great questions that I have been drilling down on for over the last decade or more. Not only must we be concerned about drift of chemical residue and the leaching of these substances into the soils and waterways, but also about GMO seed drift and cross-pollination—all huge factors to consider when farming as cleanly and conscientiously as we possibly can.
What are the factors to consider when trying to prevent this occurrence? First and foremost, I believe it is imperative that we inform ourselves about the widespread and heavy-handed push by the few, and powerful, seed and chemical companies to control farming practices worldwide. Secondly, it is our imperative to be vocal and then follow through with the physical action of securing our right to choose how we farm and the practices we use. Share our reasons for our choices with our customers. The more we incorporate this into our daily lingo, the less powerful it becomes – remember Harry Potter in refusing to say ‘he who must not be named’ as it gave too much power to Voldemort? Or the Great and Powerful Oz who was revealed behind his screen of tricks by Dorothy? The stronger the collective consciousness is, the weaker the unknown or dark evil.
On the growing side, the use of living windbreaks, staggered buffer zones, and vital soils will all help to alleviate drift and leaching. The choice of seed crops, as well as the growing, saving and sharing of heirloom varietals all increase our defenses against GMO seed. Developing stronger watersheds, stronger waterways, and more actively alive water all helps to build stronger soils, which lead to more energetic and clean crops with stronger resistance to disease and climate pressures. Sharing our overall concerns with our neighbors, sharing our practices and creating a dialogue can help to initiate change. We are all in this for similar reasons; we just work from different toolboxes.