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OPINION: Organic farmers should be rewarded

Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor.
Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor. - SaltWire Network

Sharon Leighton
Guest opinion

I am writing in support of and agreement with David Weale's recent letter on the need to protect Island land.

If we cannot have compassion for the fields that nurture us, for whom can we have compassion?

It has been proven that the levels of organic matter in the topsoil on P.E.I. are decreasing at a frightening rate. 

We seem to be on the way from "the Garden of the Gulf" to "the Arid Land of the Atlantic" or "the Empty Waste of the East".

Organic farmers need to be given every support.  Rather than being penalized for using reasonable farming practices, they should be rewarded.  

The commercial farmers should be the ones who have to pay for a special license, after fully justifying why they should be given license to despoil the earth, and the fees they pay should cover the costs of the certification of the organic farmers.  

Furthermore, every license thus given should be accompanied with a deadline by which the farmer will have either shifted to organic farming or gotten out of the business of raising crops.

I understand that commercial farmers have invested a lot of money and other resources into their wasteful and destructive practices, and that it will be hard for them to give them up.

The same problem exists for drug addicts.  

I am in favour of assistance being given them, to make that difficult shift to healthy farming practices, just as I am for assistance to the addicts.  

But I am not in favour of rewarding the unhealthy practices, as our government currently does.

There was a time when commercial farmers could claim ignorance, insisting that they are merely doing what they were taught to do.  

They could go farther, and claim that those who respect the earth were being unscientific and biased. That time has passed.  

There is abundant evidence that intense commercial cultivation, using plentiful chemical additives, is destroying the land.

I can remember when those who begged smokers not to smoke in public were scorned; now there is a law against smoking in public, because the proof turned out to be on the side of the nonsmokers.  

Now the proof is coming out on the side of organic farming, and it is time that a law against chemicalized commercial farming was put in place to protect us all.

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