A Philosopher Farmer Defends Monsanto Tomatoes (Video)


Image credit: The Perennial Plate

I've said it before. But from trapping and killing feral pigs, to hunting and eating roadkill, the best thing about The Perennial Plate's ongoing road-trip across America is their quest to hear all voices in the debate around what really constitutes good, sustainable eating. This latest episode is no exception as Daniel and Mirra visit a philosophizing, Wendell Berry-reading, blues-loving, gardener-turned-farmer. So far, so familiar. But this guy doesn't always tow the back-to-the-land party line when it comes to what crops to grow...

The Perennial Plate Episode 71: Soil Envy from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

From overcharging farmers to roundup-induced superweed evolution there are, of course, plenty of legitimate political and practical reasons why people oppose agri-business giants like Monsanto. So when David Cleverdon of Kinnikinnick farm characterizes a refusal to grow Monsanto tomatoes as "political correctness" it is certainly an over-simplification.

Nevertheless, it raises an important point. If the "Sun Sugar" tomato really is a better tomato (and I have no qualifications to judge), how should farmers balance macro political/economic concerns with the simple practicalities of running a farm. It's a conundrum that many greens face in one way or another—should you buy solar panels if the company that makes them also sells oil? Should you avoid an all-natural (and relatively sustainable) personal care brand if it was bought by a major bleach manufacturer? I am not sure there are ever any simple answers to this conundrum, but it's usually in hearing all voices and learning to tell the truth that we start to gain a clearer picture.

So here's to folks not towing the line simply for the sake of it.

More from the Perennial Plate
When Cows Retire: An Alternative Approach to Dairy Farming (Video)
The Awesome Urban Farmers and Brass Bands of New Orleans (Video)
Trapping and Killing Feral Pigs May Be Disturbing, But Is It Green? (Video)

Tags: Agriculture | Animals | Farming | Fruits & Vegetables | Tomatoes | United States