Vote NO on Missouri Amendment 1 – “Right to Harm” not “Right to Farm”

Vote No on Missouri Amendment 1

Right to Farm should not include the Right to Harm

Several of you have asked about our opinion on Missouri Amendment 1, the “Right to Farm” amendment.  We know it sounds like something we would be supporting, but it’s exactly the opposite.  We are encouraging all of you to vote NO on Missouri Amendment 1.

At first glance, the wording of the amendment (and what will be on the ballot) sounds encouraging: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the  right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching  practices shall not be infringed?”  This does not tell you the true content of the amendment. Voters are simply asked to vote “yes” or “no” on the above language, which sounds like a good thing.

However, let’s look at the actual amendment, which contains two Resolutions, nos. 11 and 7.  Here is the verbatim wording from those Resolutions (I’ve bolded the passages that are most concerning to us):

Resolution 7:  “That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern livestock production and ranching practices.

Resolution 11:  “That agriculture, which provides food, energy, and security, is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, it shall be the right of persons to raise livestock in a humane manner without the state imposing an undue economic burden on animal owners. No law criminalizing the welfare of any livestock shall be valid unless based upon generally accepted scientific principles and enacted by the general assembly.”

There are no definitions provided in the language of these bills; “agricultural technology” usually means the biotech industry, including genetically modified plants and animals (they’ve already come up with spider goats… what’s next?).  “Modern livestock production” generally includes confined operations, including chickens in warehouses, pigs in farrowing crates, cattle in feedlots.

This does NOT protect family farms.  This does NOT protect sustainable farmers or those who believe in the welfare of their animals.  This allows corporate and large farms to use all the GMOs, pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers they want without anyone being able to say anything against it.  This allows CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) to operate freely without the ability for anyone to argue against their practices or try to enact laws that restrict their harmful practices without getting a multitude of the scientific community to back them (And, if the state decided to have cats and dogs fall under the livestock category, puppy mills would be protected, too).  This protects producers of GMO technology (i.e. Monsanto, Syngenta, etc.) and destroys the ability of sustainable and organic growers to protect themselves against what they call “agricultural technology.”  This leads to air pollution, water pollution, and so much more.

This could allow the government to later mandate practices that are completely out of line with our growing ideals, like requiring the irradiation of our produce before we offer it for sale.  It could prevent our ability to save seed or preserve livestock bloodlines.  We would have no recourse against genetically altered crops that infiltrate our fields.  It will further jeopardize the ability of small farms to compete in an open market and lead to more of them going bankrupt.

The rights of Missouri farmers are already, inherently, protected.  It’s the corporations and big ag special interests that are taking that away from us.  This, from the Joplin Globe:

Darvin Bentlage, a Barton County farmer, made a compelling case in this newspaper that what’s threatening small, independent family farms is big ag — corporate ag — which is what some critics think this amendment is designed to protect.

“I remember our right to farm when we didn’t have to sign a grower’s contract to buy seed, a document telling us what we could and couldn’t do with what we grew on our farm,” Bentlage argued. “I remember when family farmers could load their own feeder pigs in their truck and go to the local auction and sell their livestock in an open and competitive market. So who’s taken this right to farm away from us? It is the same corporate factory farm supporters, corporations and organizations that have pushed this constitutional amendment through the Missouri Legislature.”

 

The ballot question asks, “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranging practices shall not be infringed?”

Infringed by whom? What practices? And who qualifies as a farmer in Missouri?

Smithfield Foods, for example, owner of Premium Standard Farms? How about Tyson Foods? Both of those are Fortune 500 companies that count their revenue in the billions.

Which Tyson practice “shall not be infringed,” the one that left more than 100,000 dead fish in Clear Creek this spring?

It’s Missouri that may need protection from big ag.

We can’t state it any more plainly.  Please, please, please, pass the word to your friends and neighbors.  Vote NO on Missouri Amendment 1.  The right to farm should not include the right to harm.

Karin and Arcenio Velez

Companion Planting for Organic Gardening

Companion planting is a method of planting different varieties of plants near others for the mutual benefit of both.  This benefit can be in nutrients, weed suppression or deterring garden pests.  Some work better than others and some are not as commonly known.

Potato plants

These potato plants could benefit from planting horseradish nearby. But planting them near tomatoes could be detrimental to their health.

For example, we’ve found that the same pests that plague our lettuce and arugula crops each year are more attracted to mustard greens.  They will hit that plant before anything else.  So we’ve begun planting mustard greens in between our other leafy greens each year to keep the bugs away.  By the time the pests have eaten their way through the mustard plants, we’ve harvested our other greens safely.

There are also plants that shouldn’t be planted near each other.  Corn and tomatoes should never be planted together since they will both compete for the nitrogen sources in the soil.

The chart below shows the most common good and bad companions we know of.  That’s not to say there aren’t others out there.  If you have one you’ve discovered in your gardens, please feel free to share it with us below.  Happy Planting!

Name Helps Helped by Attracts Repels / Distracts Avoid
Alliums – Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Shallots, Chives fruit trees, nightshades, brassicas, carrots carrots slugs, aphids, carrot fly, cabbage worms beans, peas, parsley
Asparagus Tomatoes Dill,Coriander, Tomatoes, Parsley, Basil, Comfrey, Marigolds Onion, Garlic, Potatoes
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other brassicas geraniums, dill, alliums, rosemary, nasturtium, borage mustards, nightshades, beans
Beans Corn, Spinach, lettuce,rosemary, summer savory, dill, carrots, brassicas, beets,   radish, strawberry and cucumbers Eggplant, Summer savory California beetles Tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, alliums,brassicas
Beets lettuce, kohlrabi, onions and brassicas Catnip, Garlic, Mint Beans
Carrots Tomatoes*, Alliums, lettuce alliums, rosemary**, wormwood, sage**, beans assassin bug, lacewing, parasitic wasp, yellow jacket and other predatory wasps*** Dill, parsnip
Celery Cosmos, Daisies, Snapdragons Corn, Aster flowers: these can transmit the aster yellows disease
Corn beans Sunflowers, legumes, peanuts, curcubits (squash, cucumbers, melons, etc), amaranth, white   geranium, lamb’s quarters, morning glory, parsley, and potato Tomato, Celery
Cucumber Nasturtiums, radishes, marigolds, sunflowers peas, beets, carrots, and Dill Beneficial for ground beetles Tomato, Sage
Eggplant Peppers, Beans Marigolds, tarragon, mints Runner beans
Lettuce Radish, Kohlrabi, beans, carrots celery, cabbage, cress, parsley
Mustard Cabbage, cauliflower, radish, brussels sprouts, turnips, other leafy greens various pests
Peppers themselves, marjoram tomatoes, geraniums, petunias beans, brassicas
Potato Horseradish Sunflower, Tomato, Cucumber
Pumpkin Squash corn, beans Buckwheat, catnip, tansy, radishes Spiders, Ground Beetles
Spinach Peas, Beans
Tomatoes and other nightshades (peppers, eggplant, potatoes) roses, other nightshades, asparagus basil, oregano, parsley, carrots, marigold, Alliums, celery, Geraniums, Petunias, Nasturtium, Borage asparagus   beetle Black   walnut, corn, fennel, peas, dill, potatoes, beetroot, kales and brassicas,   rosemary

*Tomatoes grow better with carrots, but may stunt the carrots’ growth.
**Sage, rosemary, and radishes are recommended by some as companion plants, but listed by others as incompatible.
***For the beneficial insect-attracting properties of carrots to work, they need to be allowed to flower.

Using Herbs for Protection in the Garden

Herb Planter

Karin makes cute herb planters each year for customers to be able to grow herbs in small spaces. Small planters are also convenient to bring inside over the winter.

Herbs have long been used for not just their flavors in cooking, but also for teas and medicinal purposes.  They’re great for hanging fresh or dried in the house and around the patio to keep away moths, mosquitoes, ants and more.  For organic gardeners, herbs are a great resource for the garden, both planted as companions to other plants and in sprays for keeping away garden pests and plant diseases.

Garden Sprays

Insect Spray: Combine one minced head of garlic, one minced onion, 1tsp cayenne pepper and one quart of water.  Let sit one hour, then strain.  Add 1 T liquid dish soap and mix well.  Spray the leaves of plants, including underneath, to keep pests away.  Apply weekly while pests persist, especially after heavy rains. (Note: any spray containing dish soap can harm beneficial insects, so use only as needed)

To treat downy mildew: Make a strong tea of chamomile or chives in one quart of water.  Let cool; add another ½ quart of water.  Spray on affected plants every day until mildew is gone.

To boost plant growth: Steep leaves of borage, lovage and/or geranium in water like a strong tea.  Let cool.  Water plants with this mixture as needed to boost vigor.

Herbs as Planting Companions

Herbs make excellent companion plants in the garden.  Use the guide below to help plant them strategically to attract beneficials, repel pests and provide help to other plants in the garden.  Happy planting!

Name Helps Helped by Attracts Repels / Distracts Avoid
Basil tomato, peppers,  oregano, asparagus, petunias chamomile, anise butterflies asparagus   beetle, mosquitoes and flies common rue, sage
Borage Almost everything, especially strawberry, cucurbits, tomatoes Predatory   insects, honeybees many pests
Caraway Strawberries Parasitic   wasps, parasitic flies
Chamomile Basil, Wheat, Onion, Cabbage, Cucumber Hoverflies,   wasps Growing   near herbs will increase their oil production.
Chervil Radish, lettuce, broccoli aphids
Cilantro / Coriander spinach beans, peas tachinid   fly aphids
Chives Apples, carrots, tomatoes, brassicas, many others carrots cabbage   worms, carrot fly, aphids beans,   peas
Dill Cabbages, Corn, Lettuce, Onions, Cucumbers Hoverflies, Wasps, Tomato Horn Worms, honeybees, Ichneumonid Wasps Aphids, spider mites, squash bugs, cabbage looper carrots,   tomatoes
Fennel Dill Dill ladybugs, syrphid fly, tachinid fly aphids Almost   everything
Garlic Apple and Pear trees, Roses, Cucumbers, Peas, Lettuce, Celery Aphids,   cabbage looper, ants, rabbits, cabbage maggot
Hyssop Cabbage, grapes honeybees,   butterflies Cabbage moth larvae, Cabbage Butterflies
Lovage Almost all plants beans Ichneumonid Wasps, ground beetles (good) rhubarb
Mint Brassicas and kales cabbage fly, ants, cabbage looper
Oregano Tomatoes,   peppers, many other plants basil aphids
Rosemary sage, cabbage, beans, carrots bean beetle
Sage rosemary,   cabbage, beans, carrots honeybees,   cabbage butterfly cabbage flies, carrot fly, black flea beetle, cabbage looper, cabbage maggot
Summer Savory Green beans, onions,
Tansy (do not consume – toxic) beans, cucurbits, corn, roses honeybees Ichneumonid Wasps, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles,   squash bugs and ants

We offer many of these herbs, already started for you, at our market stands each year. Find us at a market this season to get the herbs you need to help your garden!