Cass County Learns About Potentially Harmful Ways of Farming
“We can’t feed the world if we are poisoning our neighbors,” Mike Tauber, a Petitioner for Environment Assessment of the Pineland Sands Area, said.
Since the 1960s, farmers have turned to chemical farming to help their initiatives. However, what we did not understand as a society 50 years ago is that chemical farming is actually destroying our land and ourselves.
“It’s not the average farmer’s fault that they are trapped in the chemical intensive agriculture,” Tauber said. “That’s something that the industry has promoted and claimed to be safe for a long time, and so we dug ourselves a big hole in a lot of cases.”
“We’re not really looking at it from a seven generations philosophy, we’ve cut it down to a seven-tenths of a generation philosophy,” Jim Etzel, a Cass County Land Steward, said.
At a meeting held by the Association of Cass County Lakes, community members came out to learn about chemical farming and other practices that are harming our environment.
“When people understand what’s going on, they are going to drive the demand for healthier food,” Tauber said. “They’re going to drive the demand for stopping the chemical train.”
The problem isn’t just localized to Minnesota – it’s a widespread issue that shows little signs of slowing down.
“This is a much bigger issue than Cass County, or Lakeland, or the Pineland Sands, or Minnesota: it’s a thing that’s going to affect the whole country,” Tauber said.
It’s an issue that is going to take a lot of work for it to change.
“It’s hard to change once it’s been instilled that, “this is working and we’re not doing any harm,” and I think legislation is going to have to get involved, people are going to have to get involved, and a lot of education,” Etzel said.
People can help right now by planting their own food, planting native plants and flowers, and by reporting chemical spraying.
“Work with the natural system, put more into the soil than we take out, and not necessarily nitrogen, but using better farming practices,” Etzel said.
Recently, a petition was granted for the Department of Natural Resources to come to the Pineland Sands Area and assess the environment.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Tauber said. “It should be followed by an Environmental Impact Statement to show the whole scope of things.”
But this is an issue that everyone has to be conscious of for anything to change.
“We need to take care of the earth because there isn’t another one to go to,” Etzel said.
The Department of Natural Resources is expected to assess the Pineland Sands area on or after August 6th, 2018.