Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Global warming and spraying for the LBAM

Gail Raabe, SMC Agricultural Commissioner, says she hasn't heard any opposition to aerial spraying for the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). A group of legislators have introduced legislation to prevent spraying- San Mateo is not one included.

My position, which is a farmer's market consumer position says:
- The problem with LBAM comes about because the food is transported by air these days. It used to, and should, come by ship, which is a lot more fuel efficient and the long trip was detrimental to the moth which would metamorphosis and then die at sea. Today's airborne moth, while generating tons of green house gases with travel food miles, gets to arrive, metamorph, find food and raise a family here.

- The fix against this moth used to be "targeted pheromone baited sticky traps" tied to a fruit tree. This works for small farmers with a few acres under cultivation. It doesn't work for corporate farmers who farms hundreds of acres and won't hire the labor to bait all the trees each month. Therefor USDA's spaying essentially supports large farms and is an anti local, one more disincentive, against small local farms.

- I buy from the farmers market which is where small local farmers go to find consumers like me who want fresh tasty food. They are now in competition against an imported airborne moth from fruit picked early so it can travel well and whose price is artificially low
because of global subsidies like the war in Iraq.

- Where is the problem? As a Sierra Club article states the moth has been in CA for years with no damage. However exporters, large farms with global connections, again in competition against my farmer market supplier, have to spray outgoing shipments, and it is this "perpetual quarantine" that worries USDA which has no interest in the family farm or the consumer. This business model doesn't add up in an era of climate change.

The CA Sierra Club has taken a position opposing spraying for the LBAM. See A controversy coming to a neighborhood near you on page 3 but for different reasons. Baited sticky traps are mentioned here, as is perpetual quarantine and absence of a problem.

We should instead-
fight global warming and protect the family farm by not spraying. Instead give a portion of the money allocated to this emergency to family farms earning under $30,000/- per year to pay for targeted pheromone baited sticky traps and let larger corporate farmers pay for their own programs.

No comments: