IMAGINE YOUR GARDEN ON A WORLD SCALE

April is National Lawn and Garden month. That’s cool. I’ve been itching for a chance to get some dirt under my fingernails since the last of the flowers got frosted last fall. The garden catalogs that light up my mailbox feed that urge. And finally, it is, “A time to plant.”

What goes into a person’s flower and vegetable gardens is not a fair comparison to the farm-scale production of both flowers and vegetables, and commodity crops, as well.

But it’s upon that very comparison, or rather contrast, that many people are deriving their opinions of food production. Are you following me? It’s like this: “What’s good for my garden must be good for the rest of the system.”

Uh, no. That’s why it’s a garden.

Some people thrive on finding the all-organic ways to produce tasty fruits and veggies from their own plot of ground. Other people look for every method they can to minimize the work and maximize the tasty output (that’s me.) That might be some granulated seed germination inhibitor, plastic sheets to block weeds, bug spray to keep the Japanese beetles from devouring the tomatoes, and chicken wire to keep out the, well, pesky chickens that not only eat the bugs but also take a bite out of every green bean, tomato, and strawberry they can find. Oh, and they can make short work of a cantaloupe, too.

But I digress.

Back to the backyard division of organic versus conventional methodologies. Both are good, in my opinion. Both have their benefits.

Same goes in the larger scale production as capitalistic minded individuals find markets for the products they’re willing to produce.

But when one way starts getting labeled as “better,” well, that’s when I get perturbed. When one way starts changing regulation, litigation, and legislation, based on falsehoods that have become “truth” just by virtue of mass acceptance? That’s a problem.

Witness an article published online in Time magazine, New Study Says That Organic Food Isn’t As Productive as Conventional Agriculture, which makes this remark:

“Yet a new meta-analysis in Nature does the math and comes to a hard conclusion: organic farming yields 25% fewer crops on average than conventional agriculture. More land therefore needed to produce fewer crops—and that means organic farming may not be as good for the planet as we think.”

Cue the invisible farm audience to say, “Duh.”

Why is this so hard to understand? Why must there be a black and white choice with social consciousness coming down only on the side of organic? When does conventional agriculture be just as accepted as the “ethical choice” for feeding deserving Americans and others worldwide?

Well, maybe, just maybe, it’s when we (and I mean that in the broadest sense) quit comparing what works in our gardens to what we think is appropriate for production beyond just our friends and neighbors wants. Maybe it happens when we CONTRAST the wants of our personal lives to the needs of a hungry planet.

That’s my two-seeds worth.

Tricia Braid
ICGA/ICMB Communications Director

NATIONAL WEDDING MONTH: FOCUS ON FLOWERS

February is “National Wedding Month” and in order to plan your special day be sure to immerse yourself in agriculture! Not many brides have that thought on their mind. However, if you consider everything that goes into wedding planning you realize how your day is centered around the industry that feeds, fuels and clothes the world. From the meal to the dress, agriculture is a key component to your day.

I want to focus on one area of your wedding day in particular, FLOWERS! Horticulture is not only an important sector of the agriculture industry but also your wedding day. The type of flower, color and way it is arranged are all details any bride is sure to pay close attention to.

HostaOne of my personal favorites in regards to wedding flowers are when brides are able to tie in other unique plants into their arrangements. For example, not many people would think a shade plant would make a very good bouquet. However, incorporating hosta into your bouquet adds a fresh, green look. Tucking a few little blooming flowers within the hosta make an elegant bouquet out of a simple plant.

suculantOn the opposite side of hostas, succulents are cactus like plants that withstand sunny and dry climates. Some succulents flower and all have unique shapes. As you can see in the pink bouquet, the succulent “hens and chicks” are tucked in with the flowers adding a touch of green to the pink.

Flowers are not the only part of a bouquet. The ribbon binding the flowers and plants together are another creative outlet for brides to incorporate the style they are going for. For a country twist, burlap is a cheap alternative to the traditional ribbon. As you can see from this bouquet, the burlap has been made into a bow surrounding the flowers adding an elegant country twist to any bouquet.

burlap

Fall_FlowersFlowers are not only in the bouquets but also on tables and often at the ends of the church pew aisles. For a quaint look, try keeping the long stems on baby’s breath and make small bouquets by tying raffia around them and in a bow. Attach to the end of the pews for a simple, elegant flower touch. Don’t forget the reception tables! Depending on the season you can incorporate other agriculture products to add a seasonal, country look to any wedding.  Ditch the vase and instead place flowers in a carved out pumpkin and place on tables to tie in colors and the season!

The ways to make your special day unique are endless when it comes to decorating with flowers! My best tip for you would be to ensure it is what you truly want and accomplishes your vision for the day. The day is not about flowers or the industry that produces them, it is about you and your special someone!

AmieBurkeAmie Burke
Illinois State University Student

IMAGINE YOUR GARDEN ON A WORLD SCALE

April is National Lawn and Garden month. That’s cool. I’ve been itching for a chance to get some dirt under my fingernails since the last of the flowers got frosted last fall. The garden catalogs that light up my mailbox feed that urge. And finally, it is, “A time to plant.”

What goes into a person’s flower and vegetable gardens is not a fair comparison to the farm-scale production of both flowers and vegetables, and commodity crops, as well.

But it’s upon that very comparison, or rather contrast, that many people are deriving their opinions of food production. Are you following me? It’s like this: “What’s good for my garden must be good for the rest of the system.”

Uh, no. That’s why it’s a garden.

Some people thrive on finding the all-organic ways to produce tasty fruits and veggies from their own plot of ground. Other people look for every method they can to minimize the work and maximize the tasty output (that’s me.) That might be some granulated seed germination inhibitor, plastic sheets to block weeds, bug spray to keep the Japanese beetles from devouring the tomatoes, and chicken wire to keep out the, well, pesky chickens that not only eat the bugs but also take a bite out of every green bean, tomato, and strawberry they can find. Oh, and they can make short work of a cantaloupe, too.

But I digress.

Back to the backyard division of organic versus conventional methodologies. Both are good, in my opinion. Both have their benefits.

Same goes in the larger scale production as capitalistic minded individuals find markets for the products they’re willing to produce.

But when one way starts getting labeled as “better,” well, that’s when I get perturbed. When one way starts changing regulation, litigation, and legislation, based on falsehoods that have become “truth” just by virtue of mass acceptance? That’s a problem.

Witness an article published online in Time magazine, New Study Says That Organic Food Isn’t As Productive as Conventional Agriculture, which makes this remark:

            “Yet a new meta-analysis in Nature does the math and comes to a hard conclusion: organic farming yields 25% fewer crops on average than conventional agriculture. More land therefore needed to produce fewer crops—and that means organic farming may not be as good for the planet as we think.”

Cue the invisible farm audience to say, “Duh.”

Why is this so hard to understand? Why must there be a black and white choice with social consciousness coming down only on the side of organic? When does conventional agriculture be just as accepted as the “ethical choice” for feeding deserving Americans and others worldwide?

Well, maybe, just maybe, it’s when we (and I mean that in the broadest sense) quit comparing what works in our gardens to what we think is appropriate for production beyond just our friends and neighbors wants. Maybe it happens when we CONTRAST the wants of our personal lives to the needs of a hungry planet.

That’s my two-seeds worth.

Tricia Braid
ICGA/ICMB Communications Director