How Dare I?

After listening to the Paul Parent Garden Club on Sunday, June 21, I decided to boycott it. I have that right. I am after all, guaranteed free speech by the U.S. Constitution.
I emailed him, and expressed my concern over him promoting RoundUp. It concerns us, as well as other organic farmers that there even is such a product. It bothers me to hear a “gardening expert” promoting it.

This is the response I receive back from Mrs. Christine Parent:
How dare you want to boycott my husband’s radio show. How would you like it if I put on our web site that the entire gardening world should boycott your products.   Most of the products that we have for sponsors are completely organic.  Only a few are not.  You can not teach the world over night to go organic, it takes time and we have been working on it for the last 5 years. Round up is the safest weed killer for the homeowner and breaks down in the soils in 7 to 10 days by the microbs in the soil, no other weed killer works this way.  If you know of an organic week killer that will do the job let us know and we will promote it.
Now, if this is the way she handles dissatisfied customers, then she needs to go back to cutomer relations 101 . This only incited me to blog more about it.

I then received an email from Paul Parent himself:

Apparently, you do not listen very often to the program!  Most of my sponsors are natural or organic and we work very hard to find companies who have earth friendly products for the garden. Many companies have both and that is the gardener choice, NOT YOURS.  A company like Scotts works very hard to make sure that there product are used wisely.  The chemical industry spends many years of testing before products are released to the public. You may not know this but Scotts has many organic products for the homeowner.

Like you, some people take the extreme and want changes overnight, It’s not possible.  If you were a Farmer living on the soil, you would know that without chemicals the world would not exist without them.  There is not enough Manure to feed the soil for every farm in the world.

The situation you heard part of ‘only’, was in reference to a man whose field was being overtaken by Multiflora roses.  This plant is very aggressive and each plant can cover a 6 by 6 foot area of ground in just one year.  Thousands of seed are made yearly that are ejected in to the air and the wind can carry them several yards from the mother.  In addition, seedpods are eaten by the birds in the fall and dispensed everywhere they land with their package of Manure.  Perfect for seed germination.  Farmers who have this problem will lose their field to animal grazing in just a few years if not controlled. The average Farmer does not have time to hand dig problem weed growth by hand, as you do.

If you want to keep your farm organic, that is wonderful but do not tell people how they must garden.  Not everyone has so much spare time as you, to pull weed from the garden by hand.  To pick insects that find there way to the plants on your property and control disease by removing the infested foliage or removing the plant, As you do. With proper management of garden chemicals, everyone can lessened there use. But not everyone has your time available.

Now, of all weed killers Round up is one of the safest as it only affects plants when entering from the foliage. It cannot kill plants from the roots/soil. Also Round up will die in the soil from the bacteria and the rays of the sun hitting it in as quickly as 14 days.  Used according to directions it is as safe to this planet as the soap YOU use to wash your clothing and dishes. The products You use to clean your house and the gas you ask your clients to use to come see what you grow, “gas fumes”. The packaging used for your product and the shipping to deliver them,  You pollute with your business even if you know it or not.  We all do the best we can for this planet.  Some more than others.

I have been working in Agriculture for over 25 years and have 2 degrees from University of Massachusetts.  I know the problems better that you ever will. I do the best to keep gardening safe for all gardeners as my listeners are like family to me. Every year I work HARD to find a better product for my Family.  Believe it or not I am here to stay and educate gardeners about products Organic, Natural and YES chemical! There is a place for them whether you like it or not. So get off your High horse, get your head out of the ground and learn to do the best for Mother Nature and that means with chemicals when needed.

If you think I am wrong call me. Do not let you feelings about the planet be the right way and the only way.  In this country we are all allowed to have our opinion, right or wrong. We both try to do the right thing for the gardener.

All the best to stay organic.  The more power to you if you can. But do not force your beliefs  to others, give them a choice as I do.

My response:

Mr. Parent,
After reading both your email, and the one sent by your wife, I realize I have made the right decision in boycotting your show. You are both unprofessional, and arrogant to say the least. Instead of putting out the fire, you have fanned the flames.
You both will obviously never understand. Perhaps because you are getting funding from Scotts, or maybe you just can’t open your eyes. It is just common sense to know that if you put a chemical in the soil, you will at some point wind up putting it into your mouth. Doesn’t take a degree to figure that one out.
Please take the time to watch “The Future of Food” http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food and possibly you may understand.

Comments

  1. Bob says

    I do not live on the coast, I live in the Midwest; therefore I have never heard of either the Parents or your farm or whomever you are. I have only the words published on the internet to make up my mind.

    Based on your words and the messages from the Parents I have determined that:
    a) you only listened to “a part” of a larger issue;
    b) your beliefs about organic farming / gardening are based, in part, on watching one video-production (of dubious integrity);
    c) you seem to believe that 2 advanced degrees and 25 years of experience do not equal “your vast knowledge of the subject”, which in this case is chemicals;
    d) since you happen to perform your farming or gardening by certain methods, that is THE only method that everyone else MUST follow “or else rot in hell”.

    I believe that the following 3 statements about Mr. Parent, admittedly taken from a website about he and his show, go far in proving his authority in the matter.

    “When Paul gives gardening advice to novice or master gardener, it is based on years of training, formal horticultural education, experience as a gardening writer, a home gardener himself, early apprenticeship as a greenhouse worker and now, former owner of his own Nursery, Greenhouse, and Garden Center in Scarborough Maine.”

    “For the last twenty-three years, ‘The Paul Parent Garden Club Show’ has focused on accurate and up to date information. … The listening public has been listening and receiving sensible advice for over twenty-three years from their friend Paul.”

    You childishly request others to engage in a boycott, though none of your various web pages indicates ANY education or authenticity at all; and the statement (found on your “Cloverleaf Farm Stand / About Us” webpage) “Our products are never tested on animals’… only willing friends and family.” only serves as justification for my next statement and to prove how crazy you REALLY are, not only for your incorrect use of a possessive plural (where only the plural is necessary), but the obvious potential danger your methods pose!

    In my opinion you belong in the very same “nut-house” that should be housing the PETA protesters against “the horse carriage industry”!

    Now let’s see if you actually allow this response to appear on your blog; although it won’t matter if you do, for I have already sent it to the Parents.

    Robert Nierodzik

  2. says

    Mr. Nierodzik,
    I don’t care how long Paul Parent has been in the industry, it doesn’t take a degree to know what you put in the ground gets absorbed into the plant and soil.
    I only cited one source, but if you and the Parents took the time to do the research, you would find there are many.
    You say I am childish for requesting a boycott. Why is it childish to stand up for something you believe in?
    I do not pose a threat. I am not the one promoting poisons.
    The concept I am promoting is to do things the way our ancestors did for numerous generations.

  3. Sabrina says

    Good heavens. Regarding the Parents, “Methinks the (metaphorical) lady doth protest too much.”

    Round-Up may be effective, but it is scary stuff. I used it once, before I knew better. Yes, it worked, but a little too well. I’ll never do that again, especially in a garden from which I’ll be eating the bounty.

    The organic way may be harder, but with the perpetual threats to the food supply, it seems to me that an ounce of prevention can go a long way. Generations of farmers did it the hard way and the general public had many fewer physical woes because of it.

    I disagree on not being able to teach people to farm organically “overnight”. It is not overnight. The benefits of organic food have been touted for quite a while in every form of media. With each outbreak of bacterial poisoning, the population grows a little more wary of the food supply. Why add chemicals … even for “just a week” … to the equation?

    Many of us buy organically and locally whenever possible to minimize that threat to our families. There is nothing wrong with being critical of chemical – or any other artificial – involvement in what we put into our bodies.

    There is also nothing wrong with voicing an opinion. To respond to a personal intent to boycott with “How dare you?” is really quite something. I don’t need to expound. It ought to be obvious how Cloverleaf Farm “dares”. We are remarkably lucky to live in a country where “daring” is a right that’s encouraged. Including Mrs. Parent’s right to challenge.

    Although I fully expect a resounding bit of outrage from the Parent camp, I have to add my voice as an American consumer to that of Cloverleaf Farm. If I’m to eat produce grown on the farms of your listeners, Mr. Parent, please don’t encourage the use of chemicals in my future food.

  4. says

    Hats off to you Sabrina.
    You are correct in asking Mr. Parent to stop encouraging the use of chemicals.
    The food supply in this country is shady to say the least.
    Mr. Parent needs to rethink his stand.

  5. Dmitry says

    Mr. Robert Nierodzik,

    First off, I don’t know why you would be attacking an organic farmer for refusing to use chemicals and pesticides. By boycotting the Parents, Kathy is simply and effectively sharing her opinion. I know that it is effective considering the protest from those advocating chemicals.

    And to Mr. Parent’s “education”, I remind you of a quote by Will Durant, a 20th century history. He said that, “education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance.” Simply put, one can have years of education and still be at odds with another. And if your “education” has taught you that pesticides are any good, I encourage you to visit the Pesticide Information Center,http://www.beyondpesticides.org/.

    And Mr. Parent, by saying that “most of my sponsors are natural or organic…” you enter a hypocritical state. An analogy could be an anti-fur activist who decides that they will wear fur only sometimes. It just doesn’t fit!
    And Mr. Nierodzik, by suggesting that Kathy belongs in a nut house for standing up for what she believes in, that is offensive and immature. It is a grave reminder of a kindergartner bully that I had who would tell everyone else “to go to the crazy house”…. Relations?

    Apologies for the lengthy letter…
    Dmitry