green when they pick it. But the stuff tastes like battery acid. It's nasty.” Rob
continues to describe how large-scale conventional citrus production has a
huge influence in the state of Florida: “Now there's a lawsuit about generic
advertising. Basically all the advertising you see for Florida orange juice
benefits about three or four corporations, and that is it. That ain't doing
shit for the grower. It is all politics, and it really sucks.”
With such strong feelings against conventional agriculture, it must be
difficult for organic growers to be minorities within the current system.
Indeed, it is interesting to ask organic farmers how they fit within their local
conventional agricultural community - those conventional farmers wear-
ing the agribusiness, chemical corporation-sponsored caps, sitting at the
diner drinking coffee. Since organic farmers are so distinctly different and
maintain obviously different field methods, they often feel like outsiders.
But they are smiling as they look back in. In California, Phil says, “Am I part
of that ag community? Probably not. I don't know if I would be even if I
were conventional. I have some good friends that are conventional farmers,
and we stop by the side of the road and talk about different things. I'm
growing onions, and he's growing onions, so there are some commonalities.
But certainly if someone is an organic farmer, I would have more to talk
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Views of Organic Farming
In Colorado, where conventional farming rules, Naioma says, “Some neigh-
bors think we are loony tunes for doing organic!”Her husband, Cliff, agrees.
“Some neighbors think I don't have both oars in the water!” In Illinois, Joel
says, “I never get the questions. Dad would always get the questions about
me - 'What's he doing here? Why is he doing this? Oh, is there a market for
that?' I had hairy vetch out in this field here, and people driving by didn't
know what it was. 'So what is he growing? What is he going to use that for?
Is there a market for that?' ” Since his flame weeder is new and different,
he figures the neighbors will ask about it. “I haven't heard anything about
flame weeding yet. I don't know if they haven't mustered up the courage to
ask, or what.”
In upstate New York, Steve remains upbeat about his relationship to his
conventional neighbors. He says he is“a little isolated, but not toomuch. Our
neighbors are still neighbors. But it is nice to talk to other organic farmers
about your concerns or marketing problems or whatever. You come back
from the meeting charged up by people at the meeting thinking like you.
Something different from the usual crowd I see here around home. There