5.    You can't raise crops without pesticides
Fact:  Mr. Avery has no understanding (and we're sure wants none), of the way organic farming works. We try to work in as much harmony as possible with natural systems, and use them to our advantage.  There have been no pesticides, even those "approved" for organic use on our farm for many years. On a well managed organic farm, the soil becomes more alive and balanced, so the crops are healthier.  Also, without constant bombardment from insecticides, the population of pest vs. predator insects becomes more balanced.  The bottom line here is beautiful, cosmetically perfect, produce, with NO insecticides, not even botanical ones.  It doesn't happen overnight.  There is not a "silver bullet".  It takes good stewardship and time, but it happens.

6.    You found no pesticide residues on any of the produce you tested.
Fact:  The USDA's own figures show considerable pesticide residue on domestic produce.  Sometimes up to five different ones on a single variety.  If you did not find any, you either didn't know what to look for, did know what to look for and looked for other things, or were just fortunate, which we doubt.  It made a much better story the way you presented it.  You might want to take at look at the USDA's figures - they can be an eye opener.  Pesticide residues can even be found on organic produce - if it happens to be an accumulator such as winter squash, and if DDT was ever used at any time on the soil where it is growing. You see, it still persists in the soil after decades, and it is still causing problems. There are some soils in this country that will never be able to produce "clean" food, and the numbers may be increasing.

7.    Organic food is not more nutritious
Fact:  Organic food has not been tested to determine whether it actually has more vitamins, minerals, etc.  Testing of that sort takes money, and the organic industry is still very small.  In fact, how old are the figures on any sort of produce?  If they are more than a few years old, they are also not worth repeating.  If there was a study comparing produce from well-grown conventional methods, and from well-grown organic methods, there might indeed be no difference.  But your inference was based on no facts, because there aren't any. Perhaps ABC would like to fund such a study?

8.    Spokesperson for Organic
We're not sure you could have found a worse spokesperson.  Maybe you interviewed several and edited out the ones who sounded sensible.  Maybe you edited out the places where she made sense. Why not contact a farmer, such as Cass Peterson, who with her late partner Ward Sinclair, established a organic farm that has often been in the top 10% income producing farms in the nation - on 10 acres!  And they were journalists - Washington Post.  Or Joel Salatin, a terrific sustainable agriculture entrepreneur (you might want to take a look at his debate a few month ago with Dennis Avery and look at Avery's doublespeak).  Or Lynn Byczynski, who has written a book on organic cut flowers, is a nationally known lecturer and with her partner runs a CSA in Kansas, or little people like us, who are growing salad greens, organically and without heat, all winter in zone 6.  You seem to have gone out of your way to find the worst you could.

We realize that your job is to get viewers.  We realize that you go for sensation.  What we are so disappointed with is the total lack of integrity you showed in this particular show - and the likelihood that it is done with all your presentations.

Tell Barbara Walters to keep eating that organic produce.  She'll be healthier in the long run, and, she'll be supporting a group of farmers that really appreciate her business.


Paul and Alison Wiediger
Au Naturel Farm
Smith Grove, KY

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