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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


How One Farmer Turned Against Chemicals

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: farming, agriculture, sustainable agriculture, herbicides, Roundup, Roundup Ready, Monsanto, health, food, air and water, Son of a Farmer Child of the Earth, Eric Herm, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Son of a Farmer, Child of the EarthA run-in with Roundup herbicide was a transformative episode in farmer Eric Herm’s shift toward sustainable agriculture. A fourth-generation farmer, Herm tells the tale in the book Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth: A Path to Agriculture’s Higher Consciousness (Dream River Press):

Herm had tissue from his dead crops tested, and the results came back positive for glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup. Still, the local Helena Chemical Company store manager insisted that his product wasn’t to blame.

Herm’s writing has a folksy, ticked-off tone, kind of a Jim Hightower with a stronger streak of rural individualism, a distrust of big government, and a dash of new age spirituality. But his overall message is positive and forward thinking: Our industrial, chemical-intensive farming practices are destroying the land and harming our health and security, and we must change them:

“It is up to you and me—us. We the people,” he writes. “If not us, if not now … well, then we are all really in trouble.”

 Source: Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth