What’s been going on!
“Plastics” for those old enough to remember the movie The Graduate they can hear the line in the back of their heads. They are everywhere and unfortunately there are lots of them used in agriculture. We have from the beginning tried very hard to find either alternatives or to use very durable plastics that will last a long time and not become big landfill or decomposition issues.
We invested in heavy duty seed flats that we never have to throw away compared to the industry standard that might last a year or two. We use slightly heavier irrigation lines that we can get many years out of. We don’t use plastic mulch on our planting beds but do use landscape fabric on a few crops and we have some that is at least 15 years old. The unavoidable one is greenhouse coverings but again we use the longest lasting that we can.
I was reminded again this week by this good article in the NY Times about paper vs. plastic bags. We are all now aware of the problems of single use plastics from straws to bags to cups. We have been struggling with the bag issue for getting customers produce home from market. Last year we changed to compostable bags made from plant materials but even that is not a panacea as they apparently don’t compost as easily as one would want but are better than plastic that takes centuries to decompose.
As the article points out that while plastic bags take a long time to break down and are a litter problem they are more climate friendly than paper from an energy and emissions stand point and cotton reusable bags have to be used a lot more (131 times) to be equal to a single use plastic bag from a climate change perspective. The take away is to use as few bags as possible, reuse every type of bag/container as many times a possible and as the article says “the food you purchase and place in that bag probably has a vastly bigger effect on the environment than whatever you use to haul it home”. So at least we can feel better about buying local food, grown using sustainable methods.
Picture of the Week
Things coming along in the field
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