Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Organic Farming on Guam?
The organic fruits and vegetables on Guam are flown in from the US mainland and they can be quite costly. Up until a few years ago, organic produce was not even available to us. Now they are available to us through Payless at Micronesian Mall. Though the availability can be unpredictable at times, we can find fresh organic lettuce, carrots, apples, lemons, and sometimes other items. Thanks to them, we can buy fresh organic produce on Guam.
The best organic produce would be ones that have less of a carbon footprint and grown on island. So why don't we have any organic farms on Guam?
There are many small farms on Guam, and fresh produce can be bought at various farmers markets and road side stands around the island. According to the USDA on Guam, most local farmers use less pesticides and herbicides than produce grown in the US mailand, because local farmers are not as heavily marketed to by the large corporations selling them chemical poisons. And farmers on Guam also own their own seed stocks.
Large corporations like Monsanto and DuPont force mainland farmers to buy their genetically modified or high yielding seeds from them every planting season. They are not allowed to keep their seeds for next year, in addition to needing to purchase large amounts of pesticides and herbicides. Not only is this bad for farmers but bad for the environment. The chemicals leach into the ground water supply and poison our drinking water, land, rivers and lakes, the ocean, and ourselves; not to mention increasing erosion and decreasing biodiversity. Luckily, we are not subjected to these large corporations and their poor ethics.
I have heard a rumor on Guam that some of the newer Asian immigrant farmers are using illegal chemicals like DDT which were brought from China. However, these accusations have never been confirmed. To combat such poisons, we should move more towards organic farming.
The USDA on Guam offers grants for organic farms that will reimburse 80-100% of the costs of running an organic farm. They also offer assistance on how to farm organically, water saving technologies, and how to prevent of soil erosion. The start-up cost and land is what you will need to begin, then save all the receipts for running the organic farm, and at the end of the year, USDA will reimburse you the money. Sounds like a win-win situation!
Please contact Ms. Jocelyn Bamba from the USDA on Guam at 735-4108 for more information.
If you have the desire to do organic farming but don't have land, please write to me and I will introduce you to someone who is interested in an organic farm partnership. Also, if you know of an organic farm, please write to me so I can post their information.
(photo taken by Kenneth Lee)