[CVF] Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter

sal sals at rain.org
Mon Aug 7 16:05:59 PDT 2000

Organic growers need chemical and GMO trespass law or their will be no
organic.  for getaboutit. before we sign on to any USDA or state organic bs
we need a chemical and GMO trespass law.  people want organic food and we
have the right to be able to give it to them.

without a chemical and GMO trespass law there is no organic,  and I don't
mean 1 percent I me no chemical or GMO trespass.  we have to make the
contaminators responsible for their contamination.

check out an organic farmers homepage
sals at rain.,org
----- Original Message -----
From: "Wesley Roe and Marjorie Lakin Erickson" <lakinroe at silcom.com>
To: <scpg at arashi.com>; <sdpg at arashi.com>; <ccpg at arashi.com>
Sent: Monday, August 07, 2000 5:45 AM
Subject: [CVF] Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter

> Hi Everyone
> This article on the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is written by an Organic
> Farmer Shepard  Bliss in Sonoma County to be submitted to local newspapers
> in  Sonoma , it was posted on the California Vineyard Forum which is
> sponsored by the Sierra Club. Read and get a more informed look at it's
> impacts and causes and how organic farmers will be harmed by the spraying.
> Wes
> Written by Shepherd Bliss owns Kokopelli Farm, outside Sebastopol, which
> specializes
> in organic berries, apples, eggs, and educational farm tours.
> The following article on the sharpshooter has been submitted to various
> local publications.  Since I will continue writing on this matter, I would
> welcome your comments on the approach I am taking.  Should you see it in
> print, I would welcome letters to the editor in response, since the
> advocates of pesticide spraying are likely to write.
> We will also have a meeting next Sunday to consider what direct actions to
> take if spraying does occur locally, which is very likely.  Please contact
> me for more information on that meeting.
> Shepherd
> The Sharpshooter Insect Is Not My Enemy
> By Shepherd Bliss, Kokopelli Farm
> "The chickens are coming home to roost," my Uncle Dale would observe on
> family farm in Iowa.  Now another winged one--the tiny glassy-winged
> sharpshooter--is arriving for the bountiful monocrop meal set by the eager
> wine industry.
> A campaign of hatred--driven by fear and maximizing profit--is being waged
> against this small insect.  But is our hungry guest really an "enemy," as
> wine propagandists contend?    Or is it nature's remedy for an unbalanced
> monoculture?  Is nature merely taking its course, as humans seek to
> it?
> The local daily newspaper presents the wine industry's one-sided view of
> sharpshooter as enemy.  It is time to consider how it might help us
> a voracious wine industry that consumes forests, orchards, and land.
> Scientists warned the speculating wine industry that nature would balance
> monoculture.  "One of the consequences of the trend toward expansion of
> large-scale monocultures is the loss of habitats for natural enemies,
> results in increased pest problems," write three University of California
> scientists, headed by Dr. Clara Nicholls, in a 1997 article entitled
> Biodiversity and Pest Management in a Northern California Vineyard."
> But does the wine industry listen?  No.  They continue cutting down
> and apple orchards to plant non-native vineyards.  They venture into
> riparian areas around rivers, which sharpshooters love.  Along with poison
> oak, sharpshooters may be considered "forest guardians," protecting what
> remains from further human degradation.  They carry a "Keep Out" sign.
> wine industry has gone too far and needs to be reigned in.
> I hate to say "we told you so."  But we did.  In l997 and l998 I published
> articles in the Press Democrat, the Sonoma County Independent and
> as did others, warning the expanding wine industry of the monoculture risk
> they were taking.  Nature abhors a monoculture.
> A decade ago wine grapes accounted for only 20% of Sonoma County's
> agricultural revenues.  They are already over 50% and head toward Napa
> County's 90%.   We warned against putting all our eggs in one basket.
> Sonoma's agricultural economy depends too much on wine's boom and bust
> cycle.
> The luxury wine industry, full of pride, works to transform the image of
> this area from the natural Redwood Empire to the profitable Wine Country.
> To defend that image it demonizes tiny insects to prepare the public for
> spraying of toxic pesticides.  The sharpshooter probably will arrive here
> soon, and then be fired upon.
> Organic farmers and others will defend their private property, even at the
> risk of being jailed.  What will this do to the wine industry's public
> image?    Stories on "Organic Farmers Defend Land from Spraying" in
> newspapers around the U.S. and the world could hurt the North Coast wine
> industry more than the sharpshooter.
> I have spent eight years of hard labor (others have spent more) to build
> organic farm.  A few mintues of spraying the highly toxic Sevin in search
> sharpshooters (which is what authorities plan) would destroy my organic
> farm.  I will not stand idly by and watch my livelihood be ruined.
> The sharpshooter may be a gift horse in disguise, repeating the message to
> the hard-of-hearing wine industry,  "Back off.  Stand down."  Sonoma
> County's rapidly expanding wine industry is already running off food
> unable to pay the big bucks for land.
> Pierce's Disease--which some grassy-winged sharpshooters (GWSS) might
> transmit, especially to stressed vines--is not new.  It has been here for
> over a century.  The wine industry should have crop insurance that will
> cover their losses and should not use the nearly $40 million in tax
> commited by federal and state agencies to bail them out.
> If it were not the GWSS, nature would send another balancing remedy.  The
> ravenous farming practices of wine over-planters created the problem,
> setting such an abundant table, not the innocent sharpshooter.  The GWSS
> not my enemy.  It is a symptom of a deeper problem.
> People's fears are being  manipulated for the economic benefit of the wine
> industry.  The sharpshooter is described as a "new, dangerous bug," "the
> plague," "vicious pest" and "voracious insect."  I have seen this tiny
> insect; it merely looks like another leafhopper, similar to the ones that
> damage my berries.
> A simplistic good guy/bad guy dualism has been propagated.  The
> is called as "the biggest threat ever to California agriculture."  This
> the stage for the fight of the century--the noble wine indusry and its
> governmental allies against the big, bad sharpshooter.
> "If you took insects away now, everything would collapse," notes Montana
> State University entomologist Kevin O'Neill.  Organic farms depend upon
> beneficial insects, such as pollinating bees.  I plant insectaries--plants
> that draw lady bugs, dragonflies, spiders, and other beneficials.  I also
> like insects like butterflies and depend upon worm boxes.
> My berry vines will survive the leafhopper attacks, as will those of
> sustainable grapegrowers.  After the sharpshooter eats, we will have a
> pruned and more manageable, moderate wine industry.  A sustainable wine
> industry will be rebuilt by the many good local vineyardists, even if the
> sharpshooter harms some vines.
> If an "agricultural emergency" is declared and mandatory ground spraying
> occurs here--as in Sacramento and elsewhere--authorities could come on my
> private property and spray without my permission.  Writer Will Shonbrun
> describes this as  "home invasion."   Spraying would hurt the
> people, plants--to benefit a few at the top of the wine industry.
> Spraying would sacrifice an industry--organic farming, which grows healthy
> food--at the wine god's altar.  Sonoma County has the second highest
> of organic farmers in California.  That could soon end, leaving the local
> economy even more vulnerable to nature's next balancing agent.
> So-called "pests" adapt to pesticides.   Only natural and preventive means
> should be used to contain the sharpshooter.  Spraying may spread the
> sharpshooter, as it leaves contaminated plants, seeking food and shelter
> elsewhere.
> The wine industry has too much power in Washington, Sacramento, and Santa
> Rosa.  If it were another industry, spraying would be dismissed as a
> hazardous non-solution with multiple negative unintended consequences.
> risks of spraying in terms of public relations, organic agriculture,
> politics, and the environment will turn out to be far greater than any
> economic benefit.
> Perhaps the real solution to the alleged sharpshooter problem is to deal
> with the cause of their arrival and declare a moratorium on planting new
> vineyards in Sonoma County?   Houses do not belong in flood plains, and
> vineyards do not belong close to the forested and riparian habitats of
> sharpshooters.
> (Shepherd Bliss owns Kokopelli Farm, outside Sebastopol, which specializes
> in organic berries, apples, eggs, and educational farm tours.)
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