Scott Frost, an Oregon organic farmer for 38 years impressed a message to Linfield students about the importance of eating organic; both for health reasons and to support local communities on Sept. 5 . He speaks out against genetically modified organismbased companies such as Monsanto, and he acts as a proponent of organic farming.
Frost took the audience through a brief summary of United States industrial agriculture, pointing out that some of its fundamental elements have roots in warfare, such as the cyanide-based pesticide Zyklon B, which was used in Nazi gas chambers.
“We ingest 8,000 to 10,000 chemicals per day in our food supply, and not many of these are actually useful or good.” Frost said. “After World War II, companies that produced cyanide-based gases and other products started selling to farmers,” Frost said. “Monsanto is the leading edge of the destruction of the world, and many of are familiar with all the things they have done.”
Frost went on to stress the current dangers of products used in industrial agriculture, citing recent bombing cases.
“Do you know what the Oklahoma City bomber used? Fertilizer,” Frost said, proving his point against the monopoly company. While the discussion originated as an explanation of how war chemicals became the basis of the U.S.’s industrial agriculture, it segued into details of how the status quo of today’s industrial agriculture system has immense, far-reaching impacts on society. “There have been no good tests to see what the effects of GMOs are, but there are 300 million acres of GMO farming. About 70 percent of food in the average grocery store includes GMO products,” Frost said.
The speaker’s attempt to serve as a “wake-up call” for people emphasize s his philosophy—“Treat your body like a temple, not a garbage disposal.”
But those in attendance understood the dangers of eating non-organic food, and Freshman Madilyn Betchel asked Frost, “I know eating organics is really good for you compared to conventional methods, but it’s usually more expensive; what advice would you give to help students eat organic on a college budget?”
Students who came to this discussion left concerned about the food they eat, but also questioning the affordability of an organic lifestyle while in college.
Duncan Reid, the sustainability coordinator at Linfield, encouraged people to “create a culture out of sharing food and participating in the Linfield Garden.”
Many students do not know about the Linfield Garden, or that they can simply walk in and take produce.
Junior Danielle Grenier urges students to contribute to this culture.
“If you ever want to host an organic food cooking party where you cook a whole bunch of food from the Linfield Garden, go talk to your residence advisor. We would get that all paid for and you don’t need to worry about for organic prices. This is definitely something that could happen, but we just need student interest. We’d be happy to facilitate all the intermediate steps,” Grenier said.
Freshman Kadie Todd-Durfee and others who participated in the “War on Agriculture” discussion are at different stages of involvement in sustainable agriculture, but the overwhelming amount of them said they would join the Garden Club as a direct result of Frost’s talk.
Helen Lee / Photo editor
Helen Lee can be reached at linfieldreviewphotos@gmail