“I don’t know why people are so afraid of learning from Cuba. It’s like saying we can’t study Traditional Chinese Medicine because China is communist.” — Yvonne Scott, author, Simply Garden Small
Just as the Radical Right denies the urgency of climate change, it clings to the lie that industrial agriculture is the only viable way to produce food. Big Oil and Big Ag shell out incomparable sums to their political and media mouthpieces to keep that deception going.
In Iowa, one of the Right’s prominent spokespersons is Simon Conway, talk show host at WHO Radio. In my blog last week, I wrote that shifting from industrial agriculture to sustainable farming is inevitable and urgent, and that we can learn from Cuba’s experience.
Simon quoted my blog in a tweet — disparagingly, of course. Here’s our Twitter conversation:
Simon: This is from Ed Fallon: “…when it was no longer possible to fuel a tractor or combine, Cuban farmers brought back oxen. Kathy and I discuss the relevance of Cuba’s food production journey for communities like Des Moines.” Not sure if we have to kill thousands of humans too.
Me: Too bad you chose to quote just the cute part, not the serious content about Cuba’s successful shift from industrial to sustainable ag.￼
Simon: Too bad you failed to mention the thousands of people executed because they disagreed with Castro. There is literally NOTHING about Cuba that we should applaud.
Me: Agree Castro’s record on human rights deplorable. Point is if communist Cuba can transform its ag system, we should be able to, too.￼ You really should join me for a discussion about this on my program sometime. Yes?￼
Simon: About Cuba? About the torture methods Castro favored? About what happens to you if you publicly disagree with the regime? You’ve been on my show enough times I think. Thanks.
Me: I wasn’t asking to be on your program. I was inviting you to be on mine to discuss transforming our ag system. I argue we do, you argue we don’t, good convo.￼ [For the record, Simon declined my invite, citing provisions in his contract.]
Simon’s followers weighed in, too, with a few insults and a reference to bovine flatulence causing climate change.
But to Yvonne Scott’s quote at the top of this message, Simon’s contention that there’s “NOTHING about Cuba that we should applaud,” is pure hypocrisy, given that his colleague, Jan Mickelson, traveled to China for three months for specialized treatment during recovery from a major stroke.
I guess for the Radical Right, Chinese communism is somehow less objectionable than Cuban communism. Or more likely, the success of Cuba’s rejection of industrial agriculture is a threat to the status quo — which brings us back to the mega bucks shelled out by Big Oil and Big Ag to keep people believing their lies.
Enough said. Even nations one finds objectionable have something to teach. The same can be said of individuals.
On that note, I’ll ponder President Trump’s track record to see if there’s something — even one thing — he’s done that I agree with. Stay tuned.
(01:23) Re-wilding Iowa, with Mark Edwards;
(18:27) Sustainable farming lessons from Cuba, with Dr. Maureen McCue;
(34:27) Georgia’s election fiasco, with Kim Jackson;
(50:13) White privilege and urban farming, with Kathy Byrnes (Check out the video version of this segment on Facebook).
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