Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ash's letter to the editor

A week ago the Salt Lake Tribune published a letter to the editor that was a bit of a headshaker:

First Published Apr 03 2013 08:51 am • Last Updated Apr 03 2013 08:51 am
I live in a nice neighborhood in Taylorsville with really nice neighbors. Behind my property are about three acres of vacant land. This property has been leased out to someone.
At first, they had some chickens and some goats. The neighbors and children liked watching them.
Now, they have added more animals, including cows. The smell has everyone in the subdivision upset. We called the city and were told that the occupants have "granddaddy" rights and there is nothing the city can do.
Thanks a lot, Taylorsville, and welcome to Tijuana, Mexico.
Mike Hughes

This guy is such an idiot in so many ways (most of which were pointed out by people who posted comments:  here is the link:  but at least he's racist as well (I suppose idiocy and racism many/most of the time goes hand in hand).  I don't think I've ever been to Taylorsville (the south/west side of the Salt Lake Valley is pretty much the other side of the earth for us), but it wasn't that long ago that the area there was ALL agricultural land, and zoned as such, and perhaps he should have looked into the possibilities of what could happen to that unusually-large lot before he threw down in the "nice neighborhood."

And ironically, his reference point of Tijuana not only has over a million people it's become quite the tech center as well!  I guess that because it's Mexico it's therefore full of lots of little brown people, whom everyone knows are all farm workers!   (Ironically, Tijuana gets a little more than half the rainfall that we have; it's hardly an agrarian capital!) 

But Ash, as not only an avid gardner herself but also now the director of Wasatch Community Gardens - which has 30 plots around the valley - took the guy to task in a bit different way and used the opportunity to remind people in these parts how important local farming is.  Here is her responding letter to the editor that ran in today's edition:

In "Welcome to Tijuana!" (Forum, April 3), Mike Hughes portrays the smell of neighborhood farm animals as negative and incongruent with American life. However, nothing affects public health in America more than food. In heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, diet is a primary cause.
The root of this hazardous diet is our industrial agriculture system. It has been a major contributor to climate change, enabled the obesity epidemic, poisoned countless volumes of land and water, generated dozens of toxic, food-borne illnesses, and mistreated animals.
However, we are a nation built on agrarianism, and much of our population regularly consumes meat products. So when did producing food begin to be seen as incompatible with urban life?

With 79 percent of our population now living in cities, it’s increasingly important for us to produce food locally. Urban gardens and livestock can help reduce the truly problematic smells of lawn mowers, pesticides and the diesel trucks that ship our food an average of 1,500 miles from farm to plate.

Backyard and community gardens are an inexpensive way to combat these major, widespread problems.

Ashley Patterson Director, Wasatch Community Gardens
Salt Lake City

As they say, You Go, Girl! 

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