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Rob Rechtschaffen: Offers a better approach to Roundup debate

To the editor:

Roundup? Issues often boil down to what we want, how we get there, cost and who’s paying.

Can you actually sustain ball fields organically? Pesticides and herbicides are toxic, so how do you pay for the extra cost of organics so kids have decent, safe fields? Taxpayers willing to use herbicides have rights to use public spaces and decide how their taxes are spent. Despite my being a supporter and original donor to Grow Foods Northampton, one shouldn’t be deaf to other opinions.

Recently, I was sent a petition against Roundup. I’m sure many signers have no idea if ball fields can be sustained organically. I do know Crimson and Clover Farm and the Community Gardens might not exist if the town (read taxpayers) hadn’t purchased a piece of Allard Bean Farm specifically for ball fields. How should taxpayers wanting ball fields, not organic gardens, react when told crabgrass is in their future.

And I wonder how many against Roundup use polluting gas lawn mowers. Since the 1970s, when organic methods to manage a crop were not available, integrated pest management (IPM) has been used successfully to lower overall use of toxics with selective use of some. So is Roundup one of these?

I would love to be shown ball fields managed organically or, if not, by IPM, and it appears so would Mayor David Narkewicz.

Ballfields are not my front lawn. I am happy using no chemicals whether the green is grass or weeds. But ballfields are different. The turf has to be strong or the end result is mud, expense and injuries.

In England they’ve developed grass pastures organically which can tolerate cattle even in the winter. We need to be talking about ideas, not demonstrating, petition-signing and making demands without providing solutions. And our leaders need to be listening.

Rob Rechtschaffen

Northampton

Well said.

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