Having just read the article regarding the plight of residents of New Cuyama (New Times, “Rooted beneath,” Sept. 22) I have to say that I have zero sympathy for carrot farmers. We lived in the little community for years and while we loved the town, the carrot people were a blot on it. Twice in the past they, through their reckless spraying of toxic pesticides by airplane, caused children at the local school to get sick and the school had to be closed. When we lived there our child was nearing school age, and so, knowing this history, I called the farm manager to inquire about their current practices. I expected someone who would be understanding and reassuring. After all, these are children were talking about. But no, he was immediately rude and abusive, and, thinking that I was calling from the school, threatened that he might just call the school district to lodge a complaint.
So we came to dread the regular sprayings from above, feeling that the concerns of residents were of no concern to the carrot people. Another oddity, we thought, was that they have both a conventional and an organic carrot business, each separated from the other by a narrow road. If you’re spraying from the air onto a crop on one side of the road, what’s the chance that the organic crop on the other side is being contaminated? High, I suspect. Finally, deciding that we didn’t want to play a game of Russian roulette with the health of our child, we moved. Good luck to the people of New Cuyama. I suspect you’ll have to fight for your rights
Oh, one other thing I should mention, a photo in the story shows a farm mass watering during the day. Yeah. That’s a good way to lose half of it to evaporation as any good gardener could tell you. Nighttime is best as there’s no need to worry about mold. The desert environment of New Cuyama is proof against it.
-- John Franks - Pismo Beach