My bio should to start here:
“Early Sunday morning, June 4, 2017, I was sicker than I had ever been before. Too sick to even bend over, as I vomited all over the toilet, myself, and the bathroom floor — and I didn’t even care.”
This was the aftermath of being engulfed in a cloud of Roundup from a giant agricultural sprayer while I was mowing my lawn the previous afternoon.
The resulting NYSDEC investigation ignored weather records showing wind speeds in excess of 20 mph, merely stating that the applicator “disputed the wind speed,” and characterized me as someone who "expressed views that was politically active against farming" in spite of my having rented that field to a farmer for the last 25 years.
Helena Chemical was only issued a warning for “application of pesticide to non-target area” and the report ended with an unequivocal “Case closed!”
This incident motivated me to write “You Know You Live near a Factory Farm When Your Kids Go Fishing with a Pool Skimmer” — a picture book with large print and cautionary captions. The “Family Farm Fun” book is the second in the Factory Farm series.
When I moved to a small studio in rural New York in 2007 I expected a quiet life of painting and drawing landscapes, but things didn’t turn out that way.
I grew to believe that art and ideas exist in the same place in the mind, so that art could be created that would unlock the mind’s ability to produce new and innovative thinking. This belief took the form of the Idea Enhancement Project.
At this same time I grew increasingly aware of the treatment that the rural community in the town was receiving. A large bedroom-community from the nearby university town had filled our green spaces with expensive contractor homes in cozy suburban cul-de-sacs and, with the university’s help, taken control of the town. All the town’s decisions flowed from the university, and the original rural residents had no meaningful participation at all. After many town meetings where no questions were allowed to be asked and radical changes were enacted almost monthly, I began my blog on elitist policy making: Rural Tompkins County — The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Credentials.
While all these things were happening I had joined a writer’s group and wrote two small books of limericks and short poems as a change of pace.
As for right now, if the Family Farm Fun book is effective in getting its message across, what should I do next?
I think I’ll go to my favorite pub and have a few pints of their IPA and a plateful of Speedie Wings [Buffalo chicken wings, char-broiled, and covered with a New York Speedie sauce.] Maybe there’s someone there who hasn’t heard my story.
My brother says, “Good luck with that!”