Residents Protest Organic Farm’s Mishandling of Pests

In September 2011, the situation in Jacumba, California got so out of hand that residents planned to protest the neighboring organic farm. Why? Eye gnats. Since Bornt & Sons Organic Farm can’t use chemical insecticides to control gnats, humans and animals in the small town of Jacumba are continually plagued with them flying around their eyes. East County Magazine reported on the issue…

The gnats serve as a vector for diseases including pink eye and summer mastitis, causing swelling and burning of the protective membrane lining the eyelids and discharge from the eyes. … Chelsea Russell, a teacher at Jacumba School, says for the past seven years, her students have suffered. …’I ask myself, do I teach in a third world country?'”

“Eye gnats are very common in warm, dry areas. They grow in light, well drained sandy soils that are freshly plowed and contain abundant organic matter. Conditions at Bornt’s farms are ideal and because the farm is organic, Bornt is limited to the types of pesticides he can use.”

As a follow up to this story, Bornt & Sons Organic Farm planned to cease operations as of June 2012. Because they have removed their non-chemical eye gnat controls in preparation to close, the eye gnat swarms have been growing in Jacumba this summer.

Title: Jacumba residents call for shut-down of organic farm over eye gnat infestation; plan protest march on Sept. 17.
Publication: East County Magazine. September 11, 2011.

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