The Guardian] Standing between beds of golden beets and elephant garlic in the garden of Lincoln Hills, a small organic farm in Placer County, California, Tammi Riedl looks up and points to a stripe of white haze running across a cloudless blue sky.
“See that?” she asks, raising her eyebrows. “What do you think that is?”
I look up. The white stripe looks like a normal contrail of jet
engine exhaust to me. But to Tammi, a 54 year-old organic farmer, it’s a
“chemtrail”: a toxic cocktail of aluminum, strontium and barium sprayed
from planes in a plot to control the weather, the population and our
“See how it dissipates and becomes cloud cover?” she says. “That’s not normal.”
I nod, unsure how to respond to this unexpected declaration, and
Tammi resumes demonstrating how to cover crop rows with frost blankets.
For the month of January, in an attempt to escape seasonal and
post-election depression, I applied to work as a part-time farmhand at
Lincoln Hills in exchange for room and board after spotting the
arrangement advertised on the website HelpX.
To someone accustomed to New York City’s mouse-infested apartments,
the farm was cartoonishly idyllic: on 10 acres in the Sierra Nevada
foothills, sheep graze on blackberry bushes, a baby mule frolics, and
free-range chickens pluck worms from compost heaps. But for the
residents who subscribe to the chemtrails conspiracy theory, what looks
like a perfect bucolic scene feels shrouded in danger.
Tammi and her boyfriend, Rob Neuhauser, are among the estimated
5% of Americans who believe that various global powers, including the
US government, run clandestine and harmful chemical-spraying programs.
Versions of the chemtrails (or “covert geoengineering”) theory
abound, and Tammi’s goes roughly like this: to mitigate global warming,
mysterious airplanes spray chemicals into the atmosphere to form
sun-blocking artificial cloud cover. This is done in secret, because
these chemicals wreak havoc on environmental and human health, causing
“Alzheimer’s, all sorts of brain problems, cancer”, she says.
Despite her adherence to USDA organic guidelines, Tammi fears that
the chemical spraying means the produce she sells and donates to the
Placer Food Bank isn’t technically organic. “It makes me think, ‘Wow,
are we going to have to start growing everything indoors, under
tunnels?’” she says. “Because the air is not healthy for crops.” Read More