Grasshoppers in Candyland

When a grasshopper shows up for dinner, the typical North American farmer stands ready with a tank of insecticide. One Degree farmer Arnold Schmidt has discovered a much better way: Serve the dessert course first.

It turns out that grasshoppers enjoy feasting on plants that have been weakened by repeated applications of herbicides and other compounds. But a nutrient-rich crop is too sweet for most uninvited bugs.

“When you have nutrients, insects are no problem, they’re a thing of the past,” Arnold explains. “The insects have no pancreas, and when you have a plant that’s high in sugar content that means you’ve got the phosphorous and the calcium there to make that sugar. When you have a high sugar content in a plant, when the insect takes a bite of that he finds it’s way too strong for him. He cannot digest the high sugar content. He either moves on or in some cases he actually dies.”

It might be called killing them with kindness. Or at least encouraging the hopping interlopers to move along to the chemically cultivated buffet down the street.

The technique is emblematic of the types of discoveries our veganic farmers make all the time. By avoiding the use of chemicals or animal by-products, these farmers become essentially soil scientists and innovators, substituting intelligence for the methods encouraged and often mandated by large chemical companies.

Beyond their aversion to dessert carts, grasshoppers played a key role in Arnold’s decision to become an organic farmer. You’ll see him explain the whole story in the opening moments of our new video profile, just released by the One Degree media team.

View a short preview below, and then watch the full feature at our website. You’ll see why we trust Arnold to supply high-quality veganic white wheat for our breads, flour and cereals — and why he has been called the Sage of Saskatchewan!