Peter Tonge's article on farming (May 14) was like a breath of fresh air [``Beating the farm crunch with new tools, new methods, and a willingness to change'']. It would appear that many of the economic hardships of farming result, not from the high cost of living, but from the cost of living high. Conservation in the use of fuel and chemicals not only results in reduced overhead expenses but also can, in time, produce a better quality of soil. We must face a basic philosophical question: Do complex problems call for more complex solutions? No, this is not problem-solving! The real solutions must be in the often overlooked direction of great simplification. For example, seeking out more local and regional markets, producing foods of greater variety (such as saltwater fish, berry crops, herbs, etc.) and pooling local resources to form food co-ops are steps in the right direction. Disengagement from the restrictive tentacles of national and international politics should also be a priority. This means saying no to the international ``free'' trade market. Diversification and better regional marketing make this move unnecessary. Such alternatives should in no way be thought of as mere ``tribalism''; they in fact represent rural America's declaration of independence. R. Ford Farmer City, Ill.
Middlebury College President Olin Robison's criticism of Secretary of Education William J. Bennett (May 14) has nothing to do with the views of Bennett's two aides who were the victims of Sen. Lowell Weicker's histrionics [``Bennett and Watt'']. It is a part of a well-orchestrated campaign to hound Bennett out of office because he is trying to reduce the flow of federal subsidies to high-priced private colleges like Middlebury. Robison's view would have been slightly more worthy of respect had he confessed his own special interest in advancing them. John McClaughry Concord, Vt. Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''