Here’s a heart-warming fable I told my kids before bed a few nights ago:
There once was a farmer far, far away, in a magical land called Canada. Let’s call him Percy, like from Thomas the Tank Engine. Percy was a good farmer. None too fancy. He just liked to grow beans.
Nearby lived another farmer, we’ll call him Gordon. Gordon, much like the big blue express engine, thought he was very important because, not only was he faster than the other engines/farmers, he also had magic beans. You could pour Special Poison on top of these beans over and over, and they would never die. The bugs would die, and all the other plants around them would die, maybe even some animals would die, but the beanstalks from these magic beans would grow and grow until they reached the clouds.
Percy’s plants weren’t very tall, but he didn’t care. They put out lots of beans. And he was happy.
One day, the winds were blustery. The bees at Gordon’s farm were busy carrying sticky pollen from one magic bean plant to another. Some of the bees got blown over to Percy’s farm and they brought their magic pollen with them.
Soon, some of the plants in Percy’s fields were growing very tall. Percy scratched his head. He didn’t understand where these tall plants had come from. Since he liked his own plants, from seeds he had carefully saved, he started pulling out the big plants, one by one. It was hard work. Still, before he knew it, most of his field was filled with soaring beanstalks.
Gordon was watching. Always watching. He banged on Percy’s door one morning, but there was no answer. Percy was busy in his fields planting new seeds that would grow only short plants. When Gordon finally found Percy, he starting calling him names, claiming Percy had stolen Gordon’s big, beautiful bean plants. Percy was shocked. He hadn’t stolen anything. He didn’t even want Gordon’s dumb old plants. Or any of his Special Poison, either. Then, Gordon handed him a bill for 5 bazillion dollars.
That was the last straw. Percy searched for Sir Topham Hatt who was known far and wide as an autocratic but benevolent dictator. Gordon informed Percy that Sir Topham Hatt had been crushed in a “tragic boulder accident,” and the only one who could decide who was right was the giant at the top of the beanstalks.
So, they climbed up and up and up. The giant didn’t tell Percy his name, but he was wearing a shirt that said OTNASNOM, so that’s what Percy called him. He pleaded his case. Gordon winked. Finally, the giant handed down his decision.
“Percy, I can see that you’re a good and decent man,” he roared, “but I can’t let that stand in the way of progress. Everybody wants magic beans. Everybody. They’re magical, you see. You do believe in magic, don’t you, Percy? Now, hand over your retirement savings and be quick about it.”
And the giant lived happily ever after.
Sheesh, no wonder the Toddler didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 am.
Last week, U.S. farmers and consumer advocates filed suit in federal court to challenge the deregulation of genetically modified sugar beets by the USDA. These beets, designed to be resistant to Monsanto’s patented pesticide, Roundup, will surely cross-contaminate conventional crops and potentially destroy the livelihood of organic and conventional beet farmers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (and who knows where else). Just like “Roundup Ready” canola did for farmers in Saskatchewan.
It would be nice if the farmers could win an important lawsuit for a change.