Friday, March 11, 2011

Our most precious resource is...

In which Truffula channels the Conscious Shopper...

The speaker closed his remarks to the elected officials before him, asking them to vote in favor of "our most precious resource,... [dramatic pause] our children."  Who could find fault with that?

Except that the matter at hand wasn't directly the welfare of children: it centered around a proposal to turn "vacant" land into sports fields.  Soccer is big in these parts, and so is the competition for playing fields.  Only, the land isn't exactly vacant -- it's been leased to an organic farmer for the past few decades.

Other speakers spoke about the land in question, about its renown among soil scientists, about the care it has received, and about the farmer's unique products.  They noted its irreplaceable location, in the midst of suburbia, isolated from cross-pollination by GMO crops.

TruffulaBoy#1 and I had heard the farmer describing his plight following a lecture two days before.  Even before the farmer finished, TB#1's gaze met mine.  With the simultaneous innocence and maturity of his almost 11 years, he solemnly nodded "yes" to my unspoken question of "shall we go".  And so we went, with TB#2 in tow.  To his credit, our tow-ee went willingly.  His volunteer vegetable farm experience, and his knowledge of our household's composting practices, have given him an appreciation of agriculture and of good soil.

The vote's outcome aside, we're richer for our activist moment.  It's given me -- and us -- much to think about: land use, pollinators, GMO crops, the value of agriculture, the years needed to nurture rich soil vs. the time frames of leases, and the remarkable way in which the farmer seems to be taking his situation in stride.  Hearing the Boyz recount their day's adventures to Mr. Truffula as we ate dinner, accurately and passionately describing the arguments they'd heard being made at the session... why, that was enough to make any mother's heart swell with pride.

So, what is our greatest resource?  Soil? Children Soccer?  Discuss amongst yourselves...!

p.s. to The Conscious Shopper:   I left the toys at home, and the only incident we had with one of my young activists was popping of chewing gum bubbles.  However, I can report that those springy bits on the hearing room seats are not silent when bottoms whose owners are starting to reach their attention span limits begin to shift from one position to the next.

5 comments:

Wendy said...

Oh, good grief! I hope the vote was to retain the land as growing space, rather than condemning it to uselessness.

I'm not minimizing how important our children are, but what percentage of the children in the town actually play soccer - first, and second, you can't eat soccer ... and third, the children would benefit far more from learning from the farmer how to grow food sustainably in a suburban setting than from kicking a ball into nets.

The Mom said...

It keeps happening. We have a big organic farmer who has been leasing land to grow for his CSA. They decided to make it so expensive that he wouldn't go back. I believe its going to be condos now. Pathetic.

Green Bean said...

Good for you for speaking up and for teaching your children the importance of activism. It is becoming more and more important that we fight for what is important.

All that aside, it breaks my heart that this is even a consideration. Where are our society's priorities?

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Love that you took your kids!

To weigh in on your question about our most precious resource, in the case you described, it seems clear that the precious soil should be preserved, and I'd say the same about ploughing over farms to build new neighborhoods. But in the case of truly vacant lots, if one group wanted to turn it into a garden and another wanted to build a playground, I'd have a tough time choosing sides. Urban farming is important, but so are outdoor play spaces for city kids.

SustainaMom said...

This is so sad to me, but I do love that your son already understands the importance of the issues and participating in the process/supporting the issues.

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