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?
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.