Two Old Ladies and Prop 37

by A Passenger

 

Overheard on a bus.

“Good morning, Alice.”
“Well, the very same to you, Sally.  Good morning.  Lovely day.”
“Yes, a bit nippy but beautiful.  I see you’ve been shopping.  What have you got there?”
“I’ve got some food to grow in my apartment.  I’ve decided to take on that nasty Monsanto myself.”
“Oh, prop 37.”
“Yes.  That’s it.”
“Poor prop 37.”
“Yes, poor prop 37.  Al that money from those big companies to stop it.”
“Yes, and electronic voting.”
“So unreal.”
“Yes.  Machines run by companies.   A joke on the country and democracy, aren’t they?”
“Quite worthless, yes.”
“But really, quite good that it didn’t win.”
“Now, that is quite a different take on things.  Tell me why you think it’s good prop 37 didn’t win”
“Because people must do more than depend on others to tell them what’s in their food.  They must own the food.”
“That’s so true.  And they don’t, do they?”
“No most.  I wonder how many people who voted for poor prop 37 have a garden.  Or even a pot of herbs.  If they are serious about their food, they must be serious about their food.”
“It is like a war, isn’t it?”
“I would say it is a war and that is without exaggeration.”
“Yes, I’ve been thinking about prop 37 and genetic engineering quite a bit.  It’s not just that brutish Monsanto, messing up all the food.  Coca Cola is supposed to be such an image of this country, but it paid a great deal to stop us from knowing what we are eating and yet sells their God-only-knows-what stuff to our grandchildren.  Advertising with bears.  With cuteness.  It’s quite revolting.”
“It’s clear these companies mean us no good.  Millions to stop us from knowing.  It’s out in the open now, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it certainly is.  Which is good, in it’s own way.”
“And that’s exactly my thinking.  Making dangerous food they won’t label and then lying and cheating to stop us from knowing.  Goodness, they even make money on the sicknesses they cause.  We have been on some unholy idiot cycle.  Yes, altogether, we’ve gotten quite a lesson in harm and lies, and one we have all needed to learn.  That’s part of why it’s good poor prop 37 lost.  “People in many states are going to demand to have things labeled now, and that’s good.”
“Yes, but it’s not enough.”
“Because it’s not about the food itself, you mean?”
“Yes.  It’s still leaving food to others.  That clearly won’t do anymore.  Those companies intend to own all food.”
“Ah, the patents on it all.”
“Yes, and they’re getting rid of farmers by hook and by crook.”
“I do see.  People must own food themselves.  I do see that.  Yet we are just demanding they tell us about it.”
“Yes.  We are demanding the truth from such fancy liars.  When Whole Foods can sell extra virgin olive oil that is not even olive oil, or buy “organic” food from China we have no way to check, these companies can clearly play games with labels.  So, the time has come to face the fact that we must take charge of the food ourselves.”
“You don’t mean to stop pushing for labeling, do you?”
“Oh, no, no.  Not at all.  That is pushing for the truth, and we must always demand the truth.  But meanwhile, we must be doing things ourselves, not waiting on the devil to give up his horn and tail, so to speak.  Goodness, they aren’t just lying in California, now they have dressed up in cowboy hats and all and are calling themselves the US Farmers and Ranchers Association.”
“I saw that.  It made me laugh out loud.  Farmers and ranchers broadcasting out of New York City!  At a make believe town hall meeting.”
“Yes, it’s quite funny, really.  And a bit ghoulish, too, how they harm our farmers and ranchers, then pretend they were them.  Wasn’t there some horror movie about something in that vein?  But then Monsanto is a horror in itself and is the main backer of this rancher and farmer charade.  And they have harmed food and are pretending what they have is food, so they are quite adept at “taking over” what is real and substituting what is not.”
“Goodness, how true.  That false farmer and rancher group is as fake and harmful as their food.”
“Yes.  After the defeat of prop 37, these companies believe their lies won.  So, they are onto more.  I just wonder what would be the worse thing these companies could have come out of the defeat of prop 37?”
“Millions of people seeing the truth.”
“Yes.  But more.  Millions of people actively turning their back on the unmitigated garbage the companies call food.”
“Oh, Alice, I see now.  Nothing would be more powerful than for all of us who are fed up with them, to plant gardens.”
“Yes.  Exactly.  Which is why I’m planting a “victory over Monsanto” garden in my kitchen.”
“Oh, that’s fabulous.  And millions of people are upset.  Perhaps there could be millions of “victory over Monsanto” gardens.”
“Wouldn’t that be grand?
“It is very much like Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory gardens, which were to support the war against the Nazis.  Only now the war we are in is over our food itself so having victory gardens is even much more important.  And not just a gesture, is it?”
“No, it must be a true taking back of food from this industrial food system that has gone quite mad.”
“With cruelty greed.”
“And deceit followed.  They even invent animal diseases as a means to kill millions of animals, and get rid of small farmers.”
“Do you mean Avian flu?”
“Yes.  Not real but a way to destroy chickens across Asia.”
“Foot and Mouth Disease is real ….”
“Yes, but not harmful to people, though they have begun to lie about that, now, too.  And even the animals get over it.  But if they kill them anyway.”
“I know.  In Korea they buried millions of animals alive.  They couldn’t get over that.  It is truly a war if they bring out military and do that to innocent animals, isn’t it?”
“Yes.  And they can declare false health emergencies at will.  And it’s not just innocent animals who are being harmed.  What about our grandchildren to dreadful brightly colored, heavily advertised trash that causes tumors and diabetes?  Yes, it is a true war.”
“Then what they are putting out is war propaganda, isn’t it?”
“I do believe so.  It is war propaganda in a new form – dressed up by cartoon characters on boxes, or by corporate types in cowboy hats and boots, or by compromised academics in research coats.”
“Oh dear, they are quite good at propaganda.  Yes.  Yes, I do see now.  This is all about real versus false.  And we have not gotten real enough yet, ourselves.”
“Precisely.  We must do more than ask or even legally force propagandists to tell us the truth.  We must not leave food in their hands.  We must actually rescue food, really, growing it at home.”  “Why, it’s like taking home an abused puppy.”
“That is a very apt way of putting it.  Though some of us might say it’s like taking home an abused kitten.”
“Yes, or kitten.  We must personally protect it”
“Yes.  Well, goodness, I thought I would grow a “victory over Monsanto” garden because it seemed the most an apt way of responding to poor prop 37.  But after what you just said, I do believe there is much, much more to be gained from such a garden.  Truly, we have not loved food enough, which is how we have allowed maniacs to tamper so viciously with it.  They have been like sick boys down in the basement, torturing frogs or making homemade bombs.”
“Why Alice, did you know George Bush did just that?  He blew up frogs?”
“Really?  How telling.  And his family is behind this insane genetic nonsense with our food.  Wouldn’t you just know it.”
“We have let food fall into their hands.  Because we haven’t really cared about food.”
“It is so intimately related to us but we’ve apparently forgotten.  We’ve treated it like dead objects.”
“We used to say prayers over it, thanking for the miracle of it.”
“Taking it home to grow ourselves would a fine way to get to know it again.  To have those miracles happening at home.”
“I wonder how we lost all this?”
“I don’t know since the most important thing a human being can know is how to grow their own food or how to find it in nature but how many know either.  What we’ve lost is almost as absurd as losing how to walk.”
“That is quite true.  But a “victory over Monsanto” garden in every home would change all that.  It would be a serious beginning to reversing that breach between us and food.  Those gardens would make poor prop 37 a gift to everyone.”
“Yes, they could, couldn’t they?  So, not just a well-deserved comeuppance to Monsanto and Coke and all those terribly harmful companies, but a blessing to us, to reintroduce ourselves to food, at home.”
“It’s bringing nature home, giving it a safe place with human beings, away from Monsanto and its ilk.  It gives us a chance to come to know it like we do the animals we live with and love.”
“But can it feed us, or is it just a kindness to food and a pleasure for ourselves?
“An Ohio State professor just did a study showing Cleveland could feed itself.”
“Cleveland?  Isn’t that stunning!”
“And there are so many things that can be grown in apartments.  Fill an apartment or condo building with everyone growing something and they would have a tall farm, right there.”
“Everyone could share.”
“That’s what naturally happens with food, versus Monsanto contracts where no one may.  And they’d also save money and become an actual community.  Something real would happen.”
“Oh, yes.  Dorm windows and apartment and condo balconies could be filled with food.”
“And each plant and every plant, no matter how small, would be a big “ha!” to Monsanto.”
“What a nice image.  And such a personal step away from the chemical and drug industry and using fossil fuels.  How satisfying.”
“I guess we don’t appreciate what we can do with our numbers. The Russian people are feeding most of the country on very small private plots of land, even with their terrible climate.  90% of the potatoes, 75% of the fruits and vegetables.  Even most of the dairy.”
“Yes.  Dairy, yes.”
“The cows!  The goats!  Oh, Alice,  we do have to save the animals, too.  They are altering their genes, just like with the seeds.”
“Yes, I am so sickened by the lies about normal fresh milk from normal cows eating normal grass out in the sun, being dangerous.  It is just intolerable.  I don’t know how they get away with it.  And all the while pasteurized milk from their diseased cattle is related to Crohn’s disease, and Amish children drinking fresh milk are the healthiest children in the country.”
“We must take back the food and the truth, too.  All of it.”
“So, let us begin with a “victory over Monsanto” garden, however small.  It is a beginning to relearning what has been lost to us.”
“Yes, a garden at home, wherever that is.
“And wouldn’t a “victory over Monsanto” garden be a wonderful gift to friends, even if just a  bowl of herbs, to celebrate the wonderful lessons of poor prop 37s?  We are seeing the truth and taking it home.”
“Yes, getting real.  Rescuing food.”
“And rescuing ourselves.”