Wednesday, June 28, 2006

the future of food: take two

so exciting! so diverse!
you just never know where Your Favorite Tif's day will lead.
this morning i was on the farm at Raphael Garden, mucking Bella's stall with Max.
this afternoon, i was sitting in a senate hearing committee room in the state capitol.
the bill on the surface: to let the state have a uniform regulation for seed policy, "regarding the registration, labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, notification of use, and actual use of seeds."
the bill underneath (and not very far underneath): to make sure that no county passes laws to say that GMO's are illegal. several counties, such as santa cruz and mendocino, had already done this. there were several polished and car-salesman-ish agri-business representatives and farmers who gave smiley speeches about "what i should be allowed to do with my private property," and even claims of how GM crops are beneficial to surrounding wildlife. a crowd of folks~~many of whom looked sun-worn and fresh-from-the-field (as were my crew ~ we did shower before we went!), scientists, mothers, students, restaurant-owners, organic gardeners and farmers, all came out in opposition of the proposal. as many as were allowed gave impassioned speeches, including Jeff (a bio-engineering PHD-turned-biodynamic farmer, and Harald ~ whose heartfelt, gentle and non-judmental address received an ovation (which was quickly hushed by crowd-control). they even sited the fact that organically grown products are the fastest growing market in the state at this time.
the committee seemed to have their minds made up before we got there with our sunburned speeches. they voted unanimously to pass the proposal, the chairwoman giving an almost-apologetic excuse-laden uneducated and faltering reproval to those of us who didn't care to step into the 21st century with its enlightened, technologically-advanced agricultural "industry." "we're all eating it already, right? it's what's on the grocery shelves. none of us has died from it yet!" hmmm. .
as we were leaving i realized that was the most fired-up hot-under-the-collar i'd been in a while. california oftentimes fits its stereotype of being liberal free-thinking and progressive. in that capitol building it just seemed like another cog in the huge conventional beaurocratic Big Money machine that supports that guy in the oval office. i remembered why i had been so discouraged after helping with the Kucinich campaign. :(
and yet, there was Harald ~ smiling and soothing ~ positive as ever, encouraged that there was even a glimmer of hope, and that someone for a moment might have listened, been educated, or interested to learn more. i think our future holds more Haralds than sour-puss tifs. . . miles from the farm, i learned much from him that afternoon.

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