Friday, September 12, 2008

Words

>while browsing a particularly crunchy (meaning mainly shopped in by people who put the "dirt worshipping tree hugger" bumper sticker on their car) grocery store (that will remain nameless since they do have some redeeming qualities like very delicious pimento cheese), I was marveling at how pretty the organic produce was. The farmer (who took the wife) always likes to make the comment that most Americans wouldn't buy organic produce because it "isn't pretty enough." Well, this stuff was pretty. And small. And very neatly arranged. Anyway, as I got closer to the display, there were signs in front of each section. The first sign read: CONVENTIONAL HONEYDEWS. Hmmmm.... The next sign read: CONVENTIONAL CANTELOPES. More hmmmm.... And yet again, CONVENTIONAL ORANGES. I giggled. The little person arranging them looked at me and said, "Can I help you, mam?" Oh definetly not. But thanks! The farmer and I just walked off still giggling. So when I got home, I looked up the word 'conventional' in the dictionary. Of course I knew what they meant on the signs, and in fact we use that term to refer to our methods of agriculture as well. But words imply things, and can often be a slippery slope.... so here is the definition I found:
adj. depending on or conforming to formal or accepted standards or rules rather than nature; not natural, original, or spontaneous
Now I'm really laughing! I just don't know what words are safe anymore. I mean, yes, of course we adhere to "accepted standards and rules" - but so do certified organic growers. And they would absoluetly die if you called them conventional. And we fight constantly to educate the public that 'natural' just isn't the word to use when referring to things grown in the 21st century, organic or not. Nothing is in it's 'natural' state anymore. And that word is SO subjective and loaded... (don't get me started on the GMO debate!) And I never considered us to be 'not original'... Seriously? As farmers, we make up less than 1% of America's population, and other than the "oldest profession on earth", I'm pretty sure farming is the second oldest and therefore QUITE original.

I know what you are thinking- I'm reading too much into it, right? But reading too much into it is exactly the problem these days... Words mean whatever people want them to mean. They mean everything and nothing at all. So go ahead, call my peanuts CONVENTIONAL. But please don't call me unnatural!

2 comments:

Tobie said...

Hey I don't resemble that group of dirt crunching tree hugging bumper sticker loving freaks!! But I do shop there and i do love their cajun crab dip - it is to die for! and the hummus - yummus!(lemon esp) and personally, i ignore organic crapola but i am not down and dirty in it - i am just a stupid city dweller who hasn't a clue and what clue i have is probably too PC for you!! LOL whatever! Its my hard-earned money lost so who's business is it anyway if i like "purty" fruit? have you had those navel oranges from OZ? and those Kiwi from the Kiwiis??? nobody does it better in either case and they are NOT organic which means they are, yes FAKE FOOD. and I LIKE IT. But then again conventional n i am and always have been a rebel without a cause ( or at least a very good one) Just ask my mother

A proud wife of an American farmer said...

it's your responsibility to screw up yourself and your life as you see fit, right?