Ole & Sven Go Organic
A tongue-in-cheek parable on the eve of federal organic standards.
By David Bruce
I heard tell about Ole and Sven up there just south of Winona, how they decided to grow a few acres of Vinton soybeans, organic and everything. Heard the Czechs up the river would pay alot for 'em but that they'd been heard tellin' dirty Norwegian jokes, so they didn't want to sell 'em to them anyway, 'cuz they were just gonna turn around and sell 'em to the Japanese. Ole had heard that some guys over in Wisconsin could get a guy a certificate, and then a guy could sell 'em right to those Japanese, better mortgage lifter than a pig.
Thing was now they had to get 'em down there. So they built a raft out of milk jugs, since Sven had read the materials list that those folks in Wisconsin had sent, and it said no treated wood, and the old row boat had been treated right and they'd gone fishin' in it once in a while, just for a treat themselves, too. It seems plastic was a restricted material, so they figured it would limit how much the boat leaked, hopefully restricting the water to one side and their beans to the other.
They got to the locks there by Trempeleau, and it turned out the rest of the farmers had asked the Federal government to oversee things. So the Feds made up some rules about getting through the locks and being organic but they wouldn't be allowed to respond to suggestions about how the rules might be better till after the rules were already set, that being the rule about making rules. Somehow Sven and Ole's milky craft made it through by slipping alongside a giant barge who had a certificate saying it did not throw garbage overboard anymore.
Thing was they got to the loading docks there in Wisconsin and the Japanese buyer said he couldn't buy the beans unless they had a certificate saying they were more organic than the rules the Feds had set, but the Feds wouldn't allow that as "no one can have better rules than our rules...." And the guys in Wisconsin said Ole and Sven couldn't get the certificate 'cuz they hadn't been inspected by the inspector the year before when they were thinkin' about raisin' the beans but instead had suspiciously waited until they were actually growing them.
Guess Sven and Ole went back home. I heard they fed those beans to their cattle and the milk tasted so much better and the meat was so full of goodness the neighbors all bought direct from the farm, and they never had to go down river again. Until a couple years later when they went to town for diesel and got arrested by the Feds. Seems that besides selling a controlled substance (milk from the cows), that ammonium nitrate fertilizer that was sittin' in the barn that they never used anymore since they were organic now might be combined with the fuel for the tractor to make them terrorists plotting to overthrow the government ...
But that's another story.
When he's not wasting his time hanging out with Ole and Sven, David Bruce and his wife, Sara, are CSA farmers. They also raise poultry and two kids (the little people kind).
Reprinted with permission from the Organic Broadcaster, PO Box 52, Viroqua WI 54665; firstname.lastname@example.org
©1997 Committee for Sustainable Farm Publishing
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