Adam’s curse is made real this time each year here on what otherwise is a bucolic fruit farming Eden. No other time tests our commitment to organic standards more. In fact, our conventional neighbors are incredulous we actually practice what we preach when a chemical solution is so ubiquitously, inexpensively available.
And, no other two-week period tests our employee’s loyalty to the company more than these: two weeks of shoveling Johnson Grass.
I’ve often thought some sort of childhood behavioral modification school could be an excellent addition to our farm’s contribution to society. We could call it the “Johnson Grass Method.” Parenting books could be written and sold like hot cakes because everyone’s always up for a new book on parenting.
In fact, as an additional public service to Abundant Harvest subscribers, I hereby offer the Johnson Grass school of attitude adjustment to any of you parents who’d like your offspring to experience the time proven benefits of sweat – cleansing impurities of attitude and restoring long lasting appreciation for familial providence. Shouldn’t take more than one 100+ degree day for even the most belligerent cases. We’d even throw in some free blisters to take home and show their friends!
Parents would be encouraged to participate in this rural bonding experience with their child. You’ll be amazed what conversations open during a shared Johnson Grass Method experience… In all seriousness, there is a direct correlation between sweat and positive attitude, appreciation, and well-being, but being perfectly candid, shoveling Johnson Grass on a hot day is no fun. It has these white fleshy rhizomes that if you don’t carefully, completely remove, will grow back in a couple weeks.
You have to work the shovel all around and under the root mass without cutting any. Then you pry the roots all up to loosen them, pull the whole mess up, beat the dirt loose, toss the grass and roots into the middle of the row where they will dry-out and then refill the hole with clean dirt.
So, I’ve always maintained that hidden somewhere inside a problem is its own solution. For California organic farmers, the $15 (effectively $22 actual employer cost) minimum wage is ending local production of a lot of high labor organic crops; just an unemotional economic fact.
Simultaneously, we have 130,000 prisoners costing us $75,000 each with a high recidivism rate. Yeah, you know where Uncle Vern’s goin’. California organic farmers come through again!
I can hear the testimonials: “There I was, shoveling Johnson Grass, soaked with sweat when I had an epiphany… crime isn’t smart!”
Marketing opportunities: “The organic peaches in this box are helping rehabilitate thousands!”
While the above is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the present direction of our state is unsustainable on many levels. I read this week that CA beat out New Mexico and Kentucky for last place in “best places to earn a living.”
Common sense—while an endangered species—can still be brought back; we did it with the California Condor. And a great place to start would be for our leadership to spend a couple weeks shoveling Johnson Grass as a prerequisite to holding office, just sayin’.