Blog

The Value of Seeds or the Seeds of Value

"These are precious seeds and we count them one by one." Ordering Friend A to empty his handfull of seeds on the table, he asked us how many we wanted

I walked into the agriculture shop with two friends, one of whom was an acquaintance with the shopkeeper. "I would like cucumber seeds if you have any?" Friend B asked. "Of course ", replied the shopkeeper thrilled to see us enter his space.

He indicated the shelf from which to pull a bag. Friend A, previously accustomed to the shop, found the bag and pulled a handfull of cucumber seeds from it. "No!" screamed the shopkeeper and snatched the bag away. "These are precious seeds and we count them one by one." Ordering Friend A to empty his handfull of seeds on the table, he asked us how many we wanted.

Seriously, we were a bit taken aback. Not paying attention to our feelings, with his index finger he started counting one seed at a time.

In the midst of this, I noticed how artistically designed the plastic cucumber bag was. I also noticed from the "made in" tag that it was imported. I deduced from all of the above that it was certainly some kind of newly developed or genetically modified cucumber seed.

Calmly, I looked at the shopkeeper and asked , "Would you have the type of cucumber my grandmother used to eat?" Surprised by my simple question, seemingly even deceived by it, he raised his eyes and said, with an ironic tone , "At the time of your grandmother, the cucumbers used to grow only under the light of the sun." His expression was one of disdain as if the sun was simply not enough. "The growth was slow and the plant would carry only a few cucumbers,” he carried on.

Suddenly his look changed when he added," But you can grow many more cucumbers with these new seeds which were developed after the incredible invention of the plastic greenhouses. Do you understand?” He had the courage to admit that the manmade cucumber did not have the same taste as the natural one but that it had a much higher rate of productivity.

Nodding to his lecture, I simply added, "Please, I would like to eat the cucumber of my grandmother.”

He indicated the shelf from which to pull the bag. Friend A brought the bag but did not dare to get a handfull this time until the shopkeeper asked him to do so.

"How much do I owe you?" I asked.

"Take it for free," he said, "these seeds have no value."

With a pinch in my heart I thanked him and we left. In the car I couldn't help but wonder if we realized we lived in a society which believed the invention of the plastic greenhouse was more important than the invention of the sun.

by Shireen Maluf, www.nayyira.com