Three generations of O’Donnells and Hennesseys have farmed here; neighbours and friends in years of bounty and of drought. This place here is our summer picnic spot, built from stones cleared from both properties. There’s no dividing wall.
It’s ten years now since Grace and I decided to go organic. They laughed – called us dreamers; but we worked hard and won certification. We believed in this.
It only took one bad storm to lose it all – one foul wind that blew Hennessey’s damned GM seeds into my crop.
I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, just to burn his poisonous acres to ashes, to teach him.
Frost’s farming neighbours might have had their differences, but it’s certain that their pine trees and apple orchards could co-exist perfectly well without the need for a wall between them. In today’s world of genetically modified crops, what wall can protect the paddocks of those who wish to farm using more natural methods? “Good fences make good neighbours”, claims one old farmer, while his neighbour laughs at his out-of-date ideas. I wonder what they’d make of today’s dilemma.
My story is fiction, of course, but here’s an article about a recent dispute between neighbouring farmers in Western Australia, screened on ABC television.