By Elizabeth Fleabane
On the surface, the following plants would seem to have little in common: eyeberry, white snakeroot, hairy vetch, bristly knotweed, heartleaf skullcap, ebony sleenwort, henbit deadnettle and biennial wormwood. Yet recently they have all joined together as one family in a movement for justice and equality. They, along with the vast majority of U.S. vegetation, feel bitter about their decreasing share of America’s soil, and the concentration of the nation’s rich black dirt in the hands of a tiny botanical elite.
“A few well-connected soil-igarchs have sunk their voracious roots into much of the country’s fertile land,” said Julie Thistle, an attorney representing some 875 billion vegetables in their class-action lawsuit against 14 swollen cantaloupes. “Unchecked, these melons take over the entire garden. They crowd out other vegetation. They suck up the oxygen, they soak up the moisture and sunlight that other plants need to grow and flourish.”
The melons, though a mere 1 percent of the plant population, own 40 percent of America’s good dirt. “Most trees and flowers are familiar with this ugly and alarming disparity in soil wealth,” said Thistle, “but they’re afraid to speak out. Anytime an angry oak or a wise lily dares to suggest that the system is rigged in favor of the super soil-rich, he or she is accused of being a socialist, a radical opposed to freedom and liberty.”
“What rot!” she continued. “Sensible and rational vegetation all insist upon freedom as a basic right. But if, in the name of liberty, a single crate of fat cantaloupes can hoard nearly half the nation’s arable land, leaving the green multitudes to quarrel and compete over the dirt that remains…well, then the tree of liberty could use some thoughtful and delicate pruning.”