Humans are weird things. We get carried away in the weirdest way about the weirdest things. Canadian sunflower farms, for example.
The Canadian sunflower farm in question belongs to Marlene Bogle and her family. They open up their farm to the public for a few days every now and again. This year, things went bad.
It started mildly enough. The Bogles opened up their farm to photographers on July 20, charging $7.50 an adult. They had done the same thing three years ago, with a few hundred visitors providing a modest boost to their main business of farming sunflower, corn, millet, oats and barley, as well as selling various kinds of birdseed from their big red barn, which remains open for business.
I’ve never been to the Bogle’s sunflower farm, but I’m finding it easy to imagine the scene: Peaceful, tranquil, sunlight filtering through the trees, the gentle sound of children’s laughter echoing across fields of beautiful sunflowers.
“Everyone was laughing and having fun,” says Barry Bogle, of that first week. “Then all of Toronto showed up.”
The apocalypse arrived on Saturday, the 28th. A few pictures of people posing among the roughly 1.4 million sunflowers had gone viral on Instagram. Cars began rolling up the driveway at 5:45 a.m. “We knew then something was up,” says Barry, who called Hamilton police for help.
I can’t do justice to the carnage that followed, save by copying and pasting the Globe and Mail’s description from the link above (oh, ok… or here, if you can’t be arsed to scroll back up) which I’m not going to do.
The sunflower is a notoriously fragile crop. If the lower leaves are damaged, the plant becomes far less resistant to drought and disease. The Bogles won’t know the extent of the damage until they harvest the plants in late September or early October.
“I used to love these flowers,” says Marlene, waving a Tesla away from the driveway. “Now I can’t stand ’em.”
Our (their?) obsession with Instagram has broken a sunflower farm. It’s ruined a good, healthy, educational family day out simply because we are narcissists and are desperate for instant gratification, more LIKES than the next person and some sort of transient security through affirmation of our petty content.
Humans are weird things. Really weird.