Sunday, March 20, 2011
I went to an aquaponics workshop in Buffalo last weekend. I thought I would learn how to do small-scale raising of fish (in small barrels), perhaps with hydroponic lettuce on top of the barrels, but the techniques discussed turned out to be more large-scale than that. The other people in the workshop were all farmers with large greenhouses, not city dwellers. So I left the workshop early and went to the Albright Knox Gallery instead.
Funny thing happened at the border.
Crossing into the U.S., the Customs fellow asked me the purpose of my trip. "I'm going to a workshop," I said. "On what?" he asked. I didn't want to use any word (such as aquaponics) that sounded anything like hydroponics, so I said "raising fish."
"What do you need a workshop on that for?" he barked. "You just throw some fish in water and they grow." He didn't say this in a friendly way at all.
Crossing into Canada coming home couldn't have been more different. A punky-looking Customs guy with spiked hair asked me the same question about the purpose of my trip to the States. "I went to a workshop and the Albright Knox," I said. "Sounds like a very cultural afternoon," he said.
I laughed and responded with, "well, it was a workshop on raising fish."
"That's agri-cultural," he said.