Case: The Neighbors

Journal of Mitchell Doyle, Mediator

Well, I knew it was going to be difficult, but not this difficult. That fight between the two kids should have tipped me off, though. I went over for a cuppa coffee yesteday morning with my old friend Jake, and found him still boiling about his ruined crop and his daughter's fight. He has some good arguments, too. But when I stopped by Jess's later that day, she also showed that she had some good arguments, and was she mad! (I took notes of my conversations with Jake and Jess, just to keep track of things.)

I did manage to talk both of them in to sitting down with me to try to work things out together. We're all good people, I reminded them; good neighbors who have helped each other out in the past and will again. So maybe we can settle this short of lawsuits or feuding, by arguing with, not at, each other.

Now it's up to me to make that meeting work.

First, some research. I checked out some information about GMO crops and organic farming on the web. Both sides definitely have a lot to say for themselves.

I also found there have been a lot of previous cases with the same dispute.

I also called my friend over at Minsento to see if they could help--after all, they're the ones that really started this problem, by marketing the GMO seed. They referred me to their "public relations" division. I guess I must not be a member of the public, because they didn't relate too hard. In fact, they stonewalled. They did "volunteer" to send me some of their materials, and with some armtwisting, I got them to commit to sending a rep to the meeting, too.

Finally, I did some research about what other farmers have done to settle this kind of dispute, and then drew up this list of some options.

What about the meeting itself? It's going to take some care to sort out all the reasons here, and to help people calm down and listen to them. I have to think about how to keep our discussion productive. I'll need to get discussion started at the beginning, and also to close it down at the end. I'll need to make sure everyone has a chance to have their say--an equal chance. I also want them to be able to question and challenge each other, although I don't want things to get out of hand. And I need to keep them all oriented to our overall goal, of settling this matter fairly so our community can keep prospering.

We'll only have about half an hour to talk. What kind of specific debate format should I plan to use? That's the question.


Mitch's Journal
Miller's Statement
Bransen's Statement
Minsento's brochure
Notes: Options
Notes: GMO farming
Notes: Organic farming
Notes: Previous cases

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Last updated 16 April 2003.
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