A few years ago if you were to stroll by the First Baptist Church in town a sunny Saturday afternoon, you might see two older white-haired gentlemen in dirt-stained baggy slacks, un-tucked shirts, doing simple landscape maintenance around the church grounds. One might easily take them for a couple of homeless men; possibly earning a nights meal in exchange for manual labor around the church.
In fact on this day, as the younger of the two elderly men was flinging fertilizer pellets from a coffee can over the lawn and shrub beds, a nicely dressed gentleman walking by the church stopped to watch. Then man then addressed the two older gardeners in a condescending manner, admonishing them: “You guys shouldn’t be putting that stuff on that lawn.”
Stopping their work, the man continued lecturing the two older groundskeepers, “You shouldn’t be putting harmful chemicals on the lawn; you should be using ‘Natural’ fertilizers instead.”
The two older landscape workers smiled and took off their worn work gloves; holding the coffee can to the face of their self-appointed Sidewalk Supervisor, one of them spoke: “This can contains Carbamide, a synthetic combination of ammonia and carbon dioxide, a Nitrogen fertilizer more commonly known as Urea. Mister, if there’s anything more ‘natural’ than Urea, please correct me!”
Sharing a smile between them the two old men in soiled clothes turned away from the man and went back to their work on the church landscaping. They were Dr. Melvin Westwood and Dr. Albert Roberts, both highly published research scientist and distinguished professors of Agriculture at Oregon State University.