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As we reach towards a new decade, less than two months away, it’s always interesting to take a look back and see where we’ve been, where we are, and maybe where we’re headed. It seems that only a few decades ago, backyard farming and gardening was common place. The government encouraged it, such as with Victory Gardens. Canning home grown produce is something great grandmothers knew all too well.
But for a moment between then and now, things were different. Food started to be grown in such wholesale quantities, becoming incredibly cheap, so backyard gardens slowed down. Small scale farmers became large scale farmers or sold their farm to developers. Grocery stores and warehouse-type stores sprang into existence. Fast food establishments slammed onto corners beside convenience stores full of plastic-coated snacks.
It was as if, for a moment, everything was so easy, there was no need for a garden. This wasn’t a permanent change though. People have started to come back around. As recalls and food-borne illness outbreaks occurred more and more, trust dropped lower and lower. America is returning to the small, local farmer and producer for their food. People want to visit their farmer, pet the animals, chat with the grower of their food.
You now see bumper stickers claiming “No farms, no food” and people calling out “Know your farmer!” You can see how the climate has changed just by taking a look at the hilarious t-shirts that are popping up all over the place. From people growing herbs in pots on their front porch and backyard chicken flocks gracing the neighborhood to 10 acre farms with vegetables and a variety of animals, farming is shrinking again.
More and more people are turning to local producers of healthy meat, eggs, fruit, and vegetables. It’s a lot more comforting knowing who is growing your food and how they are growing it. The news spews constant fear of large scale producers and the outbreaks of illness and while this doesn’t mean that any farmer with 500 acres are to blame, it’s a little more difficult to know which farmer grew your California strawberry when you’re sitting on the East coast.
Getting to know your farmer is a pretty simple thing. We are pretty much all just waiting to talk to you! Okay, so it’s not that simple. We are more than likely outside yelling at a cow to stop standing on our boot so we can continue feeding them or breaking a piece of machinery at an integral moment. But we don’t mind some company to distract the cow or give us a hand fixing our machines. Come the cold, dark winter months, you’re more likely to find us wrapped up with some cocoa or coffee after chasing the teenage chickens to the coop after dark (teenagers of all species seem to like to hang out past curfew!). So, come find us! After you’ve attempted to pet every last animal and had a sheep sneak up on you only to run away once you’ve noticed, we’ll be delighted to settle in with a warm beverage and talk about why we love the land and its animals and plants so much.
And you know how much I love Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” poem, so I have to leave you with these two pieces as well.