Monday, September 2, 2013

What Does a Farmer Look Like?

What is the first image that pops into your mind when you think of a farmer?

For starters it's probably a guy.  Perhaps there's some flannel involved (I love fannel), maybe even some dreadful over-alls (yikes!), dirty hands, dirty clothes....

What do I think of...snap back hats (that are ironically "fashionable" these days...makes me laugh), jeans, hands black from tieing tomatoes....and the smell....A mix of earth, diesel, and sweat.  It is my favorite smell on earth. 

At a farmers' market recently a customer came up and said, "Please tell me you have corn."
Me: I'm sorry I don't grow corn.
Customer: Oh no! I guess I'll have to buy it form that guy down there....Is that even a farm.  That guy doesn't look like a farmer.  Do you know?
Me: I have no idea if he is a farmer - and I smiled. 
Customer: I doubt it....look at that guy.

In my mind the image of a farmer will always be my Dad and the vast group of farmer friends that would drive up our gravel drive way and stand in a circle - talking about two subjects: the weather and the latest gossip.  And I will always think of the smell of earth, diesel, and sweat which was the Eau De Perfum of Dad's snapback hats. 
The magazine Modern Farmer just ran an article entitled: Future Farmers Of Amarica: Still Relevant?
          "Like barn dances and the Farmer’s Almanac, the FFA (Future Farmers of America) is an old-timey tradition that still exists in the age of lab-grown meat and robot milkers. With a uniform that dates back to 1933 – modeled here by Napoleon Dynamite – and an earnest, boosterish love of all things farming, the group seems part of a bygone era.
That’s why it may surprise you that the FFA has higher enrollment than ever before, well over half a million members and growing."

My thought is...thank God enrollment is up!  Thank God future farming is still relevant!

The image of "farmers" is changing...I think I'm a pretty good example...A 26 year old with callouses (from both farming and crossfit), and dirty fingernails, who is an ex-pharmaceutical sales rep.
  I believe in the future of farming (I know you do too...that's why you're reading this).  And by farming I mean a world where "farmers" are actually growing things to feed people.  A lot of farms have turned to other means of income to "keep the farm."  I find this appauling.  If we have a world where farmers can't just farm....we're in trouble.  Big trouble. 

So in on those farmers' who grow stuff (and those artisians who create delicious treats from locally sourced items) .  And when in doubt ask questions at the farmers' market or at the roadside stands you visit.     

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