Thursday, June 6, 2013

Overalls vs. Diploma?

I was skimming a money/stocks sort of magazine the other day before it was sent out to the barn to be used as chick brooder bedding, and something caught my eye. There was an article about what jobs will be available in the near future, blah blah blah... but the only word that stood out to me in the entire thing was 'farmer.' Now why would a publication such as this be talking about farmers? I was intrigued. Then I got a bee in my bonnet. In talking about getting a fancy degree so you can sit at a desk job in front of a computer for the rest of your career, they lumped farmers next to burger flippers. They then proceeded to say how farmers and burger flippers didn't have any sort of education, and those jobs didn't require it.

Pshaw! Where's my soap box?

It's this very sort of mentality that has gotten us into the pickle that we're in! Our health as a nation has declined. Our food is nowhere near as nutritious as it used to be. We have this massive disconnect when it comes to how our food (if you can call it that) reaches our plates. Our farmers are aging, and the young folks who want to farm are discouraged from their rural dreams and sent to the city to make their living. The wisdom of tending the land is being lost. And we wonder why we're so sick.

Farmers are not some dumb hicks out there tossing feed out to the chickens every now and then, chewing on a piece of grass, and maybe considering mucking out the barn before someone reports them to the sheriff for the bad conditions that the animals are in.

Every farmer that I've met is a genius in a very special way. Each farmer has his or her niche that they specialize in. Whenever I meet someone who's in the business, I just have to pick their brain for tidbits of wisdom to help tackle whatever is going on. Farmers have countless hats to wear: midwife, botanist, biologist, mechanic, geneticist, veterinarian, secretary, CEO, manager, glorified gardener, food preserver, seed saver, construction worker, machinery technician, etc, etc, etc. You must be aware of what's around you at all times, be it while on autopilot during regular chores, while working with heavy equipment, or surveying your piece of land. Some even have the energy to branch out in other creative outlets (e.g. writing, music, art) that share their small rural world with everyone else. This is all just the tip of the iceberg. To be a farmer you've got to have the creativity, know-how, resourcefulness, energy, and passion to just make it through a basic day.

Being a farmer is a high calling - it's your job and responsibility to make sure that all the food you produce is nutritious and safe. God's first job for man was tending His creation, and He's blessed every farmer since then with a piece of His earth to be responsible for. Now, I can't attest to how well they did their job; different conversation for a different time. The food needs to be clean (although a little dirt never did hurt), every bite that you serve needs to be packed with as many nutrients as possible. The health of the consumer and the integrity of the environment you're in are both in your dirt-covered hands.

:deep inhale:
I'd like to see whoever wrote that article take care of a farm for a week. Just a week.

Edit: I haven't quoted the the article mentioned for two reasons
1. My point of writing this wasn't to completely dis on the magazine. It's to address the attitude that was oozing from it.
2. The article ended up as chicken bedding before I could find it again to correctly cite it...

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