Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Everyone Should Be a Farmer
"To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you, through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and dust you will return."

Did I get your attention with this title? Okay, yes because you're still reading this.
And, don't hate me after reading this.
I have a confession to make. I help run a raw milk co op in the city. I have 18 laying, beautiful hens in my backyard in the city. I have a garden in the city. I make bread in the city. I enjoy canning in the city. I have made tinctures for people in the city.

I have customers that come once a week to purchase this healthy, natural food (in which a lot of work goes into) and buy from me directly. While I LOVE running our co op and I LOVE the people and relationships formed here, I have a problem.

I have had (it's rare, but it happens) customers who are upset because I don't have enough eggs for them or enough milk for them. I was at one point thinking about baking bread for customers who would buy it, but I was reminded the other day from a farmer friend,
 "We're only hindering those people." And you know something...

He's right.

As the above verse explains, men and women were given two curses since the beginning of time. Women were to have pains in childbirth (yep, we definitely have that!) and man's curse was to have to toil the ground for food. (Hmmm...)

So, if we're all being honest here, why is it that only CERTAIN men (and women) have to toil the earth for everybody else?!!! We praise those that BUY organic (there's that popular "o" word again), raw milk (shh! It's just pet food anyway, right?), freshly baked bread, etc.

Part of me wants to say that if a customer is angry because they don't have their eggs, produce, milk, butter, etc. go get your OWN! Go get a cow or a goat! Go get some chickens! Go grab some wheat berries at the health food store and grind them.

Oh, remember the story of The Little Red Hen? Those that didn't work, didn't eat, right?
 (Or is that the Bible?)

I feel as though we're hindering society. We're handicapping them. Yes, even the organic farmers. We're providing this nutritious food, but...


Or are we?

Is there enough information out there via the web, magazines, tv, etc. on the back-to-the-land movement and how to do it?  (yes)

Or are people just scared what their family, friends, or homeowner's association will think of them?


If only we could just TEACH people and give them the CONFIDENCE to keep a milk animal, chickens for eggs, a small garden plot for fresh produce (which isn't sprayed with chemicals...I've heard FOUR stories of friends or friends of friends that have been tested positive for cancer just in the past 2 heart aches, and I know it's not just food, so many variables here, I get that. I 'm no dummy).

Long ago (okay, not that long ago), it's what people did, even in the city. They didn't need confidence to branch out and be different just because they had a few chickens or a family dairy goat. There were older people in the community who maybe couldn't physically bend over any longer to supply their own food, but they sure worked hard when they were young and limber to do so. Then, as they got older, the younger would do the work to help supply their nourishment.

I was reading an article in "The Modern Farmer" magazine entitled "Inside the Milk Machine" by Mark Kurlansky. Sigh. Dairy farmers have a hard-working life-style. They are up at the crack of dawn (no wait, earlier!), milking cows, jugging bottles of fresh, tasty milk, THEN, oh THEN, comes the washing of all the equipment, tidying up the dairy, cleaning up the milking stanchions, feeding the baby calves their bottles, cleaning the bottles, mopping the floors in the dairy and placing that milk in coolers to keep them at just the right temperature until delivery day to your very dining room table in which you enjoy that milk (and I'm sure I'm forgetting LOTS of other steps/chores). It's like a little piece of heaven. It's so smooth, rich and creamy. If you've never tried unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk, you're just plain old missing out (seriously). My kids won't even drink grocery store milk anymore (or eat eggs from IHOP...ah hem). They say it's not "real". {grin}

As I read this article by Kurlansky, I was moved and angry at the same time. We do this to ourselves!
Oh, if people could just see the blessing of leaning into a warm, fuzzy cow (whom of coarse you're talking to in a soft, mommy-like voice the whole time...or is that just me? Anyway...clearing throat) and extracting nourishment from her body to feed yours and your family's.
If people could not be afraid to get a little dirty planting a vegetable garden, the sun on your back as you reach down to plant each tiny seed and watch it come to fruition as you partake of its nourishment, juice dripping down your mouth. Did you know that green beans can be juicy? I'll bet you didn't know that carrots are naturally juicy? {smile} The best! And sweet too! Not those dry, old carrots the grocery store has. But nothing (I mean, nothing) beats a vine-ripened tomato. Probably my biggest grocery store pet peeve...gassed tomatoes.
If people could learn to be content with an afternoon of chicken watching. {lol} They are so entertaining! They really do have personalities all their own.  Some sweet.
Some little stinkers. {heart} Reaching into a nesting box, fresh with hay to pull out from under a soft, feathery breast, a warm egg for breakfast. Not one months old from the store.
If people could smell the smell of freshly, baked bread sitting on a counter top. A loaf you're saving to break for dinner with family or friends. Fresh butter from your cow that you've mixed with honey (from your beekeeping neighbors) to spread on that warm bread.

Although farming is hard and we often ask ourselves if it's worth it, it's every bit of "worth it" when we partake of it's richest tastes and smells. Yes.

So, what about the above verse mentioning being a farmer? Well, you read and pray for yourself and ask the Lord for His will for your life. Do I think there should be MORE farmers?  Heck yes! I think if more people were doing something (start small if farming intimidates you), just SOMETHING, our main farmers wouldn't have to work SO hard to provide for the rest of us who aren't doing anything.

If you know of a local farmer and you want to learn from him/her, JUST ASK! They are passionate about what they do (let's face it, they're not in it for the money, ha!) and would love to help. I know that our family is constantly learning and failing, but getting back up and trying again over and over.
There IS joy in the discipline that the Lord gives us.

1 comment:

Rachel E. said...

Amen! I just have one word of caution...don't jump into it 100%. Take steps or you may be discouraged.