Have you thanked a farmer today?

Have you thanked a farmer today?

Since starting with FRB a year ago, I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting farmers from around the globe.  Last week I wrote about my time spent in Filer, ID where I helped transplant lettuce and learned about growing wheat seed. I visited a small greenhouse operation that used hot spring water to heat the house in the cold Idaho winter. They grew micro-greens in one house and had citrus and even bananas in the other.
This past week I traveled in Central California. I spoke with almond and walnut growers, rice and alfalfa farmers, an olive grower who presses and bottles their own unique blend of oil, and farmers who lost track of all the different crops they grew. Marv and I wandered a vineyard in Winters, CA (on a sunny day in March), watched sheep graze on the rolling hills and listened to the stress and frustration of some farmers who are being told how to farm by Hollywood.

Through my conversations with farmers I have come to understand many things: two this week in particular, really stood out for me. The first is that farmers, no matter whether they choose to farm conventionally, organically or a bit of both, all have a deep care and passion for the work they do. If farming was simply a way to earn a living, there are definitely easier and less risky options. Successful farmers are savvy, risk-taking businessmen who walk around with a tremendous amount of faith tucked quietly under their belts. This year spring has come early…the peaches and almonds are in bloom, there has not been sufficient rain and a threat of cold weather looms for the next three weeks. A frost during blossom can mean devastation….but not one of us has been able to change the weather. And yet….and yet….each farmer I met with this week seemed unfazed by the conditions. They had been there before, will probably face the same thing again….it is just part of farming.

Which leads me to my second thought.  We do not often have the opportunity to thank those who are in service to us in one way or another. If we happen to see a uniformed soldier in an airport we might approach and express our thanks, or we tip our servers in restaurants or the hairdresser, etc. I would contend, however, that most people have rarely ever thanked a farmer for their social service to society. Farmers don’t ask to be thanked, they don’t wear uniforms and few of us even know one. For as much as a farmer loves their job, I am sure there are days when the sacrifice just doesn’t seem worth it. This past week I tried hard to remember to thank the farmers I met with for doing what they do best; for growing the food that eventually makes it to my table.

This week as you sit down to eat, thank God for creating the right conditions to grow, be thankful for the farmers and their families that have enough faith and courage to stay the course growing season after growing season, and if you know one, call him or her up and thank them. It will make their day!

Submitted by Angela Boss, Associate Director of Program Development

03/12/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment