I Love Farmers

I had the good fortune to spend good chunks of the last few weeks at our area’s county 4H Fairs. It’s hard to not love these events, with their community friendly character and the characters you meet while mingling with the festival crowd.

Giving due to the real stars of the show, you will never meet a prouder group of children than the exhibitors and competitors at a County Fair.  This isn’t some artificial esteem building exercise that we often try to create as part of a child’s educational development.

This is the sense of accomplishment that comes from responsibility, consistency and hard work, all under the mentorship of parents in a “journeyman / apprentice” relationship that seems to be missing from many other childhood activities.

I’d really like to succumb to the many “Norman Rockwell” moments I encountered and give a shout out to the kids that participated in all year long in the events that culminated at their local fairgrounds.  I met good kids.  Well mannered kids.  Talented kids.  Ingenious kids.  There is a lot to like about that.

The other thing that was cemented this week was my own impression of the importance of our agricultural communities to our future.  Farmers on average are probably one of the most forward thinking and well informed groups in our populace.  In fact, if you want a good glimpse of the solutions for the problems that ail us, you might want to look to our rural communities.

Returning to the reason behind this blog, I was also struck at how the values on display exemplified many of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party.  Take the following as examples:

Ecological Wisdom – There is no more environmentally aware crowd than those engaged in agricultural.  It’s our most basic elements – water, salt, soil

and sun – that transform themselves into the sweat that is the lifeblood of the trade.  It might be news to city folk, but Mother Earth matters.

Community Based Economics – The high point of the 4H Fair for me is always the auction, in which the kids sell the livestock they have raised to the highest bidder.  It mimics the locally focused sense of economy that you find within our rural communities.  From roadside markets to co-ops to swap meets and auctions, farmers tend to keep their money close to home, creating a firm foundation that is necessary under any local marketplace.

Future Focus / Sustainability – This is the simplest connection.  Farmers are the most informed section of our population when it comes to sustainability.  They are always thinking of next years crop, even as they are raising this one’s.  Renewable energy solutions like windmills, solar panels, diesel fuel, energy crop and biomass have been part of their business plans and homestead forever.  And speaking of forever, there is nothing more sustainable than doing all this work on a 1938 John Deer Tractor.  Farmers don’t really participate in the concept of disposable society like many of the rest of us.  And John Deere is Green, too.  What a coincidence.

I would like to give credit to the title for this entry to a pretty cool website.  Though they are focused on California, they make good sense.  While you are waiting for the next post in this space, go check out their work:  http://www.ilovefarmers.org/aginfo.html