I am grateful for farmers.

#ProjectZen #Day4 #GratitudeProject

Day 4 of my gratitude project is my gratitude to farmers.

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This will not be a conversation about conventional versus organic farming, Monsanto versus non-GMO, corporate farming versus small family farms, large scale livestock farms and slaughter house practices, nor a plug for a vegan lifestyle (which for the record, I admire those who practice it!). I have strong opinions about those subjects, and those are blogs for another day.

This is simply an expression of appreciation for farmers. 

I got up this morning and poked around in my refrigerator looking for a quick bite to eat to calm my grumbling tummy. I pushed aside my orange juice from Florida, pulled out the half & half creamer (thank you dairy farmers!) to pour into my coffee (thank you coffee growers!), which was almost done perking. I grabbed a banana, more than likely from Central America. I made some toast (thank you grain farmers!) and smeared some locally sourced honey on it.

This simple process of making myself breakfast involved farmers from all over the world, and it’s something that I don’t think about as often as I should. Most people don’t. They shop at their favorite grocery store, and buy what they like to eat, without ever putting thought into where their food comes from. Many will never lay eyes on a farm, let alone work on one.

I grew up on a farm and have a small inkling of the work involved to produce food. My father mainly grew asparagus, strawberries, and cucumbers. He tried his hand at cherries too, but by the time I came into the picture (5th child) the farm was mainly those three crops. The work to maintain a farm is year round, there is always work to do. Sometimes it is back-breaking. Harvest times are hectic. Sometimes it is stressful, especially when all the planning and preparation in the world can get over-ruled by Mother Nature. There is never a guarantee that a crop will be a 100% success, it is dependent upon things outside the farmer’s control.

Thousands of years ago, in the Fertile Crescent (Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt) people learned how to grain farm and began to farm/herd live-stock. People in China began to cultivate rice. People in Central America began to grow squash and maize. These are but a few example of how nomadic hunter-gatherers became farmers and herders. This process, in turn, helped to create centralized communities, as homes and villages sprung up. Simplistically stated, people processed and stored their food, and consumed their food, where they grew it. Farming changed the course of history and mankind forever. 

I found a very interesting article about the transformation of farming in the United States on the USDA (Economic Research Service) web site that provides a historical perspective with corresponding analysis on how farming has changed in the United States in the 20th century. When you crunch the numbers, it’s mind-boggling to learn how few people actually “feed the world”.

So today, my hat is off to farmers everywhere, who work hard to keep our bellies full!

(All photos courtesy of Ware Farm located in Bear Lake, Michigan, owned and operated by my brother and his wife, Bernie and Sandee. You can also find Ware Farm on Facebook)

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