Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Misconceptions of Farming

Although I am not an expert in agriculture, I am an expert on kid-friendly TV. This has given me the opportunity to view many an episode where Elmo, Calliou, or the Imagination Movers have visited "farms." We even have a pretty cute "Farm Park" near us. Even though these said "farms" are overflowing with beautiful, exotic produce, are staffed by super sweet, although "hillbilly-ish" farmers, and house calm, pet-able animals, there is a bit of a difference between these places and our operation.

"Wouldn't it be so fun to have a few goats/chickens/rabbits/sheep/anything fuzzy and on an Easter commercial on your place, Emily? Wouldn't the girls just love them?"

Answer: Yes, the girls would love it. And, NO, their mom and dad would not. Joe doesn't even like to landscape my yard, and his job is to GROW crops. . . he would NEVER go for a Noah's Ark type of farm! It pretty much goes without saying how I would feel about something new and fuzzy in our midst. . . yikes! I'm still getting used to the cattle that are safely gated across the road from me!

"Shouldn't you start growing _________________ (fill in the blank of any sort of herb, vegetable, fruit of your choice, regardless of the necessary temperature needed for these lovely and tasty treats to survive)? Don't you already live on a farm?"

Although many of the "farms," strike that, a majority of the "farms" showcased in the media house flourishing vegetable gardens and sweet yellow chickens, this is not a farm that is, well, realistic as a livelihood. These would be considered more hobby farms. In fact, Joe got a "Hobby Farm" magazine in the mail the other day (he promptly threw it away, proclaiming he didn't have time for a hobby. . . I beg to differ, but that's another post!). There's a niche for these farms, but our world could not eat without producers such as my family. I'm not saying that having multiple species of animals on your farm does not make you a farmer, I'm just saying that production agriculture is more than chickens, strawberries, and herbs.

The farms in my girls' books and those on the shows they watch are farms of old: farms of the time when everyone ate their own chickens, after plucking them, grew their own vegetables, canned them for the winter, and took their horse and buggy into town to trade for flour for baking bread and cloth to make their three dresses they owned.

Why is this the case? Why aren't there "modern" farms in the media? Aren't we cute enough????

Even when considering adult media, why is there a picture of a "farm" in the cracker aisle at the grocery store that is merely pot after pot of herbs? Because the world will eventually live on chives and oregano, I guess.

Seriously, I get really frustrated with these misconceptions of farming. I believe that we all should try to eat a little more "locally," and that there should be those farmers who want to putter around with many different, lovely animals and huge gardens brimming with the ingredients for a delicious, homemade salsa. However, we must be realistic. We've "gotta eat," and in order to continue to enjoy your chicken that you did not have to pluck, tomatoes that you didn't have to can, and milk from a gallon jug, thank a farmer.

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