Sunday, May 22, 2011
And They Shall Return To The Old Ways
This is Amanda, who, to my knowledge, has never lived on a farm. This is her Corolla mare, Secotan. Secotan knows her roots. When one looks's into her eyes it is obvious that she knows that she has lived on the Outer Banks for nearly 400 years.
Amanda may be one of a new breed of kids coming along who are finding their roots in a surprising way. Amanda will be a student at the Governor's School for a session on agriculture. Take a close look. You may be looking a a future farmer of America.
Disgust with factory farm practices along with health and nutritional concerns are leading to new farm practices,new farms, and best of all new farmers. My son in law is a former Peace Corps volunteer with a masters degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech. He and my daughter have a home on a very few acres with a green house that they built, a small egg production program and a tremendous gardening operation. They market their products at a local farmer's market, through a co-op, and on the internet. They are working hard and their farm is on the road to prosperity.
One long time rider has a brother who just graduated from college with plans to become a first generation farmer. Another rider's brother in law is looking to do the same thing.
This is more than a fad. It is a trend, and perhaps one of the most encouraging trends of this century. I share Jefferson's view of the debilitating effects of urban life on the human spirit. The further one lives from the soil the more difficult it becomes to build a meaningful life and a strong family. One's hands may be best washed with soap and water but one's heart is best cleansed by sweat and dirt.
However, living the country life does not require ownership of thousands of acres. The new young farmers are demonstrating what can be achieved on a small piece of land. My daughter and her husband both have full time jobs aside from their produce business. Their spare time is spent together, working and producing together. The biggest surprise to me is how my wife is drawn to participate in their endeavor. Beth, a senior assistant Attorney General, takes great pleasure in helping with the washing of eggs.
Mindless adherence to tradition causes stagnation. Mindless worship of technology is even worse. However, respect for tradition and a yearning for innovation brings out the best of the creative human spirit. That is the hope that the new farmers bring to our nation.
These new farmers are also the best hope for the preservation of endangered heritage breeds of livestock. They are the kind of people that intrinsically understand the importance of the work being done by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. These new farmers are also perfect candidates to develop a new horsemanship that will speed the collapse of an established horse world that is based solely on greed and competition and nurtured in rank ignorance masquerading as truth. These new farmers can become vital parts of the effort to preserve the Corollas, both by supporting the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and by becoming part of the off site breeding program.
These new farmers are pioneers. They seek the future by looking to our past.
Turns out that space is not truly the last frontier after all.
(The other picture is from today's Daily Press and features a shot of my son in law Jake in front of his Browder's Fresh Pickin's booth)
Posted by Steve Edwards