Friday, October 17, 2014


People don’t give the same level of recognition to national farmer’s day as they do to Labor Day, Worker's Day or Veterans Day. Maybe they should. Oddly, farmers are more or less forgotten as the world urbanizes and suburbanizes. Example: a national American farm day passed by unnoticed last week.I feel a need to help rectify that with this posting.

Maybe the American Farmers’ Day would be more popular if we remembered that our beloved urban lap dogs are members of breeds that had rugged, rural backgrounds, like border collies and shepherd dogs.

Ghana, the republic in West Africa, is a nation with an official national farmer’s day. I can understand why. Ghana is much like other nations in West Africa. Many West Africans live in rural villages and work in food raising. Those that live in the great cities like Accra are likely to band together with others from their home village.

In the U.S. most of us are only a generation or two away from the days when most people lived on the farm. With my father’s family, the move from farm to city happened in the 1920s. In fact, it was the prospect of less expensive land that drew many of our forebears to this country from Asia, Africa and Europe.

My dad was urban, officially, but never outlived his farming instinct. It led him to garden in the back yard. When he could afford it, he and Orleen, his wife, bought a larger piece of property. Dad used much of the acre to till, plant and harvest. It was in his genes to do so.

Farmers develop relationships with their animals. Dairy farmers have favorites among the cattle. Dad learned to call cattle, using a vocal rendition of something that resembled a cow mooing. On family outings, if he drove through the country and saw a field with cattle in it, he’d park, get out of the car, walk to the fence and moo. The cattle would stop grazing and look in dad’s direction. If he continued, they’d walk over to his location. This was entertaining but embarrassing to my brother and me. Mom tolerated it.

[New "wrinkle," added 10/18/14 5:00 p.m. Western]
My cousin-in-law reports that she visited my aging Dad in a senior care center. On the wall was a painting with cows in it. He had to "moo" at the painting!(Enjoy more farmer and food raising episodes in my book, Growing Green Two Ways!)

Here’s the point. We depend on farmers for our food. The world will soon have 10 billion people. Can they all be fed? Perhaps, but not without farms and farmers. They need land, water, fertilizer and funding, seeds, machinery, and efficient methods of pest control. 10 billion people will depend on food producers. Farmers of the past, present and future: we salute you and celebrate your essential role in keeping the rest of us alive. And well fed, with healthy and affordable food.

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Thank you for reading. Come back every Saturday. There'll be something of interest to you.


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