“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”
– Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food
Anyone recognize the voice?!
When I throw my hands up in despair over the latest GMO spliced with resistance to yet another biocide… Or hear ill-informed peeps tout dubious benefits of biotech… It’s enough to weep rivers of despair. But when I go to eat, I perk up and remind myself that I am not insignificant. No, I cannot automatically change all the misguided laws and foul decisions in the world with the sweep of my hand. I cannot reverse climate change by wishing for it. I cannot magically make all toxic chemicals vanish and extinct creatures extant. I cannot make billions of bees come back from the dead. And no, I cannot reverse the loss in biodiversity by feeling bad.
However, I can do little things. You too! Little things that you and I can each do daily and repeatedly. We can sign petitions for social and environmental justice. More importantly, we can choose how to spend each dollar in this consumeristic society we live in. We can choose what kinds of systems and companies get our support. And as we make the choices about what to feed our loved ones, we – by default – choose what kind of farms to support.
Voting with every bite on our forks. Because when we choose well, good things grow.