I posted my first blog post on Facebook, and my 7th grade teacher commented on my wall post and asked how I discovered farming, which I thought would have been a great topic for my first post on this blog, but will now have to settle as my second post. As a disclaimer before I get into this, many of the reasons I want to be a farmer at this point are probably idealistic, romantic notions I have of the lifestyle. As I am in the earliest of stages of this long journey that lieth ahead, my vision and goals are constantly evolving and being refined, and like I said in the previous post, I am trying REALLY hard not to get ahead of myself, and to take this process step by step in order to get all my ducks in a row, so-to-speak. Well, here it goes!
1. Become a Steward to the Earth
C’mon people, this is the only planet we have to live on, yet I feel like it has become humanity’s goal to usurp and exploit this world for its natural resources as quickly as possible. There is an awesome Indian proverb (Native American? American Indian? The overdoing of political-correctness is a topic for another time), “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” Money is a tool that was invented by man, a mere means to an end, yet our society has transformed it into the end-all, be-all. It’s kind of like placing a hammer on a pedestal, such that the ultimate achievement in life would be to attain said hammer. In order to reverse this egregious misstep in assessing what should be and is valued in life, I feel that we, as a society, need to get back to the basics. What is most essential in life? Food, water, and shelter. What do farmers do? They produce your food! Big agriculuture practices, however, are unsustainable methods of producing food, are harming the environment, and are doomed to fail. Modern conventional agriculture consists primarily of monocultures, or the growing of a single crop on large expanses of land. Drive through the country and what do you see? Miles and miles of corn, miles and miles of soy. Where in nature do monocultures exist? Absolutely nowhere. In nature, the name of the game is biodiversity, or the coexistence of many various species of organisms within the same ecosystem. There is evidence of the harm these practices are causing in the massive losses in the bee and butterfly populations. They are meant to thrive in diverse ecosystems, and we are starving them of this (more on bees in a later post). My goal is to practice agriculture alongside of nature, utilizing the tools that nature has developed over millions of years, and help heal the earth where we have caused so much harm.
2. Help People Be Healthier
A veil was drawn between the producer and the consumer with the onset of the convenience supermarket, and thus, people have begun to care less and less what it is they are putting into their bodies, as they have laid their trust completely into the hands of the producers. There is one glaring problem with this, however, and that is that the producers generally don’t care about the common good of the people, but rather how they can most profit from us. This, of course, is not true of everyone. I do believe that there is a direct correlation in America between the rise of chronic ailments, cancers, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart-disease, and psychological disorders, and the increase in processed food consumption. In my research, I have found that the healthiest, most sustainable diet is whole, seasonal foods in their most natural state, locally grown or raised and grown without the use of chemicals or medicines. I want to help provide people with the option of eating a diet like this, thereby improving their lives! People have lost connection with the earth, and I want to gain a better connection, as well as help people and educate them on the importance of doing likewise!
3. Work Outside
I’m pretty sure that I was designed to lead an active lifestyle, and I find it particularly draining to spend day after day sitting in front of a computer screen underneath fluorescent light bulbs. Farmers get to spend their days outside in the sun and the dirt, breathing in the fresh air and absorbing their natural surroundings! You may argue, “it’s such hard work, Ben!” and you are right, there is a lot of hard, physical labor involved with running a thriving farming operation, but it is fulfilling work, and work where you literally reap what you sow!
4. Become Self-Sufficient
This is key, albeit a little selfish. The more I can rely on my own efforts to provide the necessities for me and mine, the less dependent I become on the unsustainable institutions that are pulling the strings of our global society. I feel like it’s mans natural inclination to be able to provide for and protect his property and his family, and I want to be able to do this at the highest level!
5. Raise a Family
Can you think of a better environment to raise a family than on a farm? My children will be able to spend time outside, learning about nature and connecting with it in a real way. They will have room to play without having to worry about traffic or weirdoes. They will grow up breathing fresh air and absorbing vitamin D from the sunshine. They will be way better than your kids! 😛
6. Be My Own Boss
The best thing about running your own business is the independence that it provides, as well as opening up a world of opportunities in which I’m only confined to what I can imagine! I have so many ideas and so much energy and motivation in this endeavor, and I can’t wait to share that with you!
Those are the top six reasons why I want to farm in no particular order, and like I said before, this process is constantly evolving as will my reasons and vision. While this answers the “why,” I haven’t really touched on the “how” this decision to farm came to be, and to be perfectly honest, it just struck me one day! I have always been athletic, and with that interest has spawned the interest in nutrition, and that led me down a path to how food is produced, and that led me to the various documentaries like “Food, Inc.” and “Forks Over Knives,” and I learned how our current system is a destructive, inhumane, and unsustainable one. One day, about 3 months ago, it just dawned on me, this epiphany, that I want to be the one producing food! I can remember various instances in my life where I have flirted with the idea of farming, but now my body and soul are resonating with such an intense energy towards achieving this goal! On a side note, kinda funny, I have obtained a few pieces of art over the past year or so, and you know what? They’re all farm scenes. It’s destiny! Have a great day my peoples, and I hope you come back to see what else I have to say! Peace, love, and harmony!