Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Farmers"

I wanted to share a good entry Jenna posted on her blog.

There's money to be made in corporate farming for sure. The proof is that our giant food corps are thriving and control many of the actions our government takes. Their CEOs and upper management are comfortably wealthy. Medium to large independent farmers often are able to make a decent living, depending upon a lot of factors, in spite of Big Ag. But then, it's to Big Ags benefit for them to survive since successful large farmers are their main customers. Very few small farmers actually make a decent living, and it's usually a struggle. Most small farms have to have off-farm or non-farm oriented income. I know some that run on-site repair shops, make art to sell to galleries, build furniture, teach at the local community college, have part time jobs in town. The homestead style farm definitely doesn't make a livable profit. A small family can live off their farm as long as they don't mind poverty, but homestead farming isn't profitable under today's government regulations. 

So why homestead or small farm? Each person who doggedly stays on their homestead/small farm regardless of the money problems knows that's there's more to it than $. As Jenna says in her blog, ....I'd like to publish it here for those of you who don't know how to navigate to Cold Antler Farm....

<<<Let your children grow up to become farmers. Let them know what it is like to be free from fluorescent lights and laser-pointer meetings. Let them challenge themselves to be forever resourceful and endlessly clever. Let them whistle and sing loud as they like without getting called into an office for "disturbing the workforce." Let them commute down a winding path with birdsong instead of a freeway's constant growl. Let them be bold. Let them be romantic. Let them grow up not having to ask another adult for permission to go to the dentist at 2PM on a Thursday. Let them get dirty. Let them kill animals. Let them cry at the beauty of fallow earth they just signed the deed for. Let them bring animals into this world, and realize they don’t care about placenta on their shirt because they no longer care about shirts. Let them wake up during a snowstorm and fight drifts at the barn door instead of traffic. Let them learn what real work is. Let them find happiness in the understanding that success and wealth are not the same thing. Let them skip the fancy wedding. Let them forget four years of unused college. Let them go. Let them go home. 

Farming never has been, and never will be, an easy life but for many it is an easy choice. For me it was the only choice. Perhaps that is what it takes? Being a farmer means wanting to do it more than anything else. It means giving up things other people take for granted as givens, like travel and the latest fashion, new cars and 401k plans. It means making choices your peers won’t understand, your family will disapprove of, and other farmers will scoff at. It means making a decision and owning it,really owning it the way few people get to own anything in their lives anymore. Let your children grow up to know this responsibility. Let them literally put food on the table, lift up their bootstraps, and learn how much effort a life worth living entails.>>>

Good food from good effort and the good earth. 


  1. I can tell Jenna (and you) knows what farming really means...and yes, there are too many kids, especially here on the island, whose parents want them to get a-degree-in-whatever-no-matter-what...and let their kids go to the mainland seeking that 'better life'...parents thinking they will be giving their kids a 'better life' struggle and go into huge debt to pay for their kids schooling, when the best life they could have is exactly as Jenna described. I found through experience that not all kids are ready for college right after high school...We paid for THREE kids to go to college and none were wasn't until years alter, when they themselves decided they wanted to go back, and paid for it themselves, that they finally got their degrees.