When I stop to take a breath and step back before grading the current state of agriculture, it’s clear things are far from ideal in Hawaii. Despite making huge strides in the mainland these past few years, agriculture is still struggling to tell its story. The industry is constantly under attack from numerous activist groups who often mischaracterize it in a dark light. Farmers or AgVocates persistently receive verbal assaults or even have their crops destroyed by vandals. Yet, many take the high road and often react with kindness.
I recently read this blog by Seth Godin which gave me an “aha” moment. This blog was titled “Natural Life” and explained that “while we know life is never ideal or perfect, there are conditions that should and can be controlled…Then there are times in which we shouldn’t control them.”
Let’s assume things will never be ideal; that we will never have that perfect light shining on agriculture. There will always be food fads, self-appointed authorities condemning us with very little understanding of farming and agronomics and let’s not forget those who will protest us even while our products sustain their very existence.
We should not give up because agriculture is too important! After all it sustains the other 98%.
Maybe…farmers, ranchers, agriculture professionals, agvocates, consumers, moms, and foodies alike should accept the natural light. Is that not similar to what farmers do daily? They accept the natural light; then control what they can, use the best seed, tools, and technology at our disposal. Why should our communications and story be any different?
I have faith farming and agriculture will flourish in this light. Farmers and ranchers farm for many reasons but mainly because it’s in their blood. It’s not just a job, it’s their life.
I know farming is not all postcard perfect pictures, although there are tons of postcard moments on farms, there is also the reality of farming.
All farmers and ranchers use crop protection methods, pesticides, and antibiotics when necessary but not without thought or understanding. Yes, sometimes it’s imperfect. Dirty jobs must get done, sick animals must be cared for, and pests must be dealt in order to produce the meat and crops that feed our families and communities.
You might work in agriculture and not consider yourself an advocate, but you have the ability to do so. Use tools such as social media, to help others understand better where their food comes from.
I’m not telling you what food you should eat, but am asking you to not choose certain foods based on fear or shame.
I urge you as a mom, farmer, consumer or journalist to reach out across your table and your plate and ask questions before judging or condemning those that feed and sustain us. I know that when you view them in their natural light, you will see that they are ideal!
Here are some sources of information on food and farming: