Sunday, August 23, 2009
The following was provided by our oldest daughter, Erin:
If you were to have asked me back in high school where life would lead, what line of work myself and my family would be in I may have guessed farming on the 128th attempt. Farming....so unconventional and in so many ways it embodies who my parents are. Since I was a kid my parents have broke the mold when it comes to taking life by the horns (no pun intended:) and refusing to settle in any way, shape or form.
The last two days on the farm I spent walking around and really trying to capture what they've created through the lens of a camera. In the height of summer the trees hang heavy with apples and pears, cattle graze from the plush green grass and pigs and chickens seem to find solace in one another's company. It really is amazing, but it is a level of beauty and serenity that has come through an incredible amount of work, time and ongoing efforts to maintain the needs of the animals and the land.
What I feel people have just recently began to realize the importance of knowing where their food comes from. Going to the markets with my mom has really opened my eyes. Beautiful flowers, fruits and veggies line tables. Fresh jams, cheeses and meats are loaded into vans in the early morning hours to reach the market by 7 am. It really is an amazing service to the Richmond community, but what I wonder is how many that frequent their local markets realize how demanding, back breaking and intense the work is to get the product to the point of sale? I watch my dad spend tireless hours with his animals caring, tending and ensuring that their standards are high. There is so much that goes into what finally arrives at the market and ultimately on the plates of those within the community. It has totally altered my view on food, farming and truly appreciating what it's all about.
Your local community farmers work hard, very hard. The big dudes at Tyson, Purdue and wherever else are pumping these crazy hormones into animals that really have no quality of life. I watch Tristan chasing chickens, the cows leaning against the fruit trees to knock down a few pears and think how beautiful all of it is. The problem is that the big companies are now pressuring those up in high places (nudge, nudge..wink,wink) to put strain on the local farmers. They are proposing a tax on small farmers and taxing each and every animal. If that were to go through the many local farmers in Virginia will inevitably go under. Unfortunately, that includes my parents.
The hope is for those concerned to contact their local government officials and to speak up. My parents and other farmers I've come in contact with over the past two years have really opened my eyes to what is involved in small community farming along with the dark side of big corporations. I'm not trying to get all postal on this issue, but too often we settle for complacency and at some point that's going to bite us in the bum.
Although I'm so not anywhere near a farmer (although I try like all get out while on 8996 Nutbush) I so love the beauty that accompanies good old Faith Farm. Tristan and I walked aimlessly around the night before I left taking pictures and just talking. As I was hurrying to take a pic of a few pigs under the tree he seemed to notice my frustration and leaned over to me, grabbed my hand and said, "E, no worries." All I could do was smile : )