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What do you do?

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August 11, 2011 by wcobserver

Jane decided that it wasn’t hot enough up here in Northwest Arkansas so she headed down to the tropical wonderland known as Texarkana for the weekend. This has left me with the joy of writing this week’s matters of the organic.

This week’s column stems from a very common question one might be asked when meeting someone new. You know, the kind of question that shows you are interested, but not overly diving into some great deep conversation. That question that comes after the standard “Where are you from?”

“What do you do?”

It’s a question all of us have answered, but one that rarely feels like it gets a full explanation. Jane and I usually answer with the phrase “We are second-shift farmers.” Second-shift farmers, people ask. Well yes, we have our jobs in town to pay the mortgage, and then we come home and start our second shift as farmers. See, the thing is, farmers, especially sustainable farmers, are never just farmers. Sustainable farmers are philosophers, artists, teachers, students, marketing geniuses, community organizers, and revolutionaries. We are determined to be teachers (and pupils) of communication, of the love of the land, of that which is out of the societal norm, radicalism, and activism. We are also working very hard at being students of everything that the natural world has to teach us. We believe in the deep-seeded, and often forgotten connection between humanity and nature. And we plan on striving to reinvigorate this connection into the American mainstream. We hold true that small scale, local, sustainable, and organic agriculture is the only way to farm. We believe in the value of family and community. And finally, we know that green is not the color of the almighty dollar, but the color of trees. It is not the color of envy, but rather the grass beneath our feet that the cows feast on.

It is the color of change.

The current state of the American food system is devastating to us and we intend to do our best to bring about change in this arena. So much of any culture revolves around food, and so, we see it as a noble and honest investment in our future. The contemporary trend in industrial agriculture leaves the small family farm fighting for its livelihood. This can be seen in most components of the current agro-industrial-military complex in which we live. It can even be seen in the way we disrespect our older generations and deem them valueless. We are looking to provide an alternative – a better way, for a better life.

We would like to think we are somewhat similar to Helen and Scott Nearing, although we would never categorize ourselves in such high esteem. They held true to something coined by the esteemed writer Wendell Berry: “Eating is an Agricultural Act.” Please come and join us in our quest to be responsible global citizens as we honor our community and the land that sustains us.

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