In Praise of (Organic) Farmers


It’s 5 a.m. and I’m sitting around waiting for daylight. I’m skipping the gym. Why? I’ve got a few plants to plant and I’m going to work in the garden before going to the office.

Lately I’ve been frustrated by things out of my control. The past five weeks in Nashville have either been rainy or the ground was wet from a Thursday or Friday rain. We even experienced an unusual mid-May cold snap just for fun. Those of us who work full time and only have our weekends to garden are staring at the end of May and wondering when in the world will we be able to harvest delicious home grown tomatoes, squash, peppers…you get the idea.

These past five weeks of frustration have also given me a new appreciation for our nation’s farmers, especially the few brave ones who run organic farms. Granted, they don’t have to hope for dry weekends, because they work their farms seven days a week. But I can’t imagine my livelihood depending on the weather.

Joel Salatin is one of those farmers. Have you heard of him? I first learned of him when reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan devotes a lot of ink to describing Joel’s Polyface Farm and his  methods. Joel believes that what’s happened to our modern-day food supply is criminal. I agree. In fact, I believe much of the cancers and other horrible illnesses Americans face today are in a large way due to our grotesque food supply. Do you know what cows are born to eat? Grass! What do most cows in the states eat? Corn, laced with antibiotics. When we eat the beef, we’re actually ingesting what the cow ate. That’s not good folks.

As I head outside for an hour of gardening, I’ll say a little prayer of thanks for those salt-of-the-earth organic farmers. They are truly American heroes.

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