A self-proclaimed part-time city girl, part-time country girl, Bri Belko works for her uncle’s calf ranch in California and blogs about all things city & country at From Heels to Boots. She enjoys a good steak, drinking Starbucks, shopping at Anthropologie & spending time with her husband & their puppy, Angus.
I grew up living in a city that was surrounded by dairy farms and a whole lot of cotton, corn & wheat fields. Although I saw agriculture in those fields and farms all around me I was truly a city girl at heart. I enjoyed playing volleyball, going shopping, going to the movies and laying out. I never worked on a farm or ranch, nor did I ever think that I would work in agriculture post-college. However, life doesn’t always go as we planned and that was certainly the case for me.
Toward the end of high school I decided that my city of 100,000+ people was too small and I wanted to move to the “big city.” So, after graduating I headed south to the Los Angeles area to attend college. There I made great friends, went to the beach almost every weekend, stayed up too late, shopped in downtown LA, got stuck in more traffic than I knew possible, and decided that I in fact had had enough of the big city and did not want to live there for the rest of my life. So I moved back home and transferred to a university about 45 miles north of my hometown.
Fast-forward a couple of years and I had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. My goal was to be an elementary teacher, but I decided that I needed a break from school for a bit. About the same time, my uncle who owns a calf ranch near my hometown was looking for someone to help with public relations and other office work. I figured, why not? It sounded like fun, it meant that I could work for a bit while I decided whether or not to return to school, and it meant that I would get to work with my mom, Grandpa, two uncles and cousins at the ranch.
I agreed to the job and I’ve been working at my family’s ranch for about a year and a half now and I love it! I do a variety of office work, but my favorite job is my job as a Public Relations-Social Media person for the ranch. I run our Facebook page, blog about my life as a part-time city girl, part-time country girl and am on Twitter as well. I love getting to tell my story about why I’m Agriculture Proud to people who might not have the opportunity to be as connected to their food as I get to be.
One conversation I had during my time in Los Angeles with a fellow classmate is one of my biggest motivators to tell my agriculture story. The specifics of the conversation are fuzzy, but I remember that he told me his milk came from the grocery store. You might be thinking, “Duh, that’s where I get my milk, too!” But this was different. This young man thought that the grocery store magically got milk. He did not know that milk came from a cow that lived on a dairy farm and was milked by a hardworking farmer. He didn’t know! And if you live in the city, I’m not saying that you don’t know where your milk comes from, but this young man had been so far removed from agriculture for his whole life that all he knew about the milk he drank, was that it came from the grocery store.
After that conversation, it clicked in my head. I was, and am, such a lucky girl to be able to come from a place where agriculture is all around me. I know farmers, and I can ask them about the food that they make. I can ask them about the peaches I eat, and the strawberries that I put on my pie. I can ask them what goes in my milk and about my beef. I can ask farmers these questions, personally. I’m blessed to be from a place that is called the “Ag Capitol of the World.” That’s why I’m Agriculture Proud. Through working at the calf ranch, I’ve been able to have some serious conversations about my food with the people who produce it, and I know for a fact that they are some of the most hard-working, kind-hearted, sincerest, trustworthy, respectable people whom I have ever met. What more could we want from those who produce our food? Happy National Agriculture Day!
You can follow Bri’s wanderings in the city & country at: