Today I watched a live streaming of the Food Dialogues (#FoodD) hosted by the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). If you’re not sure what the Food Dialogues are, I’ll debrief you. Basically, USFRA started #FoodD to answer all of the provocative questions Americans have regarding our food supply. Some topics include:
- Animal Welfare & Handling
- GMO’s & Biotechnology
- Organic & Conventional
- Consumer Information
I say provocative, because these topics are ones in which Americans are debating over, instead of having a conversation about. The Food Dialogues were created so that people from both sides of the topics could come together and have a conversation, so that we as consumers, would have the opportunity to learn more about our food. I think it’s a great idea, and I always look forward to the Food Dialogues because I learn so much from them!
Now that you’ve got a general idea of what the Food Dialogues are, I wanted to share with you a quote that was said by one of the panelists today that really struck me:
A Mississippi farmer, Jerry Slocum, said in one of his closing comments, “If anyone is a steward of the land, I’m one of them.”
And then the part that got me the most was what followed after that. He went on to explain that he is taking care of the land for the generations that are following him, the generations that the land will be passed down to, just like it was taken care of by the generations before him for him.
98% of farms are family owned, and those families want to pass their farms down to their children, and their grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren. If farmers were purposely destroying the land and the earth that we live on, then what do they have to pass on to their families? Nothing. Farmers were green before “being green” was even cool. The earth is their livelihood.
I think that Jerry Slocum’s statement struck an emotion within me because I can relate to it in a way. Although I wasn’t born and raised on a farm, I am a part of a family whose living is made from being involved in agriculture. I never planned on working at the family ranch, but here I am! And I’ve watched as the ranch started out with just my Grandpa, and then my uncle joined him, followed by my other uncle, and my mom, and myself, and my husband, and my brothers…do you see? We’re more than people raising calves – we’re a family, who loves each other and loves this legacy and business that was started by my grandpa.
My main points in all of this, I guess are 1) Farmers really are the original stewards of the land. 2) I love my family! And I realize that has nothing to do with Earth Day, but the story of Slocum preserving the land that he loved for the generations following behind him had so much truth and emotion in it. And being a part of the family ranch now, I could feel the passion that he spoke with. I hope you can, too.
(Sorry I got slightly long-winded. My High School English teacher would tell me that I “funneled” my story – used too many unnecessary words for the point I was trying to make. Oh well.)
Happy Earth Day!