I have been away from posting for a little while because I have been involved in many meetings that have consumed my time. February and March are the "meeting season" for farmers if you are unfamiliar. Seed meetings, crop protection meetings, annual meetings, church meetings, family meetings, business meetings, and so on. But all this time in meetings has given me time to experience people in a new way.
Farm people seem to look at life/food slightly differently than our non-farm counterparts. I admit I have not yet got a good handle on how my non-farm counterparts think but I know it is differently. As a farmer, food is life. Food animates every action of every day.
Farm people know at the bottom of their soul that food can interrupt their day at any time. Just today my facebook "friends" had a lively stream going about doing chores in their formalware and heals. If the cattle get out while you are at church, guess what? If the machine breaks and chores are delayed, guess what? If someone gets sick or delayed, guess what? You may be taking care of food in your formalwear and heals. Life/food just interrupted your day.
Likewise, a farmer knows at the bottom of his soul that food puts money in his bank account and takes it out without warning or asking. It is not uncommon to see the equivilant of a year's worth of college tuition move in and out of my bank account from a change in the weather on a foriegn continent. If the weather is "good" and prices are favorable, guess what? If the weather is bad or prices are troubled, guess what. Life/food just interrupted your day.
The same can be said for disease outbreaks. A crop can be wiped out by a single disease. A herd distroyed by a single outbreak. These events are always lurking in the back of a farmer's mind, reminding him/her that life/food can inturrupt your day at anytime.
As a consequence, when I sit down at a meal, there is a small voice in the back of my head that gives thanks to a force far bigger than I am for my provision. It is this voice that I am unsure my non-farm counterparts hear.
I read the mommy and the foodie blogs. I watch the cooking channels. I don't hear the constant undercurrent of wonder that there is food to eat being expressed. People seem to assume that there will be food. Food in all manner of variety and abundance, abounding food choices, affordable food, food, food, food, everywhere. My counterparts seem to look at food and see arts and crafts (presentation), chemistry class (new recipes), sensual experiences (flavor and color), medicine (health food), entertainment (party food) and at some level nutrition. I don't get the sense that my counterparts are looking at food and seeing there life and financial welfare passing before their eyes.
I am not sure my writing skills have allowed me to capture all that I am saying in this post. I see a fundamental difference in how the two communities think about food. I am just not sure I can put my finger on it yet. I do know that as a consequence the two communities can come to some very different understandings of what, how, and why food should be produced. Can you help me put my finger on this better difference better? If you are a non-farmer how do you think about food? What role does it play in your life? I would love to hear from you.
I appreciate your thought.