Friday, August 24, 2012

Who/what is a farmer?

It was a simple question, "Can you describe for me, not necessarily in formal definition terms, who this "farmer" is that each of you has refered to in your presentation?" The answer was very revealing.
A farmer and his wife?

I had just listened to a panel of three food consumers talk about food and their thoughts and feelings related to food for the better part of an hour.

 I had heard the nutritionist talk about her frustrations in not being able to get unbiased research since research is only funded by people that care about the result.

 I had listened to the food blogger talk about how she only trusted her peers and a farmer she knew, for information. Apparently, making no demands on them for academic or practical expertise.

 I had listened to the chef speak passionately about her love of all things food and how she trusted the food she could source herself even helping in the fields. That food that was touched, as it grew, was more comfortable to her.

And from each one I understood a similar sentiment expressed, there is healthy food and there is unhealthy food. Healthy food seemed to come from this "farmer" that they loved to relate to and therefore trust.

The panelist had looked to this "farmer" as an expert on human nutrition, food preservatives, GMOs, crop protection, land resource management, genetics, and on and on. To some degree, it seemed like any question related to food that caused the panel discomfort was refered back to the "farmer" for an expert solution. The farmer would be trusted as long as the panelist knew him personally.

It seemed like an awful lot of weight of responsibility to be placing on the shoulders of one person.
It only seemed natural to ask who this person was and what he looked like. What a wonderful fellow.

The answer was striking. A farmer was described by the panelist, as best I could understand,  as the person that put a seed into the ground and worked really really hard. And an added bonus was if the farmer had a "story" to tell.

These two actions made a person a farmer and therefore a trusted expert on all questions about food.
(no offense to the panelist, who spoke honestly and sincerely as far as I could tell)

I was uncertain that I would be seen as a "farmer" since I hire employees and machines to put seeds in the ground and have a degree in Ag Economics. Further, I employ an army of contract speciallist, that the consumer will never know personally, to answer the myriad of questions that need expert answers in growing a crop.

What are your thoughts? How much responsibility do you place on the "farmer"?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Changing times/Changing Definitions

Sometimes talking about how people think leaves me with a headache. Trying to make the connection between how we think and the actions those thoughts energize can seem rather pointless. It is how it is, so why think about how it is?

Here is an article that seems to cut through a lot of trees in an attempt to see the forrest.

The article addresses post modernist thought and its affect on "tolerance".

Not Your Mother's Kind of Tolerance


I am just starting to wonder, "If I don't like postmodernist thought, do I like modernist thought? What came before modernism?"

Oh, dear! Here comes my headache again.

Thanks for pondering these things with me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Life, Liberty and Happiness

We hold these truths to be self evident.......that all men are endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (property)......

Do you get nervous when the personal means to life (health care choices) gets taken over by the govenment? Do you feel uneasy with the lose of liberty you experience when you are forced to buy insurance that pays for things that you think are immoral. Does the President scare you when he brags about taking over the property of the auto industry and wanting to do the same with everything else?

Here are some thoughts from a book you might like to ponder.

Communal Instincts

 "The Western World puts a far greater emphasis on freedom than the Eastern World. Our Western concept of liberty has its roots in two master ideas: one, the fact that man has a soul; and the other, that man has the right to own private property. Both these ideas are related one to the other. Man is free on the inside because he can call his soul his own; he is free on the outside because he can call property his own. Property is the economic guarantee of human freedom as the soul is its spiritual guarantee of liberty."
+Fulton J. Sheen, +JMJ+ -Daily Sheen-

World view matters!

Just some more thoughts for you.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Bridge: thoughts on society's debates

Downtown Des Moines Iowa

The bridge was unique. The bridge was beautiful. Lots of bridges are. Engineers seem to have a silent competition for who can design the most unique and beautiful bridge. This one ranks quite high on my list.

 All bridges serve the same purpose. Bridges help you overcome an obstacle that is blocking your progress. Sometimes the obstacle is only slowing you down. Sometimes the obstacle has you completely stopped.

I am not an engineer. I have no training in the technical art of engineering a bridge. My observation is that bridges are always about balancing opposing forces. There is always an element of stress/pulling and an element of compaction/compression in a successful bridge. The beautiful bridges use a minimum of material in this balance.

This bridge has a deck that is pulling down on the steel cables. The cables are pulling down on the arch, compressing it. The arch is pressing down on the riverbanks with the full wieght of the bridge. In the mean time the bowed deck is trying to swing into a straight line under the arch but is stopped because the concrete deck cannot be compressed enough to make it fit. The whole thing becomes a beautiful bridge that has balanced opposing forces.

All of this seems to be a metaphor for our current society. There seem to be several opposing forces making themselves known. These forces are all asking, "How do we get over this obstacle that is before us?" Currently, the only available answer seems to be for one force to overcome the other. I wonder if we, as a society, might be better advised to see if we can find a way to use these opposing forces to build a bridge across our obstacle. A bridge that combines our abilities to pull with our abilities to resist, and in so doing make a way forward that has great strength and beauty. A bridge that can speed the passage of those who come to this obstacle in the future.

I don't have that design yet. Do you?