It is so easy to get caught up in to-do lists or the things that have an immediate payback today, that we can lose track of the future. It is really easy in farming, whether you farm or work in support of farmers like myself, to get caught up in the here and now of life. I am guilty of this as well.
A few weeks ago a good friend asked me to come and be a part of the Farm Day at one of the elementary schools in a town outside of Indianapolis. This is the second year I have helped with this event, so to say I was overly excited about it would be an understatement. After all, talking with six classes of kindergarten through fifth graders each hour for six hours about the same thing can suck the motivation out of a person. But because my friend asked me and he is the type of guy that would do anything for anybody, I ambitiously agreed to be a part of it.
The day came, so me and the rest of the volunteers walked into the school to grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut, ok two doughnuts, before getting ready for the morning rush. As soon as we walked in the school we were greeted with smiling faces, thank you’s and teachers sharing with us their appreciation for us taking our time to be with them. We all felt like rock stars. What a welcome these kids gave a bunch of people they didn’t even know. This was unexpected. Although this overwhelming appreciation is not why I did it, it was great to know that we made an impact on a group of kids who know very little about how their food is grown. All throughout the day, the excitement and eagerness to learn more about farming and where their food comes from was fun to be a part of.
It is easy to have my attitude and think, do I have time for this? I have other things that I should be doing instead; or my favorite, I am just not good at talking in front of a group of people. Trust me, I have thought and even said all of these things just like you maybe have. But this interaction with those who consume what we grow is a must in today’s world. Why is the public so concerned with what they are eating and how it is grown? Because the can be! God has blessed us to live in the United States where let’s face it, we don’t have to work too hard to find food. You just go to the grocery store. If our society had to work harder to produce their food or if food were scarcer, there would be less concern for the details behind how it was grown. No one wants to go back to this way of life, and thanks to the innovation and efforts of the American farmer and those who support them, we have this abundance. But it is our job as producers to share with the public the what, why and how we do what we do. These questions will not be going away anytime soon. There are many whose voices of opposition are much louder than ours, those who get the attention and the spotlight. Thank you to you who advocate for farmers and the food they produce. As a whole, you are by nature not that way. You did not get into farming because you wanted to be a spokesman for your way of life. For many, you may not ever be in the spotlight, but to show up at an elementary school or talk to your neighbor about what you do, this should be just part of life. Don’t be afraid to share your story.
This time and effort spent doesn’t have an immediate pay back but does impact the future. So next year when I am asked to come back and be part of Farm Day, I will do so a little more gladly. Because I have a story to tell too.