You've probably heard the slogan "no farms, no food" before. It seems fairly obvious, but these days, most of us have lost our connection to the work that goes into providing what goes on our plates. And while farms are essential, they are only land and buildings without committed farmers who are willing to get up before the sun, in all kinds of weather, in order to steward the land and animals in their charge.
Whether you are a farm-to-table foodie, a farmer's market junkie, a CSA subscriber, or someone who simply benefits weekly from the huge variety of options that are available to you at your local supermarket, farmers make your food possible. October 12 is National Farmer's Day; a day to celebrate and recognize the importance of American farmers in supplying so many of the things we take for granted. From livestock to produce, from honey bees to crops like corn and soy that not only feed us but are also essential to the making of fuels, plastics, and other products, the hard-working Americans who raise and deliver these goods deserve our recognition.
Farming methods have changed drastically over the years, transforming what was once a manual labor-driven field to one in which automation and GPS technology have lightened many farmers' loads and increased their efficiency. And while there are many opinions about whether these changes should be considered advances, there is no denying our need for farms and the men and women who run them. Most farms in the United States are family-owned, passed down over years and years. Any endeavor that endures throughout multiple generations is rare and worthy of respect.
Farmers understand and value a connection to the land on which we live, and as they share the fruits of their labor, they allow us to experience something of that same connection. If you've never visited a farmer's market and talked to the people who grow and care for the food you eat, today is a great day to give it a try. Info about local farmer's markets is usually pretty easy to find online. Teach your kids about it, too, by subscribing to a CSA or visiting a local farm. This time of year, you can almost always find an area farm offering family-friendly activities like cider-making, pumpkin patches, petting zoos, and a corn maze. With a little bit of looking, you will find there are plenty of ways you can get involved and learn more about one of the oldest and most important professions out there.
Share your appreciation for farmers with others! Post your National Farmer's Day celebrations on social media and use the hashtag #NationalFarmersDay.