the farming trend.

October 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

You always hear people say it: “I was into (fill in the blank) before blankity-blank was cool.”  Indy music, Twitter, local food–it all started somewhere and some people latched on sooner than others and now feel they have seniority in the matter.  That’s how I feel about farming.  I loved farming before Michael Pollan loved farming (maybe).  At least before he wrote his books.  I was in the garden before CSAs were invented.  But instead of feeling qualified, then, to speak on the subject, I now sense that I have been relegated to garden variety status (pardon the pun).  No longer heirloom or even organic, I stand as one among many, a single piece of produce among acres of mass-produced opinions.

I live life as a MINI Cooper-driving English teacher who dabbles at long-distance running.  I am a committed follower of Jesus, want to represent Him in His authentic beauty to a world that is quickly being overtaken by concrete, and daily struggle to put people before tasks.  Sometimes I go to bed at night with my heart pounding and wake up in the same state because I’m afraid I haven’t gotten it all done and won’t get it all done the next day.  I like pretty clothes, modern art, and whitewashed houses.  If you saw me at Starbucks–getting my usual, a bold coffee with an inch of steamed soy–you would never think that I would prefer to be getting dirt under my fingernails, snipping jalapenos from plants and discussing the Farm Bill over the rows.

I know so little about it all, really, when compared to those people out there who have been fighting for sustainable agriculture for 20+ years and have advanced degrees in all kinds of scientific disciplines.  I’d like to go to grad school to become one of them, but even that feels almost undoable, since I chose the liberal arts route in college.  Professional Writing–I thought I could do anything with it, have the skills to become an expert on anything.  Instead, I became a teacher, and I pour my energy each day into trying to excite young minds about diagramming indirect objects and analyzing Julius Caesar.

In a way, it’s because it’s a trend that I haven’t pursued farming further.  But last night I had a small epiphany as I talked to the guy I’m currently dating.  He has a book inside of him, but he hasn’t written it yet because he wants it to be unique and fully formed as something that is not already available on the shelves.  I told him that I had been thinking about that lately, too, and realizing that if I commit to a creative expression, it will be unique because it comes from me.  And I’m an original.  Also, I preached, I had recently realized that my desire for perfection kept me from doing anything at all, because what if it was flawed?

So I’ve decided to write.  Even if I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Even if it never comes to full fruition.  Even if someone else has already written it and gotten famous.  I need to write about farming.  I need to express the truth inside of me about local food, sustainable agriculture, and public health.  If I don’t, it will just spoil inside of me.


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