There is this amazing thing happening all over the world lately, and the media has recently gotten wind of it, claiming it’s a “new trend”. In fact, it’s been building over the past few decades and it seems to be coming to a head. It’s this bizarre, unprecedented trend of 20-and-30-somethings to become involved with agriculture.
I didn’t even really know I was a part of this trend until recently. I’ve always known I wanted to farm somehow, but I never dreamed that I would be attempting to grow and preserve food on the scale that I do now. The best part of this recent rise in agriculture and environmental awareness is that it’s not just about the 20-and-30-somethings, though they certainly get the most press since it’s Oh-So-Hip to be a farmer right now.
- My husband, Jeremy, is a 30-something guy gaining interest in agriculture.
No, it seems like every age demographic is experiencing a rise in awareness, at least here in the states; it’s as if it’s happening to us as a culture rather than only as a specific age demographic. People all across the country (and in many cases the globe) are changing their ways, with a surge of interest and involvement, by growing their own food or actively promoting more sound agriculture practices. Whether it’s just to save a few dollars on the grocery bills, to keep the kids busy with a summer project, or to take on “the man” with an intense drive to be off the grid and self sustaining, it seems like so many people are simultaneously waking to the concepts of more local and sustainable agriculture, and the reduced ecological footprint.
Of course there are still those who have no interest in where their food comes from or the impacts they make on the world around them. They choose the easy way, rather than the best way, and I admit there are days I completely sympathise and I long for a break from trying to eat what’s “right” or “good” (Oh God, to indulge in an occasional slice of deep dish anchovy/pepperocini pizza from Jets!)
Still, there are others who do have an interest but don’t act simply because they either think it’s too time consuming or it’s too difficult. Whether or not these people are just looking for excuses is really more their deal than mine, but I like to think that the best thing for these on-the-fence people is to have others shove them off the fence.
By any means possible, I like to try to inspire, nudge, shove, push and drive others to grow their own food, or at least to have a say in what goes into their bodies. Sometimes all it takes is my ridiculous repeated facebook updates on homesteading to make them think maybe they can do it too. Sometimes it takes a little more coaxing, in the case of my mother (“You can do this! You will do this! OR ELSE.”) More than anything, I think inspires others to hear stories about how simple it is to get started.
By writing, blogging and documenting about just how easy it is to get started it’s possible that a few of these people may realize that they too can be directly involved not only in this fantastic upswing in ag/eco-awareness, but also in their own well-being and health. It’s time that we as the individuals and small communities take control of ourselves, our bodies, our world… to bring things just a little bit back towards balanced.
Anyway, the other day I was sitting in my living room and it occurred to me that I didn’t know where my husband was. He had been doing laundry in the sun-room/porch a moment before, but was suddenly no where to be found. I wandered through the house sort of lazily looking for him (our house really isn’t any larger than a cottage) and finally found myself looking out the front door to the yard where he stood, determinedly pinning clothes to the clothesline. I stared, open-mouthed for a few seconds and then (naturally, as a blogger) ran to grab my camera. My husband was hanging his clothes on the line.
- I caught Jeremy hanging his laundry on the line.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very environmentally conscious guy, but he had never gone this far before. It suddenly dawned on me. I have definitely “rubbed off” on him. In fact, I think I’ve “rubbed off” on, or nudged or poked or prodded (or demanded) a lot of people.
- I’m pretty sure I guilted my mother into growing vegetables this year, but she’s loving it now!
I’m definitely the kind of person to guilt people into things. Don’t have time? Too bad, make time. Don’t have the money? You don’t need it, here have some seedlings. Don’t have the space? Don’t kid yourself – you can grow food in a pop bottle on a windowsill if you have to. I can be pretty brutal, but I think that’s what it takes sometimes. Whether it’s my mother, my in-laws, my teenage students, my students’ parents, my readers, or even complete strangers: I’ve found myself preaching to them about the need to become more proactive. That’s a goal I try to pass on, too. Make people believe that they can do things on their own. No task is too great if you put your mind to it.
- My 17 yr old student, Ellen’s Garden, is in it’s second year after I helped her get it started.
So I guess I come to you with a challenge today. Try inspire growth in yourself and the people around you. Encourage yourself to actually try the thing you’re researching, instead of just reading up on it. Offer to help someone get started in something that you already do that they show interest in. Buddy up with someone, even. Sometimes it’s easier to try new things when you’ve got a friend by your side. So many of the blogs we post here (and across the internet) are about things that we’ve never done before, and there’s no reason you can’t do these things too!
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