Where does your food come from? Who’s your farmer? For a lot of folks, their food comes from their garden, yard, or farm. We supplement what we grow by going to our family and neighbors, the grocery store, the farmers market, or other food outlets. Whether it’s meat, milk, eggs, or vegetables, we are blessed to live in a climate where we can produce so much food for ourselves. And there are a number of other farm products we can grow that maybe aren’t so edible but make a good income or provide us something else to share with the people we love.
Growing our own food is becoming a lost art. Folks that still know how to grow plants and animals, have much to share. It doesn’t so much matter how we choose to grow our food — conventionally, naturally, organically, by ourselves, or with our family. If we spent less time worrying ourselves about each other’s management practices and more time thinking about how we’re in this together, we would probably get a whole lot more accomplished for the farming community in general. It’s a well-known fact that farm land is being lost to housing developments, small family farms are going out of business, and the average age of U.S farmers is getting older. So farmers are getting older and farms are getting big or getting out. What is becoming important is that our society learns again how to support our local economy by connecting with each other, sharing our time and circulating our money within our communities. Anyone who farms or grows a garden knows that there is always something new to be learned and something new to try our hand at.
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Tamara McNaughton is Agricultural Program Manager for Appalachian Sustainable Development