One of my favorite things to do is chat with other food producers and like minded people. As a passionate person who believes strongly that a local food system can heal a community, I am finding a shift happening in the way people want to eat. They are looking for food that nourishes. They want to talk to the farmer and ask questions about their methods, how to cook or perhaps even recipes. They want to develop a relationship. One that fosters a trust that comes from being able to speak with the people that raise your food.
Hubby and I recently attended a Q and A session after a documentary that showed the many ways in which animals are raised. From confined situations to roaming pastures and woodlands. While we have never spoken in front of an audience( always to the person who showed the slightest interest and maybe even some who didn’t want to here what we had to say), we saw it as a chance to speak out for , of course ourselves , but also all the local producers of good food. It was an opportunity to start spreading the word that options for a local food system in our region is beginning.
Of course we completely believe that what you put in your body should be produced with the utmost care to the welfare of the animals/plants/bees, the building of a healthy environment and the nutritional value of the product that we put into our bodies. This is a symbiotic process that we need to work towards. The building of a food system that incorporates all of the above and creates a healthy community.
This does not come without knowledge. It is a job that requires the know how , ability , passion and belief in a better food system.
It is from my husband that I have learned most of my animal husbandry. It amazes me how much he knows and what he “Keeps under the Hat”. He has been working the farm , the same land for over 40 years , alongside his mother and father until farming was passed on and his son now farms alongside him. His nogan is filled with years of information that has been pieced together to make him who he is now. What he has learned has become second nature . Continually working with the environment and watching animal behavior has become part of him . He has a great responsibility to care for his livestock and doesn’t take it lightly. He seeks out information that may help to improve the farm’s workings and converses with neighbor farmers. He keeps an open mind but also realizes the barriers he may be working with should it be climate, housing ect. I feel that I could never catch up to what he knows(not for lack of trying). I wonder how that much information could be put into a book and realize that while we have infinite paper and internet resources on the subject it seems, we can never learn what is instilled through experience. That up close and personal way of learning that somehow stays with us and leaves an imprint. How we pass that information on to the next generation can make for a smoother transition, because it is this generation that will be feeding us. Of course they will be well versed in the technological side of it , but to be able to work with both methods will be the way of the future.
For now we will continue to farm the best way we can, we will continue to advocate for sustainable local food and we will keep the belief that consumers will continue search to search for small producers and support them for a better world. We are inching forward towards a life that is more about community and how to improve it.
From this I hope you as the consumer, search out your local producer of food and find out what’s “Kept under their hats”.