Friday, October 16, 2015

World Food Day 2015: Why I Am Celebrating Farmers

Today is World Food Day, and for many that means writing and thinking about global hunger and nutrition. Those are important topics, but to me, it is important to celebrate the people who grow the food that the world eats. And who does that? Farmers!

I've written at other times about growing up eating food from our family garden, and even written about the reminders and celebrations of tradition that have come from having a small plot near our home dedicated to planting and growing food for our table. But today, I want to write in celebration of farmers around the world, starting locally.

For the last three years, Jamie and I have enjoyed being part of a local community supported agriculture program with Mountain Harvest Farm LLC. Each week we receive a share of what our farmer friends Mary and Chico have been able to produce from a plot of land just outside of Morgantown, West Virginia. As the weather changes and the seasons progress, we are able to enjoy a wide array of vegetables, according to the time tables of what can be grown and when in our climate. We also supplement this panoply of vegetables with occasional stops to the Morgantown Farmers Market, or with purchases from Working H Farms. Our support of local agriculture helps keep us rooted in the reality of where our food comes from. It comes from the ground. It comes from hard work. And it doesn't just magically appear in supermarkets. Somewhere there is a farmer working hard so that many can enjoy the fruit of his or her labor.

And farming is not just a local phenomenon. Today I also want to take a moment to celebrate the men and women around the world who are reliant on the bounty of their small farms to provide for their families and the needs of their communities. Wherever farmers are working, they are addressing the challenges of hunger and nutrition. They are working in concert with the cycles of weather, and they are growing in their understanding of the land, its care, and their relationship to it. Through the work I've been part of at Nuru International, I have met hard-working farmers in Kenya and Ethiopia whose work-ethic and care for their family and community would shame those of many in the West.

Today I celebrate farmers because they are the producers of the food we eat, and without food, none of us are able to bring our contributions to the world!

Thank you, farmers, on World Food Day and every day. Every step forward for humanity comes from the strong foundation you build. Farmers are the providers not only for their own families, but also for many others in their community. If you can, reach out to a farmer and thank them for their example, their work ethic, and their provision. And if you have a small space of land, I encourage you to plant some crops, and learn both the joy and the challenges of being a producer!

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