Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Celebrate the Growing Network of Awareness this 4th of July.

There is a growing network working farmers, food producers, Ag industry professionals, and concerned consumers who are looking for or wish to share information about what they buy or what they sell.

The frustration of over legislation, taxation, wasteful government spending, congressional incompetence, urban sprawl, consumer ignorance, and more recently, an outright assault of a way of life may be causing the long reserved American Farmer to take action. Many of these things are shared in common with our Nation's Founders. Most people would never make the connection, but the reality is this country was founded by Farmers.

The Pilgrims on the May Flower, you know the ones we remember every Thanksgiving with a feast of all the things a good harvest provides. They did not come looking for a good place to construct towering glass and steel buildings. They came looking for land that would sustain them and allow a way of life they where persecuted for.

Our first president, then General George Washington led a rag tag group of citizen soldiers to run out the Red Coats, for much of the same issues California Farmers are dealing with today. Many of those soldiers were farmers themselves. What most people do not remember is that in the 18th century, George Washington, operated a state of the art farming operation. Some people would have call it a "Factory Farm" by today's standards. George Washington's role as a farmer and businessman is often over shadowed by his service to our country. Washington beveled that America's future economic success lay in agriculture was integral to his vision for the new nation. Like the modern Farmer, George Washington was always looking for ways to expand the productivity and profit of his farms. Washington built a gristmill and later a distillery. He sold flour, corn meal, and whiskey locally and overseas. This, by the way, is what some call the "American Dream" . Washington's farm was called Mt. Vernon and is today celebrated as a National Treasure.

(fast forward to the 20th century) Farmers have relied on food producers and distributors to convey the message that food grown and produced in the United States is good for the United States. Good for the consumer, good for the farmer, good for the U.S. economy. Somewhere along the way this system has gone a rye. My opinion is that food producers and distributors have been looking to creeper imports. One, to increase profits (it is a business after all), and two, to keep up with growing demand for easy to prepare meal products (who has time to cook dinner these days?). The American Farmer, as it seems, is getting a bad wrap for all of this. This is not the reality of the situation today, Farmers work daily to provide a quality product that they would, and do, serve to their own families without hesitation for quality and freshness.

This 4th of July Holiday, Please take time to think about this Great Nation, and who built it out of dirt! As the rest of the word is starved for American "Grit" and Freedom. I, like Gorge Washington believe that America's future economic success lay in agriculture and is integral to the vision for this nation. The American Farmer is the foundation if this country, and will be till the end of time. I should not have to remind you that there was a time that every kid in Russia wanted a pair of Levi 501's made with American Grown Cotton. Just the thought of good Ol' Fashion Apple Pie brings to mind the Freedoms we take for granted every day. (I challenge you to name one single ingredient in Ol' Fashion Apple Pie that a Farmer didn't provide). This truly is the Greatest Nation in history. God has Blessed America! From Sea to shining Sea! Now, It's time to pick up the slack and tow the line.

This growing network I speak of is a grassroots movement in the truest scene. Individuals are springing up as Bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook groups, MySpace sites, , YouTube Vloggers, and in other places where information can be shared conveniently.

They are Agivist. No, it not a typo, I said, "Ag-i-vist". An Agivist is one who emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial agricultural issue.

This seems to be the new generation of farming. Networking together and the willingness to sharing information is becoming an increasingly effective tool to educate consumers about misconceptions about what that eat and helping them to make better choices with how the spend their grocery budget. Allowing the Farmer to speak directly to those consumers who want to know what's in their food. Maybe more importantly, allowing the consumer to provide feedback and concerns directly to the farmer.

Be vocal, Farmers. Ask questions, Consumers. I did, and it led me right here! Because I eat, and I want to know where my food comes from. I am proud to say now, I am an Agivist!

Get to know your Farmer. Celebrate your Framer. Look for the product of USA label, even better , Buy California Grown!

Keep California Farming.

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