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Humble Pie

May 31, 2013

MichelleCharheiferHave you ever had a conversation – or tried to have a conversation! – with someone who knew it all? It’s like the mouth asks a question but the mind is thinking how to convince you to come to their viewpoint.

I think of a California cousin who did this. For weeks during the summer we got to hear how much better California was than the farm. How it didn’t take any skill or talent to operate there. We gave a simple task – feeding some young calves. A dozen weaned calves, two buckets of feed to be carried to the center of the pen and a know it all Californian not yet teenager…who was promptly mugged less than half way to the feed area.  Dozen calves don’t all get to eat from the same bucket at the same time but they tried – and no greenhorn is going to outstroll them once they know chow was on the way. We told him run – he didn’t listen.

Life lessons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think of that often when I hear people doing essentially the same thing now. They know all about what we do without ever talking to us. A commenter on Yahoo even bet me that I didn’t know any “real farmers” – I’d win that bet easily. (Another lesson – never bet when you don’t know all the factors!)

I’m tired of talking about and being confronted about using GMO technology – we don’t. I recently took part in a panel for another blog on it, mainly because it seems the only thing activists keep bringing up to talk about. The same people with a barrage of links flooding forums so that they don’t have to say what they think about it. There’s no time to answer what they think is a solution when cut and pasting 3 hours of reading in the span of a question.

I’ve tried really hard to cultivate listening and weed out the sarcastic points that sent a know it all cousin into a pen with a dozen calves and two buckets. But then sometimes I wonder if at some point in our lives we need that experience. We need to be knocked down, stomped on, evaluate getting out of a situation and getting to that point where we can say “I don’t know…this is what I think…” That‘s where we can get to conversation!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe opportunities for consumers who “just eat” to talk with farmers about what they do and why is greater than ever before with social media. Many places even welcome visitors. Some, like us, are planning towards hosting clinics and retreats to let people see a different side of what we do. It allows literally sitting down and let’s talk. Face to face. No converting, no computers, no superiority.

We all have food choices. It allows us to have farm choices. That’s something we never take for granted. We don’t have all the answers, but belong to a network of awesome people and can sure find out.

“I don’t know” is a big piece of humble pie. I don’t know why that animal was fine this morning and isn’t now. I don’t know why sometimes we do everything wrong and others survive. With rabbits we have to adapt often. It keeps us humble…but not stupid.

We all have a story. This blog is one way we share ours. Thanks for continuing to read, as we approach 1,000 posts!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2013 6:39 PM

    For representing when talking to farmers, I always try to use personal experience or the advice of experts. Furthermore, there is what Michael Pollan calls a large “cloud” of conversation over food that doesn’t actually deal with farming, so the best work in agriculture is doing it, outside 😀

    • May 31, 2013 10:22 PM

      True, but many of us have done that for years. Farming not talking – and people defined things for us, wrongly. They inaccurately told what we were doing, so effectively in some cases when people hear the truth they don’t believe it. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “people don’t want to hear about food” and $2 for every ticked off consumer who then didn’t know what was happening in the food production world I’d have a large farm paid for cash. 🙂

  2. May 31, 2013 6:40 PM

    Finally, I don’t know what the best techniques are, but it seems like the best wisdom learns from way past techniques! The natives had a way of living on the planet that was sustainable and close to nature 🙂 ❤

    • May 31, 2013 10:25 PM

      Yep – but the natives had a much higher % of people involved in production, and knew what it took to do it. They didn’t have more people in the cities in some states than in rural areas. And most don’t want to give up the urban lifestyle.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. June 1, 2013 6:28 AM

    There was a time when the old addage was to avoid ‘ Politics and Religion. ‘ Progress has offered another ingredient to the stew. Today’s version consists of avoiding ‘ Politics, Religion and Farming.’ LOL

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