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Labor, Tradition, Today in Agriculture

September 2, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many who claim we should go back to the good old days like my grandparents had. It sounds good…certainly would be good for us! As a horse trainer, it’d be a financial boom.

But I don’t see it happening in today’s culture without massive changes in views – changes I don’t see happening. We have fast food workers striking to demand $15 per hour. We have headlines of kids in the fields – some 15-18 but some as young as 12 – working in agriculture and how horrible it is that kids are working for spending money!

There’s a 10 acre plot that needs harvested today. Wait – before harvesting feed, groom, harness and hitch the horses. Then drive them to the fields. Harvest (no tractors) the ground they tilled to plant earlier in the year. While you’re doing that, someone else is cleaning off breakfast dishes and preparing dinner, then after that supper in the evening. Not just the meal but desserts, bread, everything must be made by hand. Somewhere in there feed and milk the cow, separate the cream so you can make butter – the little bit of money you get for extra helps with thing you must buy. Ice cream for dessert, and of course there’s cheese to make.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll of the food you consume must be brought in, processed, stored, prepared and eaten, then clean up and do over. The idea working women is new can be served with a reality check – my grandma maybe never drew a paycheck but I guarantee you she worked. Monday was wash day and baking day – all the breads, pies, cookies for the week were made. And it wasn’t microwave – oh no! It was a monstrous wood stove (cut/bring in wood was another job the kids had to do!) even in the blazing heat of summer.

While many of us seek to provide food choices, it’s not in absence of technology. Technology helps us with those hands that aren’t there. Those who live far from us who don’t want the low pay and work required.

It takes more than saying “we want this” – it takes a willingness to finance it, work on it, pay for it and make it happen. We live in an entertain me society. We’ve had the luxury for decades of quick meal preparation because others do the processing, and growing/processing in bulk makes it less expensive too.

Food choices are many, but this labor day we are thankful for options.


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