Family farms have been a tradition in America for years. From crops to livestock, farmers keep the grocery stores shelves stocked and the clothes racks full.
A trend that is emerging is the average age of farmers is increasing and less and less young farmers are coming up to take their place. With the global population nearing nine billion, a small amount of people are presented with the task of feeding and clothing more with less.
Despite this grim scenario, a young couple in Western Oklahoma are bucking the trends and have a farm and then some. I was able to spend a couple days with the Base family at their farm in Geary, Okla. It was easy to see their passion for agriculture and it was obvious to see how dedicated they are.
In today’s video blog, we take a look at the Base Vines and Cattle farm. Diversity doesn’t begin to describe what the Base family does. They seem to have their hands in all things agriculture. They have a little bit of traditional and a little bit of nontraditional. All in all they are definitely doing their part in feeding the world.
Okay, it’s true. I’ve raged against the machine. I’ve ranted about diesel fuel being sucked into trucks then its aftermath being spewed into the air I breathe. And I’ve specifically wailed about Starbucks in general. I’m all about “keep it local, keep it green, keep it real, know the person behind the businesses you use…”
But I’m also well aware that more than half of the products and services I use are somehow connected to things or people who are NOT local. And in the winter, when I have to buy produce from the grocery stores on a regular basis, that number might be higher. And, I also like imported chocolate. I carefully guard my tiny vial of saffron threads. And, I fly or drive to explore places in the world I’ve never seen. So, I try my best to balance my “machine raging” with some sort of tempered logic. And events like what happened yesterday help with that trying behavior…
Today is my birthday. My husband tells me that I start celebrating it on the first of the month even though it’s actually on the last day of July. This year I tried to narrow the celebration down to a three-day weekend. No matter how long the party is, it is always going to involve friends, gifts, and flowers.
Friday was my last work-free day, so I invited a few teacher friends over to swim. Right after they arrived it started to rain. No worries. I had indoor activities planned: making homemade salsa from the vegetables in my garden and hulling purple hull peas. At one point in the day, a friend told me she was going to start referring to me as “Mother Earth” or M.E. I’m not sure if this was before or after I cooked the purple hull peas we just hulled (flavored with a jalapeno pepper from my garden) for a little snack.
Last week I had a mid-recipe creation crisis. It happened in the kitchen and I decided that rather than write an entire entry about how many fails I experienced while trying to braise short-ribs with Oklahoma Sandhill Plums, I would just avoid the topic altogether. Seriously, I was beginning to think that my recipe creation was the reincarnation of Groundhog Day, and that redemption in my life would only happen if I finally pulled out the perfect center of the plate post.
Then I started thinking about this rant I went on two years ago in my little research world. One of my colleagues from a university in the northwestern U.S. was really down during one of our professional conferences and I asked him about his glum face. He stated that he had devoted approximately three years and lots of money toward an on-line relationship education program only to find out there were no effects (no statistically significant findings). So I asked him, “Why don’t you share THAT information? Don’t you think the fails are as important as the wins?” Then he said, “No research journal publishes ‘fails.'” Maybe I embedded that little downer-nugget into my subconscious last week?
In a world where technology seems to run our lives, agriculture serves as a role model of how to merge tradition and innovation. Farmers have proven time and time again how they utilize the past to influence the present and continue to provide for our future.
This week we introduce you to a woman who was on the fast track to a corner office in the corporate world but decided she wanted to give back to the environment…and her neighbors. Coleen Thornton is a prime example of how sustainable agriculture is a beneficial way farming can benefit an entire community. From organic crops to hand spun yarn…everything on Thornton’s farm serves a purpose.
Growing up in agriculture, I often heard the stereotype that farmers are cruel to the environment. This ag entrepreneur proves this theme wrong, because in order to be successful in agriculture, it is vital to be a steward of the land. ~Andy Barth