In Celebration of Farmers

National Farm to School month is upon us. Remember it’s about getting fresh, healthy, locally grown food to our children. Remember it starts with the farmer.

Anybody knows the challenge who has tried to grow food in a pot, a small garden, vertically, horizontally — the heat too much, the frost too soon, the pests too plenty; the rain too scarce.

But the love and enjoyment for what you are doing pulls you through the difficulties of growing food. The sense of accomplishment you feel as you see your plants grow, flower, and produce. The amazing taste and color of those foods you’ve just toiled over. Providing something for your family.

Most of us get to do this as a hobby. If we have a hail storm or drought, we are disappointed and frustrated, but it does not impact our income or our family too much.

Take that love and all those challenges and risks, multiply it many times and you have a farmer. A farmer who is willing to take those risks to do something he or she loves, in large part because they want each of us to have the wonderful food. They are willing to work from dusk to dawn to do that and try to make a living at it.

I know two young women farmers who started a small vegetable farm. They have off-farm jobs as many farmers and farm families have to do in order to exist. And while they are fortunate to do work they enjoy, their true passion is growing food and providing it to people like you and me. They want children to eat tasty squash, peppers, and carrots.

They want kids to know where their food comes from. That the veggies they eat on their lunch tray come to them with a whole lot of blood, sweat, tears, and love.

So they toil in 110 degree weather making sure the plants are okay. They stoop to pull weeds and invest in their farm with season-extending hoop houses to provide a few more months of fresh vegetables. It’s hard work, but they think it is worth it if just one more child can experience the taste of a fresh green bean or learn that asparagus tastes pretty darned good.

October, traditional harvest time, is a perfect month to celebrate the connection between farmers, small towns, and schools. Attend our Farm to School Summit in Nebraska to see how your community can get involved.

Feature image: Beginning farmer Margaret packs newly dug potatoes from her small vegetable farm, The Darlin’ Reds.