July 01, 2009 Editor's note: This week's Perspectives refers to a column regarding the growing frustrations farmers face in trying to sustain their living written by Assistant Editor Maria Brown that appeared in the June 24th edition of the Tri-City Times. To read Maria's column, visit www.tricitytimes-online.com and click on 'archives,' and select the June 24 issue. Go to 'local columnists.'
You go, Maria! I especially appreciated this paragraph from your column in last week's paper:
"Growers are now faced with the added task of trying to regain a reputation that's been shot up and slandered by the same people they've been feeding for decades. Like that old screen door (analogy from first paragraph of column) that's supposed to do double duty—keep the flies out and let the breeze in—we're feeling battered by the competing ideals of practicing sound, science-based farming and bowing to 'feel good' consumer demands."
I grew up with highland farming and was transplanted to vegetable farming on the muck. I knew you as a young girl developing your work ethic in a muck field, and are now an integral part of a highland farming operation. I think the transplant "took" better for you than it did for me. I'm certainly not dispassionate about farming—it's just that I was more involved in the behind the scenes work on the farm than in the haying, the chores, the marketing. It is very obvious to me that you have carried the passion of the stewarding you learned from your grandpa into the work you now do with your husband. And what you say is so very true.
I don't know any industry more carefully regulated than farming is becoming. And I thought you did a great job of telling the story, right down to the inequities which come from—pardon my bias— "city folks" tryin' to regulate farming practice. I was waiting for you to address the dilemma of when people move out of the city for "a breath of fresh air" only to find out country air sometimes has strange smells. Or the fact that government has looked at trying to initiate a tax per cow for the amount it contributes to pollution. Duh!