I was gardening to the sound of engines this weekend. And a billow of golden dust on the washing. Even as late as September the combine harvesters are going. It’s been a nightmare year for most farmers, the oddness of the climate affecting nearly every crop.
Some people like to think the farmers are just moaning again. But believe me, I live in a crop growing area and they’re not. And for most of them farming is nothing like the rosy picture portrayed on Adam’s Farm in Countryfile on the BBC.
For many this dreadful crop year will be the end of their livelihoods, the end of their lives as they know it and goodbye to farms which have been handed down through generations. It’s incredibly tough. That’s why there’s such a high incidence of suicides among farmers.
Most people don’t ever think about farmers at all as long as their food is in supermarkets. The land, and the people who work it, their hard work, never enters their head. Here though, it’s in my head all the time; food growing governs the nature of this environment and was a huge part of our educational activities when we were home educating. Sometimes we could see our food from plant to land to cooking to table – and what is more important a lesson than that. A lesson about how our lives our sustained and how dependent upon the earth and the workers we are to sustain it.
Wherever you live I think it’s essential to teach kids that lesson – that respect. Even if you can’t show children how it’s grown, showing them food in its natural state is a starting point, discussing how it ALL has to be grown – even the ingredients of a McDonalds – the meat too! Somebody labours over it. And how it is thanks to the earth that we have it.
If the kids don’t know that, how will they know that they need to respect the earth? That the earth matters? It is as vitally important as what they do with their waste, our needless consumerism, the climate. As is the plight of the farmer who has toiled this weekend, even through the night, to harvest the grain which even if indirectly puts food in our baskets.
But do you know what? While he’s been doing that he’ll probably not make sufficient income from this year’s meagre crop to put food in his own.
Worth thinking about that! Our children need to know.