So we hit the biggest ag fair in Western Canada last weekend. What a jaw dropper.
You know, it’s something to intellectually understand that there’s a reason farmers don’t consider me to be one of them, and it’s another thing to stand next to a farming machine as big as my house that probably costs about the same.
Puts things in perspective.
The agricultural fair was full of boys and their dads, with equally wide grins, clambering all over all type of farm machinery imaginable. It was lovely, and my boy and his dad were no exception . . . but . .
In truth, I found the entire thing sort of sad.
In between tractors and harvesters and gigantic machines of mysterious purpose were chemical companies and all sorts of things that, for me, have no place in food production. Machines with weight and wheels that I can’t imagine allowing on soil . . . I went into a little panic thinking about the compaction they must cause. Who would let that on their precious soil?
And then I got thinking about the size of fields that demand machines that size . . . I duno. It was all very strange.
I also realized that there is very little space for people like me in this industry, as it stands. I found my favourite seed company and a tiny booth containing the organic certification folks, other than that . . . holy smokes.
Talking to one government agency just trying to figure out where our tiny farm will fit in terms of regulation and all that, and as soon as I mentioned pastured poultry – Ooooh you have to talk to Dr. So-and-so. You’ll have WAY more health and illness problems if they’re outside. (As opposed to a gazillion birds crammed together in their own poop? What?)
Reading some of the literature we picked up, there are conversations about “elitist organic farmers” being “selfish” in trying to block GMO’s.
Made me realize that I will never be a Farmer-farmer. It’s not in me.
I’m not sure what we will call what we do here, or if the Farmers will ever recognize it as farming. I don’t want to call myself a “hobby” farmer like most of my neighbours do . . . Surely there’s a space between stamp-collecting and producing nourishing food.
Maybe we’ll have to come up with an entirely different term to define ourselves.
Maybe it’s good that there’s no place for us in the capital-F farming world. Maybe it’s better to start fresh.