URBANA — Food. I don’t have much of a farming background, but I certainly enjoy food. We need it to survive and many of us plan our days and events around delectable platters — weddings, dinners, get-togethers, and so on. But how often to we think about the source?
When I go to the store, colorful options stacked high and wide fill me with an ease, a comfort that I have so many options from which to choose. I don’t have to scavenge or hunt for my dinner; it’s right there, placed orderly and priced affordably, just for me.
Just for me. I pick out a roast or an apple with a thoughtless satisfaction. I rummage through the avocados to find just the right one for my guacamole, without a care in the world. I don’t have to think about, right?
I teeter on the side of caution.
I’ve been writing for Rural Life Today for about five months now, learning every day that food does not simply come from a shelf. I’ve visited several farms and attended multiple agricultural events, speeches and discussions. The most significant aspect I’ve gained from talking with those in the agriculture industry is a more mindful appreciation for our food and our farmers.
Farming and raising livestock is an important and complicated process. And when I sit down for a meal, I’m at the end of that process. The average consumer may never know the intricate knowledge of what it takes to produce healthy and affordable food for the world — but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to walk blindly through the grocery aisles, grabbing items as if it’s as simple as that.
Think and consider. That’s what I will do as I continue my journey with Rural Life Today, hoping to tell the story of our food system and those within it.
I have a vivid memory of when I was in college, my golf coach in the driver’s seat of our team van. I was in the passenger’s seat, watching the slow-moving tractor chugging along, a train of cars behind it.
“Ugh. Maybe tractors should only be allowed to drive on the roads at night,” I said.
My golf coach said very sternly that those tractors and the farmers in them produce the food we eat. I felt my cheeks grow warm, knowing I offended her and that my comment was thoughtless. I found out later that her husband was a farmer.
As I sit in front of my computer, writing to you about the importance of agriculture, farmers and ranchers are out there living it, breathing it, day and night, for hours on end.
So tomorrow morning when you wake up and inhale the scent of brewing coffee, pour yourself a cup, walk outside and consider the earth from which it came.
Amanda Rockhold is the staff writer for Rural Life Today and can be reached at email@example.com or at 740-852-1616, extension 1617.