serve your country food!

I am fond of a good manifesto, of documents that are a call to arms, an inspiration.

Serve your country food! from the Greenhorns project, is a great manifesto. It proclaims support for young farmers, for the next generation of the network that keeps us all alive.

Call to arms

Arms strong and hands calloused, eyes open to the beauty of every morning. Our spirits are prepared for the long row still to hoe, our hearts full with the support of family and community. Let us unite, young farmers! Let us fight for the right to farmable land! To the pursuit of an equitable marketplace, and for recognition from society. We are here, we are indispensable, we are a cornerstone of the future of food. Let us welcome many new entrants into agriculture, striving to share our lessons, seeds and stories with generations to come. Now is the time for action.

What I especially like about this document is that its list of goals takes into account all sides of the story — the practical and spiritual, the huge and the small. I particularly appreciate this goal:

“A cultural revaluation of farming as an ambitious, worthwhile life-venture, celebrated by family, church, and society”.

I live in one of the core agricultural areas of the country, and I have dear friends who farm. And of course I grew up in a rural area, too; and still, this goal is a long row to hoe. Farming is incredibly difficult, brain-intensive, and absolutely vital: but basically unrecognized as a pillar of our society. But we, the hipster avant-garde — yes, even the urban, the technocratic, the cognoscenti, the fashion-forward — we can change things, and we must. Have I mentioned that some of the coolest people I know are farmers?

The longer I live here in a farming community, and the more fashionable it becomes to know about food politics (thanks, Michael Pollan) and the more that the issues of farming and food become common topics (Jamie Oliver, anyone?), the more convinced I am that really working on the infrastructure of farming — the problems of health care and access to land and federal subsidies and everything else that the Greenhorns mention — is a core issue, something we must work on — right here, right now, literally in our backyards — to see a bright future and the world we want. School lunches, rural land preservation, safe water and a healthy. delicious diet — these are things that we cannot take for granted, this day or any other. Visit a farmer’s market; eat a local vegetable, and rejoice. Happy Earth day.

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