Green is the color of tranquility and relaxation. For me, I honestly think this is true. Standing in the middle of a lush, green field invokes feelings of relaxation and dissipates thoughts of work or the stresses of traffic that are all too common when living in a metropolitan area. After going on a Slow Foods organized farm tour in the West Virginia panhandle this past weekend, it’s not hard to see why many farmers love their work, love the land they’re working on, and love the environment they’re surrounded by.
My friend Laura and I participated in a Slow Foods DC organized farm tour. We went to four different farms in WV and learned anything and everything from small-scale farming in your backyard to hundreds-of-acres-been-in-your-family-for-generations farming. What all 4 farms had in common was that they were farmed by people who absolutely loved and appreciated their land. Most people can’t say that the weather, not their work performance, often determines whether they’ll get a bonus that year. Most people don’t have to worry about a late-season frost or a dry summer without rain. Most people worry about getting caught in a downpour while walking to work or leaving their house not appropriately dressed for the ailments. For farmers, they constantly worry about something they have no control over, but luckily, many farmers know how to abate any unexpected weather predicaments that might occur.
For example, one farmer told us that WV had received a frost in May that caught them by surprise. They were able to turn the sprinklers on the crops after the frost and salvage most of their crops before they were destroyed. And it’s not just Mother Nature that farmers have to contend with, they also have to deal with bureaucracy and all that she imposes and/or restricts. While I know very little about farming, compared to many of the people we talked to this weekend, what I do know is that farming is an extremely arduous profession. But like one of the farmers said, it is truly rewarding – a far cry from what many of us say at the end of our workday.
Standing outside on this one particular farm, I looked around in every possible direction and let out a sigh of utter relief: there wasn’t a highway, a shopping plaza or a Walmart in sight. It was green and it was pure beauty; totally cut off from the hub-bub and stress of city life, it was perfect.
Is it just me or does anyone else feel the same way when they see and/or visit the green, rural countryside?
Please remember to support your local farmers! Check out Local Harvest for a list of farmers markets in your area.