In our last episode in April, we were left in a decimated rural town in Indiana laid waste by the exodus of diversified farms that were rotating crops and had integrated livestock production on pasture.
I promised to shed some light on the issue with life from the soil! Well here we go. Bear with me as this may be a reach for some.
As you know, if you were to plant a seed in the ground in February in Indiana it would not grow as there are conditions required to germinate the life in that seed to pop it into action. Unless the temperature is right, the moisture is right and the length of day is right it won’t make a go of it. Why is this? God, Mother Nature or evolution, which ever your fancy, knows even if it did germinate the conditions are not right to survive. Pretty simple, right?
As I have witnessed the exodus mentioned above from our farming communities, I have also noticed an anthropological phenomenon that until now has never “germinated” as the conditions were never right. I believe as humans we have a need to be attached to the soil. If not directly through gardening or farming, then by hiking, camping, hunting etc. Even knowing a farmer who loves his soil and animals pollinates a dusting of satisfaction on this yearning. When reduced to its simplest form this need is a form of the strongest force of all mankind, this being the hope and potential of the simple life.
Don’t believe it? Why are you reading a publication such as this? Why are farmers’ markets so cool? But the most compelling argument of all is why is it you meet plenty of lawyers who would love to be farmers, but you’ve never met a farmer who wanted to be a lawyer? Let me give a hint. It’s not the money! It’s the soil, man! It’s just our nature to be around our nature and whether you believe in creation from God or evolution, both paradigms concur that man came from dirt and to dirt we will return.
“Oh Moody, you’re too far out in the weeds here!” Well, to quote the great American theologian William Joel “… you may be right. I may be crazy!” But I just may be the lunatic farmer you’re looking for. I might be your umbilical cord that will satisfy your longing to the dirt.
Grow a tomato plant this spring. Go to a farmers’ market (an urban pollination station) and talk to a farmer and you will feel this energy that I am speaking of. Watch his eyes sparkle as he tells of how he had to help a cow give birth during a thunderstorm at 2 a.m. in the pasture.
This energy is true. It’s real. You can sense it in the spring and smell it in the first warm thunderstorm.
It’s the hope and potential of the return of life. It’s been right underneath us all along.
P.S. The deep lines ingrained in a farmer’s face aren’t really from the sun, the cold, and the wind. We have them surgically applied to make you all jealous! What’ll really chap your lips is the surgery is covered by the USDA!
Adam Moody owns and operates a 200-acre sustainable farm in Montgomery County, Indiana, and is the founder and CEO of Moody Butcher Shops in Ladoga, Avon and Zionsville.