Pleasant Valley Farm

  (Tionesta, Pennsylvania)
Real Family Farming in Tionesta, PA
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I feel like I've been neglecting my blog, but it's just been so busy here!  We've been busy planting, and with the much needed rain we're getting this weekend, I'm sure the potatoes, onions and other seedlings will be sprouting in no time!

I did take some time earlier this week to finally get around to watching the movie Food, Inc.   Honestly, I didn't think I'd learn much by watching it since I've got Fast Food Nation, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and several of Joel Salatin's books on my bookshelf, but I was wrong.  It's a great movie for anyone, it's very approachable for folks who don't have a lot of prior knowledge about food safety or agriculture.  Parts of it certainly are depressing, from a mother who lost her child to e. coli to the seed-cleaning farmer who was sued out of business by Monsanto- my heart broke watching. However, it was the ending that has really stayed with me- a hard working farmer telling the camera that farmers want to do the right thing, all consumers have to do is ask, and America's farmers will find a way.  Watching that part, I felt so empowered.  

The Gandhi quote "Be the change you want to see in the world" keeps running through my head.  Our animals are raised naturally and humanely, free to enjoy the outdoors, where they can express their pigness, cowness, chickenness...where a row of potatoes may veer to the side a bit because it seems unnecessary and cruel to run the rototiller over the killdeer's nest for the sake of symmetry...where the stream that runs through the pasture is able to be a great habitat for trout and frogs downstream...where the food is safe, honest, and healthy.  All these things are so important, and so often overlooked.  

When I was studying for my Master's in Social Work, I learned about lots of great people who changed the world for the better- women's rights, civil rights- and the fact that a group of caring people changing the face of our country always struck me as so inspiring.  I thought that I would never have an issue in my lifetime that could be so revolutionary as desegregating schools or getting women the right to vote. It seemed like all the good causes were already taken, so to speak. The more I learn about the way our food is mass produced, and the effects it has on the citizens of this country, especially children, the more I come to realize that this is my issue.  And it is something I'm fighting, every time we plant an heirloom vegetable seed here, every time we sell a dozen eggs we collect by hand, every time we sell meat that was raised and processed like a living creature rather than a protein-producing machine.  I can get up every morning, look in the mirror, and say "I am the change I want to see."  It's powerful, and awe-inspiring.  You can help be that change too, every time you choose to buy your food from a farmer or a restaurant that gets its food locally.  If we all do it often enough, we really will change the world.

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Emily, thank you. This is a wonderful reminder and commentary on the impact of what we are all capable of as individuals.

Posted by Robin on April 26, 2010 at 04:20 AM EDT #

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