- Marianne Patterson
Graditude for our farmers
Published in the Common Interests Newsletter - November 2021
Before moving to farm country, I didn't give much thought to the life of a farmer. Now I find I can't drive more than a kilometer before seeing a poster that reads "If you ate today, thank a farmer!". I still wasn't sure why farmers merited our particular thanks. After all, there were no posters that read "If you got a tax credit, thank an accountant!". This made me think of our practice of saying grace. We give thanks for our food. I don't believe too many people say grace before cashing their paycheck.
The reason farmers deserve our gratitude was brought home to me when a few of us Common Earth alum visited Aaron Armstrong’s farm. Aaron sunk all his money, the money of others and all his resources into buying land, seed and equipment to start his operation. From April to November he is engaged in back-breaking work that will make an old man, or woman, out of the best of us. There is little or no income from November to June. He toils on, knowing that an infestation of insects, invasive weeds, wildlife, drought, floods or an early frost could wipe out his labours and livelihood in a matter of minutes.
I once visited a client who was head of the Saskatchewan grain growers association. He was talking about the supply chain and told the story of the farmer who drove his crop to the grain elevator and then sat in his truck and watched his entire year's work slide down a chute and disappear into a rail car in under two minutes.
These musings have made me realize that if I want to learn to create hope, I should ask a farmer.