Thursday, March 31, 2011
A politician was lambasted last year for saying that the isotope crisis was “sexy”. A junk-picker on a reality show labeled a rusty old European clock “sexy”. And if you watch television, listen to the radio and read magazines, you might notice something else that is suddenly sexy: Farming.
In this usage, sexy means it’s a hot topic or commodity. People are talking about it. It’s getting attention. Perhaps it’s our new sense of global awareness that is prompting us to look upon one of the most basic of occupations, providing food from the land, with a new kind of fondness.
We live in a land of abundance. We have the ability to produce enough wheat to feed the world. That is, if we don’t turn all of our farmland over to development. Farms are disappearing, as are farmers. Perhaps that rarity is making them sexier.
Of course, farming was always sexy, if we were paying attention. Yes, it involves a lot of dirt, sweat and manure, but it also involves a certain sensuality that is lost once we move away from the land.
Farmers are romantic. They rarely miss a sunrise or sunset. They depend on the weather for the success of their crops, so they pray for rain to quench the garden’s thirst, or they pray that the sun will hold out long enough for them to bring the hay in.
Farmers are sensitive. They watch their animals closely, watching for signs of poor health, injury, impending birth. They learn to communicate in simple, unspoken ways. The few words that they choose to speak are the ones that count.
Farmers are strong. Farmwork is physical, and it involves being outdoors a lot. As a result, Farmers tend to be fairly healthy, they sleep well at night and live long, fulfilling lives.
All of our diet-conscious advice these days is telling us to slow down and think about what we are putting into our mouths. What will it do for our bodies? Provide calcium, iron, vitamins? Where did it come from and how did it get to the store or market? Farming is the original link in the chain of our healthy lives. We should care about it. We shouldn’t let our children grow up to think their hamburgers and milk are magically created out of thin air in the grocery store.
We’ve all seen the billboards and bumper stickers: if you’ve eaten today, thank a Farmer. Well, where did you think it came from??
The next time you see a Farmer, take note of the callused hands that are strong enough to pull wires into fences, but gentle enough to birth baby animals. Notice the wrinkles around his eyes from squinting at the sun, the laugh lines around his mouth. Farmers have got to have a sense of humour. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps them going, I’m sure.
And if that ain’t sexy, well, I don’t know what is.
Posted by Diana Leeson Fisher at 1:47 PM