Monday, July 9, 2012

"I'm Farming and I Grow It" - A Teacher's View

Americans have little connection to their food - and that may be part of our problem.  This gap in our knowledge has been at the heart of arguments made by people like Michael Pollan in the book Omnivore's Dilemma and the movie Food, Inc.  Americans have a poor diet of predominantly processed foods because they don't even know what "real food" is anymore.  Well, it's grown on a farm by people like Greg Patterson and his brothers.  Greg, a student at Kansas State University, was annoyed one day at a drive-in restaurant when he heard the radio playing I'm Sexy and I Know It.  Greg - from a Kansas farm family - began rapping a new refrain - "I'm Farming and I Grow It."

Eventually, Greg and his brothers would craft enough lyrics for the full song, and proceeded to produce a video parody, which has gone viral on YouTube.  According to Greg, they posted it to Facebook for some of their city friends who don't know anything about farming.  In turn, they ended up educating millions about the hard work of farming.  And, that's what I like about this video - it's farming and agriculture from "a teacher's view."  Farming is important and hard work that is under appreciated by too many.  And, I am hoping that a better press campaign for farming can pick up on this video sensation.  Of course, I'd hope that more people turning to farming would be interested in organic farming and more natural practices.  For example, I was pleased to see the cows eating grass, or hay, as opposed to corn or feed.  That's not to say they don't also eat feed.  But I'm hopeful.

Patterson's video reminds us that one farmer regularly feeds more than one hundred million people, and the country often has little appreciation for the hard work of men and women in the Heartland.  And we should.  Of course, I am not offering some schmaltzy idealistic image of farmers as being these perfect hardworking people.  Farmers are like all people - they have their flaws.  But the work is hard, and it's valuable, and we under appreciate it.  And, that goes for all the migrant workers picking our fruits and vegetables, too.

So, if you ate today, thank a farmer.


Jamie Gregory said...

Thank you so much for your positive post about this video! I'm a high school agricultural science teacher and I'm constantly telling my students how important it is for them to inform the public about agriculture. I can't wait to show this video in class when school starts!

mmazenko said...

Glad to hear it, Jamie. I'm happy you found the post.