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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Boots on the Ground - father. teacher. farmer.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND is a series of posts introducing you to a producer. Check out the other ones if you haven't kept up!

Today we go East of the Mississippi a ways to check in with a small family farmer who enjoys the farm life while his main career is in the education field. John grew up on a family farm in Kentucky where they grew corn and tobacco. Nowadays, John continues farming on the weekends and breaks from his position as a 5th grade teacher. 

When do you pull your boots on in the morning? 
 I don’t think I’ve ever taken my boots off. Whether you are a farmer full time or more of a hobby farmer like me, agriculture is part of your everyday life. There is always something to do on the farm and that means I’ll always be prepared with my boots on. My family's been wearing farming boots for 4 generations. I hope I can pass on a pair to my son.
What is your role in the agriculture industry? 
I’m a teacher who enjoys supplementing my income with a small family farm. People say that bigger farms are not considered family farms and that is incorrect. Just because I have a job outside of the farm doesn’t mean that my farm is better because it’s smaller. In fact, it's the other way around. The size of my farm is directly related to the fact that I can manage it while still having a career in education. I wanted to keep my family's farm alive and so I had to downsize it to something more manageable.

Here is your platform, what do you want consumers to know?
I want to connect with consumers. People are more interested to know where their food comes from. I have time to connect with a lot of consumers because I have a job off the farm. Most farmers, however, are busy growing crops and raising animals all day. It’s harder to make that connection with a mom buying groceries in New York City when you’re on the ranch in Texas. The internet is a wonderful tool and I hope that consumers are reaching out to connect with farmers on the internet, rather than finding more information about their food from sources that don’t really know the truth.

From Farmer John to the Consumer who might be reading this: 
Agriculture is a complex system of growing, marketing and trading goods that become the dinner on your table. Because of that complexity, we have a safe and cheap food supply. Please learn about your food from a reliable source. Believe it or not, agriculture gives you many options at the grocery store and that doesn’t mean that those options exist because the traditional ones were wrong or unhealthy. Options exist because the consumers asked for it! How lucky we are!

BOOTS ON THE GROUND is brought to you by Country Outfitter They sent me a fancy new pair of boots and so I'm linking them on to this series. They help put boots on the ground, and I know I will be ordering my next pair from them too!

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