Thoughts on Letters to a Young Farmer: Addressing Common Assumptions About Agriculture and Farming

Thoughts on Letters to a Young Farmer: Addressing Common Assumptions About Agriculture and Farming

I recently finished the book Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future, a birthday gift. It’s a collection of essays from the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, located near New York City. The essays were written by people who are connected (or loosely connected) to agriculture in some way, most of them located on the Coasts. Surprisingly, the first several essays actually discouraged me, a strange beginning for a book professing to inspire people to become farmers.

The essays made several assumptions:

  1. Farmers are victims of everything around them, including weather, businesses, government agencies, universities, and agricultural media.
  2. Farmers must know everything about everything.
  3. Farmers will be poverty-stricken their entire lives, but it’s worth it because they work with the soil.
  4. All young farmers will farm organically.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Letters to a Young Farmer: Addressing Common Assumptions About Agriculture and Farming”

Four Characteristics of Substitute Teaching (We Just Make It Look Easy)

Substitute teaching is hard.

And fun.

And agitating.

And rewarding.

I’ve had one to two classroom jobs each week since I started subbing, but I was recently asked to be a temporarily permanent substitute teacher for the seventh and eighth grade science classes, carrying the courses until the end of school. With my science background, the principal thought I would be a great fit. I was supposed to go down to the school Monday to pick up a textbook and some lesson plans, but a wasp sting, a swollen right hand and subsequent drowsiness from the Benadryl that saves me from severe reactions prevented that. I went down Tuesday instead to pick up the books and looked through them that night. I didn’t care for them much, so decided to just go with the flow and ask the students what they’re interested in. Continue reading “Four Characteristics of Substitute Teaching (We Just Make It Look Easy)”

Roots

Roots

Post originally posted on my pleonast.com blog and on my notes page on Facebook. I am posting a modified version here because it is an essential piece of why “Roots Run Deep.” It was written during the summer of 2011 when I stayed home on the farm after graduating from Purdue and before heading to Penn State because the timing didn’t work out for any internships or full-time jobs. 

Australian Shepherd and Hay BaleMy dog has been following me wherever I go during chores. Part of it is probably because I feed her, but even if she isn’t done eating, she’ll leave her pan of food in the barn and follow me out to the cow pasture. She stays by me while I’m watering the stock, and when I’m walking back and forth from the barn, she stays behind me or to my right side. She’s hardly ever gone to my left, even though I’ve experimented and tried to get her to go to the left. In those instances, she just stays behind. Continue reading “Roots”