Why Farmer?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My husband asked me why I named this blog "Sassy Farmer" rather than "Sassy Gardener" or "Sassy Baker" and the reason seemed obvious to me (and not just because my professional blog is The Sassy Librarian).  My approach to this piece of land and our life encompasses much more than simply growing our own food, working in my kitchen, or caring for our home.  Farming isn't just someone with a thousand acres growing a single crop for profit; this is just what a lot of farming in the modern age looks like and it's begun to be what people associate with the term.

Farming is beginning to be transformed back into an entity which hearkens back to its original definition, which is as simple as "to use land for growing crops and raising animals" (according to the dictionary built into my MacBook).  In British magazines like Country Living, they often refer to someone using their land according to the above description as a "smallholder" which I really like, much more so than the more American term "hobby farmer" which makes it sound like growing food is like building model trains in your basement.  But new publications show the trend of people like me struggling to figure out a relationship with our land and sometimes fighting larger corporate interests in our food supply.  Hobby Farms magazine proved so successful that it now has two offshoot publications, Hobby Farms Home and now Urban Farms for people living in cities or suburbs with limited space but who share a self-sufficient philosophy.

As a librarian, I've seen an increase in the number of books published about a self-sufficient lifestyle, particularly with an angle toward farming.  Previously called "homesteading," some of these books rehash 1970s information while others incorporate a balanced approach that incorporates new information (and a less crunchy, stick-it-to-the-man mentality).  Barnes & Noble now has an entire magazine rack devoted to farming (even in cities, where I imagine many people are armchair farmers yearning for the good life) and you can usual find several shelves worth of books on growing your own food and raising livestock by the decorating or how-to sections.

So how do we live a life (particularly with a city/suburbs boy in tow) that lives up to our environmental ideals?  We recently celebrated our 1st anniversary in this house, so we have no more excuses; we now have the space and zoning to do whatever we need to in order to live up to our ideals.  I'm interested to see how the experiment turns out!


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