Farming / Homesteading

Farm Aid

Who would have guessed these two would turn out to support farmers back in the day? Wealthy playboys came to help families that had little money and almost zero time or energy for pleasure. That’s what makes America exceptional.

Farm Aid began in 1985 as an effort to raise awareness about the challenges facing farming families, and money to help them stay on their farms. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture estimates that there were 6.8 million family farms in the U.S. in the early 1970’s. By 2002 only 2.1 million remained. That’s a staggering figure. We aren’t simply losing farming land, we are losing a part of our America.

Our homestead has transformed our family. We are closer than we’ve ever been because we work together to support one another. We are weaning ourselves off of technology, and loving the hours we spend whether it’s in the garden, cleaning a chicken coop or making jam in the kitchen, and the boys are doing all of it with us. The fabric of America is woven in the fertility of American soil.

Last weekend Crossroads homestead had our own Farm Aid. We’ve opened a door that will help us continue to weave our family’s American tapestry and preserve the heritage that makes America so exceptional. We attended our first farmers market at the Old Gregg School in Spring Mills, PA.

There was a stage and a crowd, but no aging fans, groupies, or rock stars. (What a relief. Have you seen these guys these days? Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll takes it’s toll. Check out rock stars then and now.)  It’s just a collection of community members who come each Saturday morning to eat better than any wealthy playboy or billionaire. They came to buy food grown with more care and dignity than you can imagine. Food that TASTES better than I can describe and changes the way you feel when you eat it every day.

I set up a table in the school gym, in front of an old stage that hadn’t seen strutting self-indulgent rock stars, but had been graced by the first fruits of a farming community, children. Children who proudly sang for parents in Christmas concerts, danced in recitals and acted in school plays. I rolled out our Crossroads Farms banner and opened coolers full of our fruits; pastured chicken, eggs and strawberry jam. And my community, some of them had performed on that stage as kids, purchased our fruits and were absolutely thrilled to see a new family continue the tradition.

Our “Farm Aid” was more successful than we had ever hoped. It wasn’t in the total amount we sold, it came from the welcome we received and the invitation to participate in other markets in the Valley. We found comfort and strength in the people who welcomed us and threw a collective arm around us in support. Support found in tired farmers wearing tired clothing, with warm faces and half smiles that didn’t reach their full length because hard work had borrowed a little of its energy for more important chores. Support from a community that understands that when families stop farming, a part of them disappears too.

This is Farm Aid as it should be. It’s easier on the ears (no ear shattering decibels) and on the eyes.

Honestly who would you rather spend the day looking at? Farmers who faces have been warmed by hard work and the sun, or these two partially mummified rock grand pappies?

Mick and Keith


One thought on “Farm Aid

  1. Pingback: Wintery Long Weekend | Crossroads Homestead

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