When I was a kid, I dressed up as a farmer for a school costume party. From the beat up straw hat to the denim overalls, it was (as are most attempts at kids' dress up) an exercise in cliche repetition. Nevertheless, it strikes me that many people still have a pretty 2-dimensional, stereotypical view of your average farmer.
Yet from the backyard SPIN farmers making a living on less than an acre to the rooftop farms and community gardens of New York, the renaissance of small scale farming is not just showing us that farms can look different to how we've been told, but farmers can too.
Whether it's young farmers farming with horses and rediscovering sheep dogs, or backyard farmers with more than 5 decades of experience, what matters is not whether our farmers conform to the stereotypes we've created, but whether we are willing to listen to them and see them for who they really are. The people who put food on our tables and who are charged with stewarding the landscapes we all rely on for survival.
The video below, created by Kevin Kossowan, was the winner of The Perennial Plate video competition I posted on last week. It is a fine example of what happens when you ask a question of a responsible, innovative farmer and just listen to what they have to say. It's something we should all do a little more of.