July 2014 Issue
Editor's Note: Thank a Farmer
For a lot of people, our state is synonymous with farming, especially for those who live in other parts of the country and aren’t familiar with the diversity and varied geography of Ohio.
It’s easy to see why, too. That barn-and-field image is a huge part of who we are thanks to the strength of our farming industry. (The Ohio Farm Bureau estimates it contributes $105 billion to our state’s economy.) Agriculture is a cornerstone of life here, whether our exposure to it is merely picking up some sweet corn at the farmers market or spending long days in the field. It is work that is essential to sustaining us as not only a state but a nation, and the farmer’s dedication can be easily overlooked. It is hard, honest and often thankless work.
During the Super Bowl in 2013, Ram Trucks tapped into America’s deep ties to farming when it created a commercial using iconic radio broadcaster Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech from 1978, which depicted a brutal strength and beauty in the profession. Yes, it pulled at our emotions, like any good advertising does, and no it is not an accurate reflection of every modern farm, some of which are enormous, factory-like operations.
But there are farms that reflect the spirit that Harvey depicted — places where a new generation has taken over to keep the tradition of the family farm alive. “Farmland,” a documentary that screened at the 2014 Cleveland International Film Festival and was made with support from the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, presents six new faces of farming. The film’s subjects range from a man who is taking over the family business to a first-generation female farmer. It touches on the sides of the industry about which people have strong opinions, such as GMOs and pesticides, but it mostly shows the emotional highs and lows of making a living through agriculture.
When you visit the farmers markets throughout our state, you have the chance to meet the people who dedicate their lives to growing food. Talk to them. Learn from them. Whether you eat organic or merely want to buy local, spending some time at a farmers market this summer will make you think about what it truly takes to put food on the table.
Speaking of farming, the Ohio State Fair kicks off in Columbus July 23 and runs through Aug. 3. Far more than just festival food and midway rides, we’ve pointed out a few of the interesting finds you’ll come across at this year’s fair on page 13. We also encourage you to visit the fair’s website at ohiostatefair.com
and check out the full schedule of events for yourself.