Bridging Urban/Rural Gaps
Well, it’s happened. The worlds of the “City Folk,” and those of the “Country Folk,” have been so separated that it’s resulted in a potential series of catastrophes. Forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but I have to provide a bit of context.
Growing up in suburban Detroit, my parents were both Depression era survivors. We grew our own vegetables, many of our own fruits, and were told stories of the draft horses that my father loved to work on the family farm that was lost during that terrible time. Mom canned the produce that we grew, or the fruit that we purchased from the farms in western Michigan, so we had high quality food year round.
My own career, despite my efforts to be more of a conventional naturalist, kept taking me from farm to farm. My knowledge base grew as I learned from every adventure and every farmer that I worked with. But then one job took me from the rural Catskill Mountains to a very urban historical park, in Lowell, Massachusetts. I attended a conference there and was posed the question, “What challenges will our culture face in 25 years?” My answer was “Rural/Urban Divide,” so much so that the two cultures will collide and suffer from language differences. The answer was met with a pondering look, but I have to say I fear that I was correct.
Now we are faced with a President-elect who was elected in large part by people who do not live in urban areas. The media says these people are “less educated.” I say they have received a different set of lessons. Now I hear the news talking about the push to teach our children how to code, and to explore technology earlier and earlier in life. These same parents do not even know where their food comes from, yet they want their children to learn more about artificial intelligence than human interaction.
I worry about the violence in our streets, and the self-centered aspects of our culture, and celebrate that my farm keep me humble, and grounded. On a farm, that type of attitude can get you killed, or at least injured, if you don’t stay alert, and respect the animals, and equipment around you. Violence is not limited to the city street, of course, but the amount of energy expended in hard work, the sense of accomplishment, and need for patience are all tools that serve everyone well. All of these were learned by those who settled the land, and built our nation. We need to remember those traits, and learn more of that knowledge, as we move forward. I hope that this blog can be part of that revitalization.
Much of Agri-Mystery and its companions will focus on trying to bridge these gaps, and reacquaint people with the lessons from the land, the grocery store, even nursery rhymes and songs that our society was based on. Feel free to comment on my insights, share your references, and join in the conversation. Our world faces many challenges, but the tools that brought us this farm, and the technology we can now enjoy, can be combined here, to create a better future for each of us. Thanks, Pat