Monday, September 28, 2009

Finding The Path

Last night, I sat and watched Ken Burn's "National Parks: America's Best Idea" documentary on PBS. As I intently watched, my heart began to yearn for America's wide open spaces and wonder how my life could lead to them . However, I could not help reading into the over arching preservationist attitudes presented by the film and it's somewhat negative slant on many of our early farmers and ranchers way out west. It lead me to think of America's western ranchers and their unending conservation efforts. Their continual care for some of America's most beautiful landscapes. These places are not national parks or national monuments, simply wide open spaces that allow natural resources to be converted by their animals. But, they are also beautiful and robust spaces that create a wonderful tapestry of rural landscapes that are so important to our nation. How can we help the urban population understand their meaning and significance as I and the rest of rural America do? Is there a way to make agriculture as important in America's mind as our national parks?

Now, as the description of my blog states, I am a young man stuck somewhere square in the middle of an urban and rural existence. I was born as a normal suburban kid in a town of about 40,000 people. We lived right on the city limits of town. I could walk through our back yard and directly into 100 acres of wheat planted by a neighboring farmer as well as ride my bike less than a quarter mile and see both a cattle ranch and horse ranch within view. As I have grown these places have imprinted in my being. Later at college, I met my fiancee which led me to their cattle ranch in Eastern Colorado. Over the past 6 years, my life has been transformed by the incredible experience of cattle ranching and agriculture. So much so, that I plan on returning with my fiancee to continue their agricultural traditions once we are able to amass the necessary capital to start.

I yearn to help care for land and animals all while providing Americans with food. As I delve deeper into agriculture and its people, I am deeply disappointed in the marked divide between agriculture and the urban attitude towards it. I grew up as a suburban kid, but why are some many people ignorant towards rural space? This is where I want to help bridge the gap. I know how these urban people feel, but have been given the gift to see beyond the city limits and glimpse into wide open western life and the wonderful world of agriculture.

What a wondrous idea that some forward thinking fathers of our nation had to preserve our most beautiful spaces for all to experience. How can we use this same set of ideals to allow urban people to find the path towards understanding of agriculture and the vast spaces it cares for?


  1. Congrats on starting your blog! I think there are more people like you than you realize. Trying to find that balance between rural and urban. However, you can serve as a great ambassador for those of us in agriculture. You have seen farmers and ranchers at work first hand and can help educate those that have never seen a cow or a wheat field that the environment and the welfare of our livestock are our top priorities!

  2. Your blog sounds interesting. As someone who loves rural places (and who works to see them prosper), I look forward to reading more about your thoughts on how we can bridge the divide between rural and urban.

    To answer your question “Is there a way to make agriculture as important in America's mind as our national parks?” I think it starts with a change in mindset about what farmers do. Currently farmers grow commodities, and commodities are faceless, emotionless, things. In other words, there’s no way for the American public to connect to food as they do with the scenic wonders offered by our national park system.

    That’s where I think the local foods movement has gotten it right. They are discovering ways to make what is grown by farmers connect to the emotions of consumers. In doing so, they add value to agricultural products that has been taken away by it being turned into a commodity.

    You mention being in the field of design. Isn’t the physical design of a house the same? A house can offer shelter (a commodity), but it can also be inspiring structure – when designed for that purpose.

    I’m definitely no expert in what I write above, but I thought I would share it as you start your blogging adventure. Good luck, and I hope to read more in the future.