My Dream for All Farmers
Posted: 01/15/2015 3:59 pm EST Updated: 18 minutes ago
I know farmers in Brooklyn who raise bees on rooftops and kale in former junkyards. I’ve spoken at hippie organic-farming conferences in California at which I’ve met organic farmers, used to being considered outsiders, who are passionate about what they do. I’ve been in the homes of Mennonite farmers who speak Pennsylvania Dutch into their cellphones but drive a horse and buggy. I’ve been called a farmer (even though I’m not). Yet, nothing quite fascinates me as much as the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which has nothing organic, hippie, or Brooklyn about it.
Despite the cold weather, on opening day, 11,244 cars parked and thousands of people gathered to celebrate agriculture with 6,000 animals and more than 10,000 exhibits. For city dwellers (and other suburban, non-agricultural communities), it can feel like an alternate universe: where kids learn to sew camo outfits and enter square dancing competitions wearing them. Where teenagers raise the sheep, shear the sheep, make and dye the yarn, knit the sweaters, and then wear them with pride (and the end goal is probably not to sell them on Etsy). These are kids who raise rabbits for hopping contests and then win rabbit meat sticks as the prize.