by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, October 17, 2018
A few weeks ago, I was at work picking up the recycled newspapers for the farm. My 3 year old was with me wearing his plaid shirt and cowboy boots. One of the family members saw him and remarked at how cute he was dressed as a cowboy.
My little Connor stood there and listened to her. He quietly lowered his head and looked at the ground shyly. He raised his head up slowly and made eye contact with her.
“I’m not a cowboy. I’m a farmer boy!”
She chuckled at his response and said, “Oh, you don’t want to be a poor farmer! Better to be a doctor or an engineer.”
We all kind of laughed about it and parted ways. Her statement didn’t sit quite right with me. The older generation still believes in that old stereotype and now the internet generation has the belief that we are some evil villain. What in the world is happening?
For too long, farmers just did their work and others told our story. We ignored and and kept working with no idea that those tales would start to define us. It is already tough doing farm work and having to advocate for what we do, but we must.
Everyday we need a farmer. They deserve credit for why most aren’t in the fields. The elites of the West are blocking technology to farmers in the developing world because they fear progress means the end of rural life. While we farm using high tech, we are still farming the same way we did decades ago doing much of the work one fruit at a time. We don’t have a factory of mechanized processing despite growing biotech fruits.
Progress doesn’t mean standing in the way of tools. If you do not farm, why should you dictate how farming should be done? We need to be utilizing science-based policies to sustain farms. If we did not use science, our family farm would’ve ended with my dad. We need continuous research and innovation so that the vision of a great-grandfather can continue for another generation.
Help support family farms now. Educate others so that they know our plight.