Love Letter to the Island – Dear Local Farmers
December 2023, Island Resilience, Letter to the Island

Love Letter to the Island – Dear Local Farmers

By Emilia Flor

Dear Local Farmers:

You are heroes! I think you are extraordinary. We love farmers, gardeners, seed-savers, and soil-makers.

I would like to take this opportunity to express how much I value YOU, local growers. I commend you as those whom we rely on to make sure we have local seasonal food to eat. I feel an intense pride thinking about our earth stewarding community.

All gardeners, harvesters, wild foragers, and food producers, I have a sweet spot in my heart for you. I can relate, as growing my own food on a small scale is rewarding and allows direct connection with the land and water. I love growing my own food because it gives me purpose on this planet. It is easy to feel lost in the modern age, and growing food is something that, no matter how far it pushes me over the edge, is still grounding.

The story of humanity starts on a farm. It might have been called the Garden of Eden, but when you look at what Adam and Eve were given to do, they were farmers. We cannot accurately understand the history of our world unless we understand the history of agriculture. Civilizations have risen and fallen based on agriculture. Our farmers, you are the most important part of our society. Three times a day, our Island depends on you to thrive. You put in long hours and hard labor to grow real food, fresh as it gets, grown in our community by folks we actually know and appreciate. I thank you for the healthful, delicious eating in harmony with the seasons. And how it supports families. A local economy. The greater good.

I commend the values you embody. These are the values that bind the fabric of society together. Faith, sense of family, and understanding of community. When I look around our community, I see farm families serving on boards and in leadership positions, and it gives me hope that common sense will prevail. Let us not forget your work ethic. I have engaged many youth in various events and you can always spot a farm kid; they work smarter, harder, and stay longer.

Our country was founded by farmers. The Native Americans who lived here long before the Europeans arrived were agriculturalists and pastoralists who understood the soil, the weather, and crops. When the Pilgrims arrived, they first put seeds in the ground.

If you’ve ever been to George Washington’s farm at Mount Vernon, you understand our first President was first a farmer, then a soldier, then a politician. Thomas Jefferson said, “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute more to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” What did Lewis and Clark bring back that Jefferson liked the most? Seeds. He was fascinated with various plants and crops that were grown out west.

Every child in America would be served by integrating agriculture into every subject they’re taught. Maslow’s hierarchy of need places food as the most important part of our sustenance, so it only makes sense that we know how to grow our own. Agriculture studies could be a primary part of every college’s general education credits like math, English, humanities, and science.

Farmers, I hope you know the affection for you from this community runs deep. As Vashonians, we love all things that grow. Because so much of who we are, how we celebrate, mourn, create, and connect with each other culturally revolves around food, we treasure opportunities to share a meal and drink. You are more than local farmers, growers, producers, you are our neighbors, friends, and family. You are our history and heritage. You are us.

Thank you for producing your best work.

December 8, 2023

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