Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two. Sustainable Ag

Here's something else about myself: I am studying sustainable agriculture at the University of Missouri. This is a little strange considering that I have no background in farming and came to Missouri to study photojournalism. Sometimes I can feel out of place in the ag school, having such a different background than most of the other students in my classes. But learning about agriculture touches something within me. It excites me. I love how I'm gaining a better perspective on how food is made in this country and what we can do to grow food in a more sustainable way. It is incredible that the whole agricultural system can be so easily overlooked. It is incredible that farmers--the people who feed us--are some of the most underpaid workers. And it is incredible how disconnected we have become from our food sources.

I am excited to join the movement of localizing our food production and growing quality over quantity. I am excited to become one of the players in making a small difference in the nature of our agricultural system. Natalie and I don't know exactly what we'll do when we graduate. Right now, the thought is to have a small-scale farm, close to or in a city. We would grow organic vegetables and maybe have chickens and goats. We would sell produce at a farmers' market. Natalie would make jams and preserve vegetables from the farm. For now, these are thought and dreams. We'll see if they become reality.

The photos are from the Martz Farm in Columbia. They raise free-range pasture-fed beef, lamb and chickens. We took a field trip to the farm in my sustainable ag class. It is a beautiful farm on rolling hills with lush, green pasture.

If you're interested in these issues, I would suggest you watch the documentary, "Food, Inc." Natalie and I watched it the other week. It made us a little upset (in a good way).



  1. My family are farmers from India. We have farms right near our house and it's been there for hundreds of years. Since my dad's side of the family live in a village, we plant our own food there and make our own bread.

    Sadly though, my father moved to Canada in the 80s with my mother to raise us kids here, and although we have a small garden in the back where my mother grows a few vegetables and fruit, we kids don't know much about farming or growing plants. I realized not too long ago though, that I have a love for growing food and cooking, and I try to learn things from my mother when we go out in the backyard to see what's growing.

    With winter coming, we won't have enough food in the garden growing, and we usually buy our food from the supermarket (we have a big family, so apparently it's easier this way) and one of the things I really want to do is incorporate the farmers' market in our grocery shopping. Since I live in the city, most of the farmer's markets are long drives away, by the outskirts of the city. If we had one real close, I would be there almost every day.

    I don't know much about the US in terms of fast food, but most people here don't usually eat out. I mean, some people do have fast food frequently, but a lot of people make their own food (well, not growing it, but buying it from the store instead of going out to eat constantly). I don't particularity go out to eat in fast food restaurants, I don't have any need to do so. I literally don't have a desire to eat in a fast food restaurant whatsoever.

    I haven't been in McDonalds for over ten years. I'm a vegetarian, and have been my whole life. You can't miss what you've never had. I don't plan on eating meat either. When I'm older, I want to own a farm and donkeys (I have had a fascination with donkeys as of late....). My relatives in India have cows.

  2. That turned out a lot longer than I meant. Sorry.

  3. this entry makes me so happy!
    i cannot wait for us to live a happy life on our small vegetable farm with little chickens running around happily!
    love you, hub!

  4. I love your dreams of farm life! I hope we are always in touch with you and Natalie - and it would be a dream come true to live in the same community for years and years. Where do you think you guys might live someday? We are still trying to figure that out for ourselves - and of course God has the last word on that one, so we are definitely praying to find the right place!

  5. Luke you're amazing! I love you!

  6. Its so exciting to read about other young aspiring farmers. I too did not grow up on a farm and went to school for horticulture to then move on to several farm apprenticeships which led me to run a 120 member CSA with my husband for 8 years. I now am the director of farming for a non profit which turns under utilized land into sustainable agriculture projects. A short documentary was made about my hubbie and I called Fridays on the Farm.
    We now live in a small urban style town. we have a very small piece of land but manage to fit in chickens, veggies, fruit, composting, and a rain barrel. keep visualizing those dreams and fantasies and they will become a reality:) and I really enjoy reading both yours and your sweet wife's blogs
    happy Spring! Happy Farming

  7. So you love planting?By the way nice pictures.

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  8. luke,

    i enjoyed finding natalie's and your blogs. i hope you do not give up on your dream of farming. over here in new jersey there is a math teacher married to an artist, and she too dreams of farming. we are a movement!



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