Monday, January 5, 2015

Gardening vs. Farming

Ranting time.  If you have followed my blog, you know I am generally a positive person.  This post is a rant, so get ready.

I saw a recent program on TV the other day about a contractor and designer working with a couple to fix up a house.  It is new on a different network than the usual HGTV stuff so I gave it 10 minutes of my time.  What perked my interest was that the couple wanted to purchase a house with enough land to "farm" in the Bay Area.  Those two ideas seemed like a contradiction of terms so I DVRd it to watch later and sped past 90% of the worthless part to see what the outcome would be.  At the end, the couple was so excited to start working on their yard to start farming and the program showed the house and "land".
Well, the back yard, in the middle of a city, was about a space 20 feet by 20 feet.  I was happy they wanted to grow vegetables on their property, but to call growing plants in a few pots or on a few raised beds does not mean "FARMING" to me.  That would mean vegetable gardening.  I have since heard "farming" used many times on TV programs, and people talking about what they are doing, like it is the new event to be doing, the new buzz word to be farmers.  Yet each time, the people are growing a few vegetables here and there in a very small space.

Definition of farming: "the science or practice of agriculture; the business of operating a farm. the activity or business of growing crops and raising livestock."
Definition of gardening: the activity of tending and cultivating a garden, especially as a pastime".

Now I am not opposed to ANYONE growing their own food, hurray for them for being interested and for doing it.  But let's call it what it is, not to give an impression that they are going to the back 40 acres to water when they are turning on a hose to put water in a few pots.

I don't know why this bothers me.  Maybe because it degrades what farmers/ranchers really do, the amount of real hard work that it takes to farm products that will ultimately be supplied to the public.  Farmers and ranchers don't have days off; they work when the weather is horrible, in fact, probably are working WHEN the weather is the worst because that is when the farm animals and crops need their attention the most.  And to get to the crops, farmers have to drive out either on a 4 wheeler, or a truck or ride a horse or walk.  They don't look at their crops or animals from their back door slider.
One TV person said they had to plant their "crops".  What I saw was a 6 pack of lettuce they purchased from a home improvement store and that was their planting, that was their "crop".
I love it that people are interested in anything related to planting, watering, weeding, growing, eating what they grow.  
But please, don't use the word "farming" unless it really indicates what you are doing.  You can be gardening your vegetable plants, that is admirable and indicates to your friends and family you are doing good things.  Please don't say you are farming your crops in your back yard, a few raised beds or pots or containers because it puts what you are doing into the same category as the the person who got up at day break when it was 20 degrees to go feed 1000 head of cattle or sheep; or had to thaw out pipes so they could water their animals or water their crops.  Don't say you are planting your farm when you buy a couple of 6 packs of plants from the local hardware store, when that actually may imply the same as the farmer who purchased 100 lbs of watermelon seeds or has 40 - 250 plug trays of tomato plants to put in the ground by noon.
So I am through with my ranting about these TV programs.  I think the best thing for me to do is just don't watch!!!  Well Downton Abby season is starting, that is much more interesting.
Thanks for listing to me-

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