The photo taken above was in 2011 around the middle of March. Mark and I were just engaged back then and I had sweet talked him into taking part of a new initiative called Speak for Yourself through the MN Farm Bureau. He isn’t really a public speaker type, but because I wanted to do it, he lovingly sacrificed himself ;) Little did he know, 2 years and a new laptop later, we’d still be doing it.
The Speak for Yourself program connects farmers with civic groups such as rotary clubs, advisory boards, lions clubs, etc. to speak about farming today and what it all entails. We’ve done about 5 presentations now which doesn’t seem like a huge number, but when you work full-time, go to school full-time, and then farm as well, finding time to even do the dishes can be a struggle!
We just got finished doing a presentation for the Minneapolis University Rotary Club today. I was personally nervous for this one as I was figuring we would get some questions on organics, GMO’s, Tiling, etc. The audience was GREAT. They asked a ton of questions, were open to what we were telling them ,and in fact were doing research on a lot of the issues for themselves. Most of them stated they were finding out that as whole, farmers are doing a great job! I loved to hear this. I worry about whether consumers think food is safe, if they think we aren’t doing enough for the land, or maybe they just wonder why we tile our fields at all. I want to answer all those questions honestly and accurately and be able to teach everyone that I care deeply about the land. I feel like I pour my blood, sweat and tears into that land and it’s definitely got a hold of me. I just hope I can convey how much it means to me at the end of the day to be able to farm it like my ancestors did.
The best part was at the end of today, the rotary club had a children’s book that we got to sign and then they donated it in our honor to the Jeremiah Program. How cool is that? That definitely made my whole day.
Mark tells me often he isn’t the public speaker that I am, but I’m glad I get him out there in front of these groups. He has a wealth of knowledge to share and farming means more to him than I can explain. He pretends to not like it, but secretly he does. I think he’s glad I forced him to sit through 3 days of training so we can represent Speak for Yourself.