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April 13, 2014

Nostalgia - Farming Deserves More Respect Part 4

"They are bi-coastal experts on agriculture, armed with a touching nostalgia for a life they never lived."

Consumers in our business are a given, we provide an essential component that all humans require.  Technology is ever changing, has and will be something every industry deals with.  But name one other industry where nostalgia plays such a pivotal role.

This line - "they are bi-coastal experts on agriculture, armed with a tough nostalgia for a life they never lived' - is so poignant.

People love connection.  Connection to things, to other oeple, to happy situation, even to tragedy.  Tell someone you live, work or own a farms and nine times out of ten they will speak of their Grandpas or Uncles farm from when they were a kid.  People love connection and connection brings about nostalgia.

Nostalgia is a big puzzle piece in the perception of agriculture.  Everyone wants cheaper better food at their fingertips but raised just like it looks in Norman Rockwell pictures, the way they remember their visits or envision a relatives farms.  Today's farms are to look and behave nostalgic but Wal-Mart is to have everything they need regardless of the season.  They want their food raised by a man in a backyard garden but available in abundant quantities at reasonable prices - there is a disconnect and nostalgia plays a huge role in this disconnect.

Shopping for a new car no one ever walks in, looks around and says "do you have anything without an airbag or air-conditioning because that is the kind of car my Grandpa drove" - no people want the advancement and technology that science and research has provided.

"Know this about me, and most farmers: We're in this for the long haul." says Hurst. "If I'm using a new method or a new technology, I'm convinced that i's not only the right thing for me, but for my grand kids as well"

We depend on the land, we buy our food from the same places you do.  But what consumers see is us doing it differently than our great grandparents or their great grandparents and because this triggers their perception of nostalgia they tend to assume it is negative.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing!  In Chris' office hangs no less than 25 pictures of our family's farming over the last one hundred years.  I hope that one day if my kids decide to farm that they appreciate the past, understand the present, and accept the future - I don't expect them to do things exactly the way we do them today nor will their kids do things the same as them

1 comment :

  1. Good points! We see this every week at the Market. The late customers can't understand why we run out of product, don't price low, low, low and only have produce that is IN season. (uh, 'cause we're a little, bitty farm and can only produce so much and it snowed two weeks ago...?)
    I don't know why folks want the latest and greatest technology in every aspect of their life...except agriculture.
    Nostalgia is nice, but I'm pretty sure nobody really wants to go back to the "good ole days".