5 Powerful Truths About Farm Workers: A Celebration of Their Contributions

Hello, fellow kind humans!

A picture of Kari and her kid's on the farm.Farming may not seem like the most exciting or glamorous career choice, but it’s time to praise these often-unsung heroes of our world.  Sourcing EarthKind’s ingredients from American farms is essential to me, calling back on the nearly two decades I’ve spent cultivating the land under my boots.

Farmers’ work reaches far beyond fields and crops; it has a profound impact on our collective health around the world, our communities, and the delicate balance of this life-supporting planet.

Let’s explore the 5 things that I most appreciate about the incredible individuals who toil day in and day out to put food on our tables, clothes on our bodies, serve as the backbone of our economy, and even more importantly – nourish the soil health responsible for the collective health of all humans.

Cultivating Soil Health: How Farmers Stand as Guardians of the Earth

Picture the soil beneath your feet as the living, breathing organism that it truly is. Just as we need a balanced diet to thrive, our soil requires proper nourishment too. Farm workers are the guardians of this complex, yet delicate, balance. Especially those who practice regenerative farming techniques (like my own family), nurturing the soil through cover cropping, rotational grazing, and minimal tillage. Healthy soil isn’t just a means to an end; it’s the foundation of our existence. Soil scientists say, “Healthy humus makes healthy humans” because nutrients that pass from soil to crop find their way to our plates, ultimately shaping our well-being! This video from Farmer’s Footprint will help you understand this concept if it’s new to you.

Biodiversity Champions: Nurturing Nature for a Sustainable Future

Farm workers understand that the health of our ecosystems relies on biodiversity. They create habitats for beneficial insects, bees, and birds, ensuring that nature’s pollinators have a home. By avoiding monoculture practices and embracing crop rotation, farmers contribute to a diverse and thriving environment. Their efforts remind us that every creature, no matter how small, plays a role in the intricate web of life. Learn more about humus and soil biodiversity by watching Graeme Sait’s TED Talk.

Farmers as Water Stewards: Safeguarding Our Vital Water Supply

Water is the essence of life, and farm workers recognize their role in safeguarding this precious resource. Through sustainable irrigation methods and conservation practices, they ensure that our waterways remain clean and abundant. Their dedication helps maintain a delicate balance that benefits not only our crops but also the communities downstream. If you own your own land, the state extension agencies have excellent help. They even helped us build a nature preserve for the wildlife on our farm in western North Dakota.

Cultivating Innovation: Farmers as True Artists of Agricultural Advancement

Farming isn’t just about traditions; it’s also a realm of constant innovation. Farm workers embrace technology and science, constantly adapting to changing conditions. From precision agriculture to data-driven insights, they’re at the forefront of improving efficiency while reducing waste. Their commitment to progress underscores their vital role in feeding a growing global population. Brent Loken’s TED Talk showcases the future of farming, check it out!

Cultivating Community: How Farmers Foster Growth and Resilience

Farm workers are more than just laborers; they’re the heart of communities. They organize farmers’ markets, share expertise, and foster a sense of unity. The challenges they face, from unpredictable weather to market fluctuations, make them remarkably resilient. Their ability to adapt to adversity is an inspiration to us all, and often it’s females leading these efforts. Audra Mulkern, founder of the Female Farmer Project and my friend will open your eyes to the vital role of females in farming in this video.

From the moment we take that first bite of a crisp apple to the time we savor a home-cooked meal, the impact of farm workers reverberates through our lives. Their tireless dedication to nurturing the earth isn’t just a job – it’s a calling.

As a (former) farmer and the CEO of EarthKind, I believe that farmers hold the most important job in society. Their care for the soil, their attention to every seed sown, and their unwavering commitment to our planet’s health make them the true custodians of our future. The burdens they face paying off loans make it harder for them to do the work they love. Tragically, this makes death by suicide among farmworkers far too common. According to the National Rural Health Association, the rate of suicide amongst farmers is about three and a half times that of the rest of the population.

Let’s start fresh today, by honoring the hands that sow the seeds of regenerative farming. Their big hearts care for the land, and their innovative minds envision farmers of the future working in harmony with nature rather than competing with one another for bigger yields (which often call for more chemicals and questionable genetics). Here’s what you can do:

  1. Support farm workers by shopping at farmer’s markets (that’s where Earthkind got its start!);
  2. Buy directly from local farmers when possible (Did you know the average vegetable travels 1500 miles before it’s purchased & consumed!);
  3. Emotionally support farmers with the appreciation they deserve. Share this post, write your own, and talk to your friends and family about it.

With eternal, heartfelt gratitude for every farmworker on this great big garden planet. 👏💚

Kari Warberg Block

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