Life is a journey, one that often does not involve straight lines. While there is always a destination in mind, I would argue that the journey is many times just as important as the end point.
Food production in the United States is varied. The journey of making food is full of diversity and yet the end goal is always the same: safe nourishment to feed our bodies.
There is no doubt that food production has changed dramatically during my lifetime. The journey that Matt’s grandfather and Archie took to grow food does not look the same as the one that Matt and I take in 2013.
We can have a discussion as to whether or not this change is positive, but that discussion does not alter the fact that food production methods constantly evolve. There is no doubt in my mind that my daughters’ journey will take them down even more diverse pathways than those that Matt and I have traveled.
My perspective on modern food production has widened since moving to Nebraska and learning the different ways that food is grown. As I experience it, I learn to both understand it and to realize the benefits that come from having many different types of food production systems.
I manage a cattle feed yard where animals are raised in a concentrated setting to make food. I believe that I offer humane animal care, and I am devoted to producing a safe and high quality beef product; but there is no doubt that I participate in a very modern food production system.
One of my favorite “hobbies” is gardening. When I garden, I use a good old fashioned hoe that likely looks the same as the one that Matt’s grandmother used. Just as I love to use my hands to raise cattle and beef at my feed yard, I also love to use them to grow vegetables and flowers in my back yard.
There are nights in the summertime when almost all of the food that is on our table was grown by us. While it was all “home grown”, it came from varied production systems. It all tastes good and it is all healthy—from the beef that came from my feed yard to the vegetables that came from my backyard.
I love those dinners because they help me to realize how important it is to be in touch with food, and to understand what it takes to grow it. I am reminded that a varied food production system is a good thing—it provides a practical way for me to have choices and diversity at my table.
So, when it comes to food production, I am a believer…
- I believe that there are many responsible ways to grow safe food.
- I believe that the diversity of the United States food production system allows for Americans to have choices.
- I believe that having choices is a good thing.
The important ingredient to food production is a devotion to quality—I see that both at my cattle feed yard and in my back yard garden.
The journey weaves and flows in diverse directions, but it always come back to the goal of safety and wholesomeness of food. Food that I proudly grow for both you and my family.