In the last year, much has been made of the so-called rural/urban divide. We don’t dispute that a divide exists. In fact, we’ve been talking for 30+ years about the need for all of us to listen to farmers and rural residents. We believe that we all need to connect more closely to the roots of our food: family farmers.
We are making strides. In the last 15 years we have seen growing interest from urban residents in supporting family farmers, and connecting to rural communities and traditions through growing gardens, cooking and learning about agriculture. And vice versa. We see rural farmers connecting to cities—through farmers’ markets, CSA drop-offs, direct sales to restaurants, schools and other institutions, and more. Thanks to farmers and food, there are many touchpoints between urban and rural communities.
But in talking about this divide, it’s not so much about the transactional connections, as it is the cultural beliefs and values.
We have faith that we have more things in common than the number of things that separate us. From the perspective of Farm Aid’s work, I’m sure we can agree on a few things. Here are just a few:
- • We all want good, healthy food for ourselves and our families. Since we don’t want people to go hungry, we want that for others, too.
- • We want our food to come from people we trust. We don’t want it to come from a handful of corporations who take all the profit, charging us more and paying farmers less. We want to support the people who grow food here in the U.S.
- • Many of us have concerns about our food. Those concerns differ, but in general, we don’t want our food to be harmful—to ourselves, to the people who grow it, to our communities, or to our soil and water.
- • Whether we have kids or not, we don’t want to destroy the planet – we want to pass it along, in good health, to the next generation.
- • We want our communities to thrive, no matter where we live. By extension, we want our neighbors to thrive too.
We know we have differences, too. In nature, diversity creates strength and resilience. That’s true for people too. Since Farm Aid’s start, we’ve brought together people who have differences of opinion and who have a variety of farm experiences and knowledge. When we can come together, a healthy farm and food system is strengthened. We can all learn a lot from our disagreements and discussions. And sometimes, we can even change our hearts and minds.
It is with all of this in mind, that we set ourselves to the task of bringing different perspectives to you throughout 2017. Each month, we want to share with you the voices of people who represent rural and urban communities (and the ones in between!), to share our strengths and understand our different challenges and opportunities. To see how we might strengthen each other and work to achieve our shared goals.
If you want to be part of this project, please fill out the form and we’ll be in touch. We want to hear from the cities and countrysides and everywhere in between. To celebrate our commonalities and discover the things that make us unique. To find fertile ground where we can all thrive together. We hope you’ll join us!
What am I signing up for?
If selected, we’ll be back in touch with a follow up question or to have you respond to the answers submitted by your urban or rural counterpart. We appreciate your willingness to help us bring people together!