Put away your smart phone, he said.
The congressman said that from the podium as I plucked notes into my device. My husband nudged me. But, if I may defend myself, I was taking notes for the cause. Taking notes to remember the ingredients that made up the amazing platters of food, and taking notes to remember the messages that moved me.
This was the second year we were invited to the Farms Forever dinner put on by the South Sound Community Farm Land Trust. And this time, I was even more taken with the important role local farming plays in our lives. We’ve bought a share from one farm or another for over a decade, so community supported agriculture and fresh, organic vegetables are cherished in our household. During the summer and fall we routinely chomp on sweet, juicy whole carrots, rich kale, and plump cherry tomatoes that are loads better than what we can buy from the store. But this was an event to expose the larger story, connect some dots, and ensure we don’t take these things for granted.
The congressman went on to talk about farming. It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding, he said. Across from me sat a few farmers. I couldn’t help but notice their dirt-stained fingers. And that’s when I needed to stop for a minute, look at the amazing food sitting on the table in front of me, and attribute it to the hard work of real human beings.
Then the congressman invited us to think about the orcas swimming in our beloved Puget Sound. Have you seen them, he asked? Clearly, many in the room had and his inquiry conjured up excitement, because if you’ve ever seen an orca in the wild your heart simply explodes. Well, he informed, you can’t have orcas without the salmon, and you can’t have salmon without the Sound, and you can’t have a healthy Sound without clean stormwater and…family-based, community supported agriculture is one of the best ways to do that.
There were many people in that room who have know for years–even decades–what I’ve only begun to learn. As we continue to experience an uptick in the economy, and as the Thurston County population continues to grow, our farm lands need to be preserved…preserved for my children, my children’s children, and for yours.