Quite some time ago I got a comment on my blog praising my encouragement of gardening, but admonishing me that I really knew nothing about modern farming.
The tone towards gardening echoed the way my old law coworkers talked about domestic arts. Clearly not as important. “Farming” was not what I was doing.
I’ve been thinking about it lately, as the urban farming movement takes off like gangbusters. Are we really farming? Are we farmers? Or just gardeners with illusions of grandeur?
What qualities divide the backyard garden from an urban farm?
Do I have to sell my harvest to be a farmer? What if I give it away? Does sharing mean I’m not farming?
What if I only feed my family? Is that a farm? What if I feed my family most of what they eat? Is it a farm then?
If I don’t have to work at a job I hate because I don’t have to spend money on food, is that a farm?
Does a farm have a minimum size? Does it have to be in the country? Do I need big equipment to be a farmer? Do I even need a farm?
I sound facetious. I don’t mean to be. Maybe I do. I don’t know.
Does it make a difference what we call what we’re doing? Do we need to call ourselves farmers just because we feel like that way we’re sticking it to the man? Do we need that title to feel confident standing up to the agri-industry?
Does it matter?