Blah, blah, blah, blah” followed by “yada, yada, yada.” If you were to ask me, this pretty much sums up my entire day.
As a teacher of the greatest subject ever, English, I often feel what my students hear sounds more like Charlie Brown’s school teacher than the exciting and interesting information I attempt to immerse my students in. This is exhausting during a good, normal year. Add COVID-19 to the equation and I’m exhausted. It’s like juggling 200 balls and each is coated in lard and smoking hot.
I come home and I enjoy the silence of my house and my amazing dog. I enjoy that silence like some people enjoy a fine wine or good cigar. Silence allows me to recharge and get ready for the next day. Yet, I’m finding that my time outside the classroom is no longer allowing me to stay silent. I need to use my voice to speak up about issues that I am passionate about.
See, right now, I am not sure if you have been paying attention or not, but there are a lot of really loud voices yelling about all the things they are passionate about. That’s fine. It is the beauty of America. We are allowed to agree, disagree, and compromise; it’s a fundamental concept and it’s beautiful when done right. It’s led to spirited debates and lines like Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” and countless others that have emerged through the ages as people defended their positions. However, there is one thing that all these passionate people have in common — they belonged to an organization that supported their beliefs and allowed them to act. That is important.
Being a member of the Ohio Farm Bureau has given me that platform to use my voice to advocate for beliefs that are important to me around issues of food, education, agriculture and government policy. Even the fun stories I write every time serve a purpose — I am trying to convince you to see the value in preserving a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. I share with you the memories that are the most important to me, giving you an insight into my life and the memories that have lingered with me over the years.
My purpose is to convince you to become involved in something that will create memories and enhance our community, country and world. Children do not remember hours spent in front of video games or watching YouTube; they remember the adventures in the outdoors, discovering new things, the mud, the dirt, the sights, the smells, the ordinary moments that become snapshots in time as they age. Yet, none of this is possible if our farmlands, parks or wooded spaces disappear.
None of this is possible if people do not become involved in government policy that influences nature, farming, conservation and the environment. None of this is possible if more people do not understand how agriculture impacts their everyday lives and how non-farmers’ lives impact farmers’ lives. We truly live in a world where we are all dependent on each other and it is important that we become informed about the lives of each other.
I encourage you to explore Farm Bureau and all the options it provides. From programs for youth and young agricultural professionals to programs for farmers and those concerned about food, Farm Bureau has a bit of everything for everyone. Check us out at our website.
Submitted by Christen Clemson, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau, who has completed her Ph.D. at the Pennsylvania State University. She and her family farm in Mecca Township.
OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.