Thursday, November 5, 2015

Everyone Should Ride a Bicycle

Everyone should ride a bicycle!”  the lady at the market stated emphatically.


Seriously.  What do you say to something like that?

I was standing in front of our Market trailer, our Market trailer that had been full of produce when the Boss pulled out of the lane, in the dark at 5am, 12+ miles from town. The trailer alone weighs 800 pounds and it houses a small freezer that holds hundreds of pounds of meat, not to mention all the produce and the marketing paraphernalia.

…and EVERYONE should ride a bicycle?

I don’t even know if it is humanly possible to pull the trailer with a bicycle, let alone down Mbrook Road, which is nothing if not twisty and hilly (lest you think I exaggerate, parts of Mbrook Road are included in some more rigorous bike trips in the Valley as the altitude changes so dramatically over the course.) …through the darkness that is early morning in the country.  And, then turn around and haul the whole thing back home…?  After having worked all week to produce the stuff offered for sale? 


Absolute statements give me pause.

Years ago, in what often seems like another lifetime, my high school English teacher insisted that we strike EVERYONE from our writing. She pointed out that by using the word EVERYONE, you were looking from consensus of ALL people.  Not a general statement, but TOTAL agreement.  And, while she also pointed out that “Strong, absolute words should not be used lightly”, I will go so far as to say…TOTAL agreement is NEVER going to happen. EVER.

But, back to the bicycles…

Concern for the environment is a hot topic among our Market customers. There are lots of groups in town that are pushing for big societal changes that will “improve” (and maybe “save”) the world.   …the portion of the world that they see anyway.

By insisting that EVERYONE comply with a certain idea, we assume that each person is exactly the same…missing entirely that we are indeed individuals with specialized talents and differing needs.

 This is simply short-sightedness.

I’m all for environmental awareness.  The tenets of earth day – reduce, re-use, restore, recycle, refurbish ---are taken for granted on any farm…EVERY day. 

…and no matter what you hear about farmers, or farming practices, Al Gore was right when he stated that “Farmers were the first environmentalists”.  They—WE--- have to be.  Our resources are limited, and we know that.  We have to be careful, thoughtful stewards of our small portion of the Earth.

Farming is something that MUST continue on, despite the limited resources, environmental concerns and dwindling workforce. Without farms…we will ALL (yes, absolutely ALL) be cold, hungry and naked. (or worse)

The ways that farming operations practice good stewardship look far different than what happens in town.  The similarities between backyard gardening and growing on a commercial scale are few. And, yes, growing on a huge scale is indeed necessary if the world is going to be fed and clothed.

Commonsense will tell you that bicycles will never replace trucks, hand plows cannot replace tractors and so on.  It would take EVERYONE gardening in their backyard and EVERYONE growing/producing their own food, clothing and fuel to replace our current system. And, again, I will go out on a limb and say…that’s NEVER gonna happen! We have a global economy where everything is interconnected.

Quite honestly, we can’t return to the days of our grandfather’s farms.  There are far too many people dependent upon someone else to produce their food, clothing and fuel. This fact alone causes farmers to work harder with the environment to produce more on even less land as the population sprawls into the countryside.

But, the conversations about stewardship are needed. Reminders of the scope of the far-reaching effects of our actions are important. We should be open to new options for growing and producing food. The odd and random and sometimes bizarre sounding ideas may well be new technology or solutions to modern day problems in the making.  However, not all ideas are good and we need to be mindful of that as well. Discretion and commonsense are prerequisites in any discussions.

Among the amazing suggestions regarding our world, someone pointed out that the answer to many worldwide issues could be found by limiting food production and dictating simple farming practices and thus we would cut down on the “overpopulation” of the earth.  


My mind raced…recalling Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”
…and I very nearly blurted out…

Do you realize that you just lined up a bunch of folks for death by the prolonged and brutal means of starvation?   

The Boss actually asked…Are you willing to go first? 

The speaker wasn’t concerned as he said he possessed hunting and survival skills and he would be all right as he could provide for himself. (I think he missed the point…)

One size fits all simply doesn’t work.  There is no ONE simple answer to address the diverse needs of this world.

We should be conscientious and careful of all that we have been given. We only have one Earth for a home and we should indeed take care of it…and our fellow humans.

But, seriously…

               I can assure you…

                                   Everyone should NOT ride a bicycle.

1 comment:

  1. That sort of statement Barbara is what we here in the UK would call a Sweeping Statement. A lot of people are far too fond of making that kind of remark, often because they haven't thought it through. I used to love my bicycle but now I dare not get on it (it seems to high off the ground for a start!) and have to drive into town. Otherwise I would be isolated at home. It takes all sorts. What we should all be is mindful of the situation.