Farmers paid my way through college. I majored in Food Science at UC Davis and finished with no student loans. Food Science is an agricultural study. Associations like Tri-Valley growers, Women in Agriculture and National Food Processors gave me scholarships to pay for school. Food is grown, gathered or raised.
I have struggled with my background. It was embarrassing in junior high to have chores like cleaning the chicken cage and composting the garden while other kids went to the mall and on vacations. Nine years of 4-H taught me that it is much easier to buy jam than make it. Three years working at an orchard for “farm wages” motivated me to find easier work for higher wages. Orchard work is uncomfortable, hot and requires long hours during harvest. At fourteen, my goal in life was to have an easier, more interesting life.
After receiving my degree in Food Science, I began work in an industrial area of Los Angeles. I had a small apartment, no pets, no chores and a view of concrete. I visited the mall, went to the gym, watched movies and partied. My biggest concerns were how I looked in a bikini,how tan I was and boys. I didn’t miss hauling fire wood, shoveling manure, moving sprinklers and harvesting the garden. Fast life seemed fun, but it was unsatisfying. I longed for substance, discipline, and community.
Thankfully, I met my husband and we decided to move from Los Angeles for a slower life. We both grew up in agricultural communities, although, I was the only one who grew up on a small farm.
Like most of us, I loved the Superbowl commercial “God made a farmer” and appreciate the message. My upbringing gave me discipline, a work ethic, a sense of community and an appreciation for the hard work that is required to feed the world. Thank you farmers, I’m proud to be an Aggie.
I now realize how lucky I am to be an Aggie and :
to know how to sew clothes
to know how to can fruits and vegetables safely
to know how to make jam (homemade is a million times tastier than store-bought)
to make bread and plan a meal
to have grown up eating grass feed cattle (that we butchered)
to have grown up eating fresh eggs
to have real honey from family’s honey bees
to have milked a goat
to have had fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the garden (a million times better than store bought)
to have learned that county and state fairs are more than rides and attractions
to have learned discipline
to have learned how to work hard
to appreciate others for what they have to give