Voices 03/09/2012

Back to the bare land

This summer I forgot to be a writer and a journalist – always concentrated on my keyboard, writing about farming and food – and I decided to fully enjoy the countryside in the roasting August of Apulia, Italy.

This was a very important experience to me, since it brought me back to my childhood and youth, when I was used to help my father in the fields after school. At that time I wasn’t enjoying it. As any other child or young man, I was favoring playing and sowing my wild oats. However, I can now say that that formative experience has been extremely important to me. If I’m able to knowledgeably write about farming today it is not just because my love of it. Those years in the fields allowed me to understand the dynamics that push farmers to work the fields despite the incongruous earnings and the instable life. The profitability of farming is often an elusive and challenging chimera. I can feel fear around farmers, because of natural disasters, bureaucracy that kills farming and the advance of concrete.

Hence, this summer I came back to that life, even if I didn’t work. This full-time immersion in countryside life under the sun was great to me, and put me back in connection with the breathing of land and the emotions and fatigues of farming. I found the myself of those times and the myself of today, linked by the ancient calling for writing book and articles. So here I’m, looking for the title of this editorial that is an invitation to think. To think about the bare land.

I report here for you the image I saw of the bare land. I couldn’t see any tree, just grass and weeds; crops were just few meters apart. Then, I dedicate the editorial of this month to the bare land so that you, readers, remember the efforts that a mass of people of any race, age, sex and religion put to make what you eat everyday.

It is easy to say wine, bread, pasta, oil, vegetables and meat. We just need to go to a shop and buy as much food as we want. Doing this we forget the patience, the know-how and the efforts behind it.

This month I write to ask you to stop for a second and think about the bare land and about the mass of fare that is produced every day to feed this world hungry of food, truth and justice. It is important to think about the bare land because every day it is transformed into productive fields. This awareness imposes us to respect farmers more and to honor their efforts with more money and better consideration.

Thinking about the bare land – in every moment – recall us that farmer cannot be just an empty word. Behind this ancestral but still marginal occupation – too often ignored and mocked in the professed most-evolved societies – there are people that sow and gather for us, granting our every-day sustenance. We should change the way we look at farming. Perhaps, from the ethical point of view, a farmer is worthier then a businessman, just busy in moving moneys from one stock exchange to the other.

di Luigi Caricato