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Monday, July 20, 2009

A Goat Treadmill and The Grangers

This weekend we visited Old World Wisconsin in Eagle WI. It is a living history museum run by a non profit which depicts rural life in the 19th century. We have been there once before but I was looking at the displays with a different perspective this time around. I was completely dismayed by the skills we have lost in the past 200 years. I feel we have become fat, lazy and complacent; completely unable to take care of our everyday needs without running to the store to BUY something. (Hmm, or maybe it's just ME who is lazy and complacent?) It makes me really mad. I am slowly learning how to take care of my family without whipping out the checkbook. I saw so many great things this weekend. I think my favorite was one of the german homesteads with the summer kitchen and brick oven (think 2 doz loaves of bread at a time-and they fired it up 2 times each week to feed their 11 children!), I also saw a goat treadmill which could be hooked up to a small thresher or a stone for sharpening. Two years ago we attended farm power days there and saw a '2 horse power' treadmill in use.

Another interesting display I missed last time was about the Grangers or the Patrons of Husbandry, in the late 1800's farmers banded together against the monopoly of railroads to effect political change. It left me wondering if farm families have any political clout. I'm talking about power for the people working the fields, not agribusiness, not Monsanto, not the Beef Counsel. Does anyone speak for them? Or are people (farmers AND consumers) just tools for big business. Approximately $0.04 worth of corn goes into the average box of cornflakes. Where does the rest go? We all have to eat, why can't farmers organize another Granger style revolution? They deserve to make a living wage.

Then I read about the crazy stupid regulations being enforced at farmers markets in Ohio-no you cannot wash the lettuce-sell it dirty or get a fine. If a deer walks across your spinach field-destroy a 30 foot path of vegetation to prevent E coli. Read more at The Food Renegade. These are our tax dollars at work! Where do I go with all this stupidity. Burke's quote 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' has me going, I am a good person but have been doing nothing-I need to DO SOMETHING.


Sue said...

I agree it's frustrating what is going on with regulations, but honestly?-I truly don't think there is much we can do. Corporations hold all the power in this country-they rule the government. I feel helpless at times. I vote with my pocketbook now, it's really the only power I think we have left.

Ruralrose said...

just a tool, peace for all