When you think about farmers, which images come to mind?
Western discourse and stereotypes paint the picture of a man wearing overalls and a cowboy hat carrying around a pitchfork. (Don’t believe us? Do a quick “farmer” image search and see what comes up.) What’s more, these farmers are thought to lack schooling, often believed to be both ignorant and unable to manage their own futures. However, when challenged, this stereotype doesn’t hold up. When you really look, you will see that a farmer is so much more than a man in a denim getup.
You will see Debal documenting DNA sequences of 1,600 varieties of rice, Adolfo saving seeds to protect his community’s livelihood, Kalyani building a women’s farming cooperative that reduces the workload and costs for all, and Chandran preserving animal breeds and pioneering animal husbandry. You will see some of the world’s brightest scientists, the most resourceful inventors, inspiring community leaders, visionary educators, guardians of the world’s cultures, and stewards of our planet.
These farmers—and so many others like them all over the world—are tackling some of our biggest global challenges (poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation, to name a few) while promoting gender equality, preserving traditional and Indigenous knowledge, and reinvigorating rural communities They are changing the face of modern agriculture one farm at a time, reversing a top-down, corporate-run system that isn’t healthy for people or our planet; a system that relies on animals confined in cages, vast swaths of land planted with a single crop, chemical fertilizers streaming from low-flying airplanes, and cheap, exploited labor.
Yet around the globe these farmers are marginalized, their voices unheard. They are undervalued, underestimated, and dismissed. It is time for this to change. It is time we recognize and celebrate these farmers for the incredible work they are doing: fighting poverty, supporting local economies, preserving traditions, and promoting social justice and gender equality while protecting our planet and feeding the world.
On September 14, A Growing Culture will be holding a benefit dinner hosted by Mark Bittman at Haven’s Kitchen. The proceeds will support smallholder farmers around the world. Please join us and help change the way the world views farmers.
The #IStandWithFarmer videos are a collaboration between A Growing Culture and The Source Project.