Dear farmers on social media,
Almost 11 years ago I met a farm boy while attending the University of Alberta, and within a few short months, I knew he was going to be the man I would marry. I was finishing my degree in nursing and he was starting his degree in crop sciences in the agriculture program. The idea of picking up my life and moving 3 hours away from all my family and friends in Edmonton, Alberta was never daunting to me. I longed to live on the farm, and I had a career which allowed me to work anywhere that there were hospitals, and I was excited to become a farm wife.
We were married in 2007 and we lived almost our first year of marriage in Edmonton while Jay finished his degree, and in the spring of 2008 we officially moved into the 100 year old farmhouse on the farm in the same yard as my in-laws. I missed my amazing job as a pediatric nurse working with so many dear friends, but the transition was made easy on me making new friends at my new rural hospitals and having in-laws that felt like my own family.
It actually wasn’t until last spring — even with a new home built, a dog, and two children later — that I felt the struggles of being a farm wife come to the surface. I don’t know why it took so long for me to realize how hard it can be to be a farm wife who picked up and left her entire life behind her. Gone was my hometown, my family, my lifelong friends, and my dream job—all for a life on the farm with the man I love (and I still wouldn’t trade it for anything!). My friends and family were quite surprised that I took to my new life on the farm so easily and that it took so long for it to hit me.
I have been called too emotional for sharing my personal stories, but blogging has always been extremely therapeutic for me and it’s why I started this blog in the fall of 2009. I have always used it as an online journal to keep my family and friends back home up to date. It’s about me, sharing my story…the good and the bad and the sad. I needed an outlet for all of my goings on, and I have found that sharing personal things such as my dad’s death and struggle with alcoholism and most recently our miscarriage, has helped bring me a community that can grieve together when I can otherwise feel alone. If ever any words I write helps one person relate—I call that a win.
I started blogging specifically about agriculture 2.5 years ago when a lot of the people in my mommy blogging circles started writing about the “evils” of farming and agriculture. I barely knew what a GMO was, and thus my ag blogging journey began. I was a city girl who married a farmer, and I felt I could relate to what they were skeptical of and worried about. Canadians are now 3 generations or more removed from the farm, yet are more interested than ever in being connected to their food and learning where it comes from. I didn’t know the difference between a combine and a swather when I married into a 4th generation farming family, but I saw how passionate my husband was and his fervor for farming infected me with a desire to learn, and to share what I was learning with my readers.
I’m in a unique position because I built my blog in the “mommy blogging” community and my primary audience is moms of young children. When I blog about agriculture and farming, I blog for them—the consumers—not for farmers. I research and write the food and farming articles I do, to share with people who want to know more about food and farming. For those who are as far removed from the farm as I was, or more. I do not share what I learn to “educate” or teach farmers, to speak on their behalf, to advocate for them, or to say that what we do is better than what they do. I am not an expert on all things farming, I’ve never claimed to be, and I certainly don’t think my little blog is going to “change the world”, by any means. My blog posts are for concerned parents who just want the best for their children like I do, and anyone who wants to know more about what happens on our family farm. We have nothing to hide here and I want to share what we do with the world.
Believe it or not, farmers have been my most harsh critics on social media. I have been called a liar (and a lot more derogatory words) for transparently stating how much glyphosate we spray on our canola crops. Every single agriculture post uses facts and is evidence-based and has the approval of my husband’s eyes before I hit publish. I email and tweet with industry experts, I do phone interviews with entomologists, ag researchers, agronomists and other farmers. I want to be sure that the information I publish on my website is accurate and factual. This is not a “how-to” guide for farmers or blanket statements for all of agriculture across the board. This is insight for consumers or anyone who has a question about how we farm and why — on our farm.
I have been made fun of for asking my husband questions after sharing photos of crops and not knowing everything there is to know about them (when it was planted, what variety, what we sprayed it with, etc.). I get the impression that some farmers think I shouldn’t share information unless I know absolutely everything there is to know about it, but I love learning and sharing what I learn—you don’t have to read it or share it if you don’t support my thirst for knowledge. I don’t think, nor do I ever claim, that I am expert or that I know what is best for our farm or anyone else’s.
Sorry, not sorry, farmers and anyone who just doesn’t understand the purpose of blogging and why I choose to blog, in particular about agriculture. I love agriculture and I love sharing what I learn about this amazing industry. I like to myth bust at an amateur level and I love (for the most part) the community that it as brought me. I get lonely on the farm at times, I’m human. I’m really glad to have the friends and fellowship of women, and even some men, that can relate to what I’m going through. The community created around this blog has for the most part been very positive and very uplifting and I wouldn’t trade it for anything (even if it does bring bullying my way).
So yes, I blog about personal stories, about agriculture and even about the food I cook for my family. I share things I learn as a parent, like sleep training our kids and tips for traveling, in hopes of making someone else’s experience a bit easier. I realize that blogging and blog reading is not for everyone, but hopefully this gives you insight as to why I do it all. Instead of making fun of me and other bloggers, try to get to know us and why we do what we do.
I do not blog for farmers or on the behalf of farmers, I blog for anyone who wants to read what I write. It also bears reminding that I do not advocate on behalf of farmers, I share what we do on our farm.
Thanks for reading,