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Hi Ho, The Derry-O, the Farmer's in the Death

My fantasies of Old-MacDonald idyll have been shattered by years of actually coaxing food from the earth. As I sweep weeds out of the carrot beds with my long-handled hoe, I kill far more than I nurture.

One thing that draws me to farming is close involvement with the mysteries of birth, life, and death. Creatures have been born into my hands, and passed from life through them. Many people I have talked to are reluctant to look at the death it takes to keep them alive. Perhaps the role of the farmer is as intermediary, shielding people from the incredible amount of life energy it takes to get that carrot to your plate, let alone the rabbit. Deer are shot out of soybean fields so that we can eat tofu. I dedicate my life to living lightly on the planet, and I'm just not seeing a way around causing death.

I'm never eager to kill another creature, not even the vigorous bindweed. I would worry if I were. But I am a player in this ecosystem. The farm humans make choices about who lives and dies. All humans do, actually, based on how you vote with your fork. I have the luxury of living in the ecosystem I eat from, and so being in touch with the destruction I cause.

I eat beautiful plants and animals. My challenge, then, is to make my life as meaningful as I can so that their beautiful lives are not feeding an ugly one.

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