When I was a little boy growing up in New York City I became aware of the environment, and our planets health, because of a television ad which depicted an elderly, wise looking American Indian canoeing through trash strew rivers and watching highway drivers throwing trash out of their windows. It closed with a tear running down his face. I was just a boy but I will never forget the image, and I’ll bet I am not alone.
At our farm in Connecticut we have grown vegetables organically, with no chemical sprays of any kind, for twenty years. Our farming was directly related to how we felt about the environment and a chemical free world we wished for future generations. It seemed “alternative” back then but today terms like organic, local, and green, are pretty much understood for what they are.
This year our farm will help celebrate Earth Day in three different forums. We will set up a stall in front our town hall and participate in the environmental committee’s official Earth Day celebration. There will be “green” businesses participating though many will have come from other parts of the state. In our town we are amongst a handful or businesses that could be considered “green”.
We will offer some fresh spring greens to the public, and our locally produced food products like our pasta sauce made from our tomato crop of 2008. It is our hope to let the towns people know that they can do their part by supporting local farms, when in season, and that being “green” is more then a one day commitment.
We will also speak to school kids at an Earth forum in New York City.
What is really cool is that this same school and my farm established a program where the kids come in late Spring to plant crops, and perform simple soil and water tests (some basic earth science). Then in early autumn they return to harvest what they planted. Not only do the kids have a blast, they also learn the positive effects of organic farming and what we are doing to bring better, healthier, food to their table while helping to improve the environment.
Lastly we will take part in a local natural and organic market’s Earth Day celebration because when their business started they were amongst the first to buy locally produced produce in our county. Their support of local farms was a conscious, environmentally responsible act and we have always believed they were pioneers in our area of spreading the word about organic food production.
I never wanted to be the wise old man in the canoe who cries because of the way people treated our environment, and I doubt anyone of you do, too.
We all share the responsibility of keeping it clean. Happy Earth Day.