Recently, I’ve been on the road, or in the air a lot. Fortunately my travel schedule has slowed and I can start preparing for the spring farming season. It’s also a time to reflect back on some of the experiences while gone. Several things stand out, it was a busy but successful time, and hopefully will provide some good content for my fairly dormant blog.
This news headline: “McDonald’s February sales rise 3.9%, topping view” caught my attention, and reminded me of a couple travel experiences. With the online lens I often see the world through, a corporation like McDonald’s frequently is portrayed as the epitome of all that is wrong with our current production system. Their cast as an evil corporate giant, kicking out bland food with no real concern for the health of the customers, and certainly a dying breed. We could argue the “dying breed” data from this news release, why same store sales continue to grow year over year, but a couple personal observations are intriguing to me.
I was walking through the Chicago O’Hare airport came upon one of those food courts, there must have been six to eight restaurants there. Lot’s of specialty shops that I didn’t recognize although the food (or most of it!) looked good. There was also a McDonald’s. There was a crowd in front of the McDonald’s waiting to order. In a few minutes time, I suspect more people were ordering there than all the other restaurants combined, it appeared several times more.
The same thing happened at a mall in Tampa. Marci and I were walking around, came to the food court. No McDonald’s this time, but there was a Chick-fil-A. Exact same situation, Chick-fil-A was super busy, with lines, other eating places much less so.
My point here is not to promote a given eating establishment, it is just to try to share with those that don’t understand life on the farm that the farmers I know are not activists, we don’t have agenda’s, I can say with confidence that most farmers support healthy choices, whether that be mind, body or soul. But we’re a business, and our objective is to provide the food, fiber, feed and fuel to the world. It’s not to tell you how to eat, or what to eat. It’s simply to respond to what the market wants, and do so in a way that sustains our operation not to meet the next quarterly results, but for the next generation, for years and years to come.
So the next time your on Twitter, or some random Facebook page, or whatever the new technology is that seems to inspire those with a passion to ‘fix’ all that’s wrong with us, and you wonder why more actual farmers aren’t involved in such “change the world” efforts, do me a favor. Go out to the real world, see how people are eating, at the restaurants, at the grocery store, wherever food is sold. And remember, all the diversity you see, all the choices you see, behind every one of those is simply a farmer, responding to what people want.