We’re all well aware of the disconnect our modern society has with the land. Our culture has created an epidemic of nature-starved children. But the Amish people have effectively and conscientiously conserved a lifestyle centered around agriculture.
There are many reports and research studies to be found about the Amish farming success. Based on these, we know they have maintained a connection with the land, and that their farms produce some of the highest yields per acre with the least amount of resources. Today’s agricultural society can learn much from the Amish practices!
Amish children grow up with an appreciation and understanding of the land. How to work the fields, enjoy playing outdoors in the fresh air , and most importantly, how to treasure and care for the creation around them.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are those made in the great outdoors, on my Grandpa’s farmland.
My cousins and I spent hours cavorting in the meadow, pretending the large rocks on the land were our houses. We waded barefoot in the creek, catching crayfish and building dams. We rolled down the hillside, unwillingly gathering grass stains on our clothes as we laughed and raced to see who could reach the bottom of the green slopes first. We held up barbed wire fences for each other to climb through, looking for a new adventure in the pasture.
We lounged beside the pond, keeping watch for fish and turtles. We picked dandelions and blew them into the wind. We played on hay bales. We slid down massive piles of grain. And joy of all joys, I still remember how it felt when we stepped smack dab on the middle of a cow patty, just to feel it squish up through our toes. We walked down the cowpath as the sun set on the horizon of the beautiful fields.
Grandma loved her garden, and it was always fun to work alongside her. The earthy smell of tomatoes, the feel of the rich earth in my hands, the sounds of plants rustled by the soft breeze…being on that little plot of land with Grandma was a tantalizing experience for the senses. She showed us how to tell when the corn was ready to pick from its stalk, and when to dig up potatoes. I still remember the delightful experience of picking a pod of peas off the vine, opening it up, and eating those little green treasures, right there in the garden.
“These memories are part of my heritage, the fabric of my personality, and as real to me as the land itself.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, Farm Girl
I wish for my children and countless more to experience the outdoors in the way as I did. Technology isn’t the problem. The answer lies in the choices we make, and the way we decide to let today’s and tomorrow’s advances affect or control our lives. There’s no better place to be than cultivating something meaningful together, whether it be the land or a mission close to a family’s heart! George Washington said it well;
“I can truly say I had rather be at Mount Vernon than to be attended at the Seat of Government by the Officers of State and the Representatives of every Power in Europe.” ― George Washington
Let’s be good stewards and caretakers of the precious land we’ve been given charge of. Whether it’s a few garden pots on the patio, some raised beds in the backyard, or 100 acres of fertile farmland. And for at least 20 minutes a day, let’s get outside and move as a family! It will make the world a better place for all of us, and even more importantly, for our children and the generations to come.
~ Justina Dee
Heartfelt thanks to Julie Lea Waldron, street photographer from Lancaster County, PA for the beautiful snapshots of Amish life on the farm!
A few great quotes and links:
“Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.” – Wendell Berry
“We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” ― Wendell Berry