Since writing my last post about the stress and mental health issues faced by farmers, the whole topic has been weighing heavily on me. I feel like I took a step in the right direction, but maybe the step was just not big enough.
So we launched #HereForFarmers fundraising campaign for farmers mental health and will be donating the money to Farm Stress Line. (Help us! Click here to support.)
It is easy to get caught up in the controversy swirling around agriculture right now – conventional vs organic or GMO vs non-GMO, and the list goes on. What is harder, is remembering that there are real farmers, real people out there – growing our food and putting their entire lives into each seed they put down. They are facing huge amounts of stress that at times push them to the breaking point.
We have farmers who are working day and night and are quite possibly going through some of the worst times in their lives for whatever reason…and then we as consumers turn around and kick them while they are down, with often misguided ‘facts’ from a select few food ‘activists’. When you’re already feeling alone and hopeless, reading that you’re also a greedy, profit driven murderer certainly isn’t going to bring you any amount of hope.
I read an article about another farmer, a dairy farmer, who committed suicide because he was so afraid he was going to lose his livelihood. This isn’t an isolated instance, unfortunately, this is just one of many articles circulating the past few months. The Newsweek also reported farmer suicide rates is higher than the general population. It is so incredibly sad that we allow farmers, those that provide us with the very sustenance we need for survival, to get to that point. We as an industry need to stand by and support our farmers – ALL farmers. No farmer should feel alone – not with such an amazing and large industry behind him or her.
While I’m only just one small voice in a global industry, I know that one small voice can turn into hundreds of thousands when brought together. We talk about and get passionate about everything else in agriculture; let’s start talking about the farmers, their mental health and save lives.
PS: Don’t forget to check out the fundraising initiative for farmers mental health! Click here to support #HereForFarmers campaign.