The Honour of Bread

For many people, bread is a daily staple. For some, it’s almost a religion, but for our farmers, it’s an honour.

When I talk to the certified farmers that we have across these Australian states, there is one common string of thought that’s most often repeated: it’s the feeling of contribution and ownership, knowing that their grains are actually going to be turned into food that is nourishing families.

Farming isn’t a job that is often rewarded with pats on the back or grand awards. It’s a day in day out gig that puts you at the mercy of the elements and often the markets as well.

There has been recent (but not nearly enough) attention on the impact that this has on the mental health of people on the land, but those things are only a part of the problem. If you are going to work in agriculture, you learn to roll with those things, but there’s something that is grindingly hard to bear, and somehow much more personal.

Farmers are about the most underappreciated workforce in society.

It never used to be that way. Farming used to be a respected and admired vocation. It was well understood that these people were the pillars that make civil society possible with their daily labour. They feed and clothe us, but somehow along the way, we as people lost connection with the food we ate and became obsessed with throwaway fashion. We totally forgot about or even pushed to the back of our minds the absolutely necessary service that this group of people brings to us.

Every.

Single.

Day.

In this day and age, most farmers never get to meet the person that eats the food that they have grown. Most say that they don’t mind this, as it lets them get on with the business of farming without too much interruption.  But appreciation is totally under-rated and absolutely under-stated when it comes to farming.

I think our certified farmers are special, amazing, gifted people; specialising at nurturing soils, cultivating natural fertility, and ensuring the lands they are stewards of are left in a far better state than when they first came to manage them. But even those farmers are not immune to the general lack of appreciation.

For years they have been carefully caring for and tending their lands; attentively attuned to the needs of it to ensure it can continue to generate abundant, healthy, nourishing crops; only to have the grains they grow poured into the local grain markets and mixed with all of the others grains that are propped up with synthetic inputs.

For them to now know that their grain is reaching the potential that they had intended for it, and now being appreciated and sought after as a nourishing source of food, is one of the most satisfying and validating feelings for them.

For these farmers, farming the way they do is an act of service: and although almost all of them would deny it if you ask them to their face, it’s almost a loving gesture; an act of love, and there’s no greater feeling of contribution than to know your efforts are wanted, necessary, valued and appreciated.

So thank you to all of the talented people that also craft with care and love the daily bread that is nourishing so many Australians.

Thank you for being the link that connects our farmers’ excellent grains with consumers.

Thank you for being makers that are also passionate about the nourishment of a nation, but that care about the provenance, the nutrient value, the quality, and the chemical-free status of the products you feed your community.

Thank you for sharing with us the honour of bread that is made with integrity, all the way from the farmers’ fields to your shopfront, food van, marketplace or kitchen, that supplies family homes, cafes, restaurants, and retail stores.

And thank you for giving them back their feeling of community and contribution and for being a part of the healing of Australia’s agricultural lands.