Katie Pinke / Forum News Service
I walked into my grandma’s 100-year-old farmhouse last Sunday afternoon and found Grandma Nola in the kitchen making cream cheese for a red velvet cake she had baked. Grandma’s 1950 bachelor’s degree in home economics still gets used in her daily life. My mom and two daughters were there also. We all sat around the kitchen table in conversation. I didn’t say it at the moment, but four generations in that kitchen meant a lot to me.
Costco pulled Roundup from its shelves this year as a reaction to a California’s jury decision to award a man $80 million in his claim that Roundup was the cause or factor in his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. My reaction is science is under attack and farmers feel it. Agriculture feels it. Scientists and science and research-based companies certainly experience it firsthand. But now it’s reached your everyday basic gardeners.
When the high temperatures rise above freezing and the daily lows stay below freezing, the sap starts to run in maple trees. On Saturday, April 6, at Maplewood State Park near Pelican Rapids, Minn., the volunteer group Friends of Maplewood put on a demonstration to show how maple sap is captured and made into maple syrup.
What is the most boring town in your state? Do you live in it? If we were sitting around together, with a show of hands, I think many of you may admit that you live in a boring town, if not the most boring town. But I wouldn’t raise my hand. I don’t believe in boring towns.
The first Sunday that we aimed for a 4-H meeting followed by a tour of Rocky and Kelly Brown’s sheep barn, it was post 16 inches of March snow. As we all needed to dig out from the blizzard, the meeting and tour were pushed back to the following Sunday. On Sunday, March 24, I counted 29 kids between Cloverbuds, ages 5-7, and older 4-H club members in the Browns’ garage. The Browns’ son and fellow 4-H club member Berkeley gave a demonstration to the group on raising sheep and lambs and his preparations for the county fair in the summer.
With the convergence of Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day on March 8 and National Ag Day on March 14, I’m at the crossroads of many aspects of my life. Quite frankly, as a 40-year-old American woman in agriculture and business, I thought we’d be farther along with gender equality issues in 2019. I’m also a former athlete, coach and mom of three kids who all participate in an array of sports. A few weeks ago, I showed my daughters, ages 9 and 11, a Nike commercial I saw on Serena William’s Instagram account. Narrating the ad, Williams says:
What do corn farmers and vegans have in common this week? They were both upset with commercials during the Super Bowl. Corn farmers are upset with Bud Light’s “no corn syrup” ads, insinuating corn syrup in beer is a bad thing. Vegans and PETA didn’t like Hyundai's “Elevator” car shopping ad referencing a vegan dinner party with a “beet loaf.” I laughed out loud at the Hyundai ad. I reacted as an agriculturalist to the Bud Light ad and knew instantly corn farmers were going to be ticked and react.
Do you shop on Sunday mornings? I don’t. In fact, my home state of North Dakota is the only state with a law that doesn’t allow you to shop on Sunday mornings — nor does it allow business owners the choice to be open for businesses. Once the clock strikes noon, doors can open, but that’s only been allowed since 1991. Before then, the closed sign didn’t change on Sundays. Maybe it sounds idyllic to you because everyone goes to church on Sunday mornings. But that’s not reality.
It’s a new year. Maybe you just joined a gym and are cutting calories — but I’m here to tell you it’s time to bring back an old tradition that adds calories to your life, an art we’ve lost in this hectic culture. I say “old” ever so delicately because I turn the page from one decade to the next this week and enter my 40s. My mom reminded me of this tradition when she arrived in my kitchen at Christmas and said, “Katie, grab your pie cookbook for me, please.” For a second, I panicked. Did I have the pie cookbook in my cabinet?
The narrative of women in agriculture is often quieter and lesser told than that of men. I’ve seen that change over the past 15 years, but there is still work to be done. I know of hundreds, women and men, who are working to change it for the better on many fronts.