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Fresh Facts Week 42: Innovative Roots

So this past week Carol and I went to some good friends’ daughter’s wedding in Sedona, AZ. Now there’s a magically, forbiddingly beautiful place.

   I could see the father of the bride needed to do something the morning of, so we took a little loop hike off through the rocks and cactus to sweat off some energy and burn some time.

   If you tripped, landing on jagged rocks was going to be the least of your worries. It seemed everything green had thorns anywhere from 1 to 5 inches long, but it was also interesting to be still and see all the teeming life everywhere.

  Remarkably, Sedona gets twice the rainfall we do in Kingsburg and everything living there—whether people or plants—was designed to capture and store that moisture when it came for use the other 360 days.

   I really enjoy growing crops. I really enjoy our family, but if I had to go in the witness protection program, it wouldn’t be hard to adapt to exile in Sedona.

   Another little aside, the wedding party was huge, plus tons of friends. Super fun-loving early 20 somethings from the same small college other side of the country. Articulate, respectful, sincere, bright young people—millenials. Their parents had done a great job and clearly prepared them for positive leadership.

   From Sedona we flew to Washington, D.C. where we received an award for being one of the most innovative farms in the country. It seems what they call innovation, I would have just called adapting to survive (kinda like that cactus back in Sedona), but what made it very special was the jury of our peers who made the selection.

     So here’s my observation, and I may be all wrong, so take it for just a farm boy looking at the world through dusty glasses. It seemed a prerequisite for attending this gathering either as an awarder or awardee was the same as the requirement for boarding the plane in Dallas for the flight home to Fresno; lack of pretense.

   Here were people who had done some really incredible things with their farms and for their communities, but would not have stood out on the flight back to Fresno nor Missoula. It’s kind of an unwritten rural code inherited through the centuries that demands deflection and punishes aggrandizement.

   I know this “quietly just get your job done with excellence” attitude makes our communities better and stronger, wonderful places for kids to grow up and take their places in, but I fear the same attitude presents itself as not that bright. After all, if you don’t toot your own horn, who’s gonna? You work the same land for six generations? Where’s the upward mobility in that?

   But ya know, there’s deep satisfaction working with a grown son and daughter producing ever more flavorful fruit and good jobs in spite of the ever increasing challenges in the same place their great, great grandparents did.

   Like that cactus, we’ve got some very innovative roots that maximize every single drop that comes our way. EAT HEALTHY!!!

Author Uncle Vern

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