Today my blog is 5 years old. YAY!
I thought I’d share some of the things I have learned along the way. I started this blog as a bit of personal therapy and today, I’m going back to the roots. If you’re expecting this to be an uplifting post, you should probably stop reading here because I’m an honest person and this journey hasn’t been rainbows and puppies. I’ll be honest, five years in and I am burned out on agvocacy. I don’t think I’m ready to hang up my hat just yet, but I certainly have thought about it. I hope this list will help others who have experienced this pitfalls, know that they aren’t alone.
So here goes, 5 things I’ve learned in 5 years of blogging.
- I’m not pizza. I can’t make everyone happy. It never fails, I click publish on a blog post or a post to my facebook page and someone has to respond with a comment telling me that I am wrong. This has extended to my personal page as well. I’m a member of several different types of agriculture related Facebook groups, in those groups I often find myself standing up for one type of farming that is being bashed. This has lead people to think that I am anti-small farm, anti-organic, anti-conventional ag, anti-science, a GMO lover and probably a host of other things that I don’t even know about. The truth is that I am pro-farmer and I will defend farmers of all types when I see them being bashed, end of story.
- People have unfair expectations of others. Expectations are all fine and dandy but it seems that people are confused about how they apply their expectations to other people. I’ve had MANY comments from people upset at me for saying shit or calling someone out for being an ass. I have people tell me that I’m not a “real farmer” because I don’t milk my cows every single milking. I guess their expectations of a real farmer is limited to those who don’t have to bring in additional income to pay the bills. I’ve had many people who championed me when I took a stand that they agreed with who were quick to try to tear me down when I dared took a stand that opposed their view. To these people I am nothing more than a megaphone, meant to be kept in a closet unless I am amplifying their message. Unfortunately for them, I’ve never been the kind to sit down and shut up and that’s not about to change.
- There are some really angry people in this world. A lot of those people seem to be Vegans. When I started putting our world out into the public, I knew I’d draw some angry activists at some point. That being said, I was actually surprised to get a cease and desist from PETA. My blog, Facebook page and other social channels have often drawn coordinated attacks from animal rights activists and it’s come to the point where I don’t share as much from other pages and blogs because my “non-fan club” likes to attack the pages and blogs I share. That has taken some of the fun out of what I do because I really do love promoting other people who are sharing their stories. The activists who target my page should know that despite the threats I’ve received, the horrible accusations, comments and the hundreds of memes posted, I am still 100% ok with eating a bacon cheeseburger and I’m also still 100% ok with someone’s choice to not support animal agriculture. If you’re a Vegan activist, you might want to consider how you approach people because what you’re doing now isn’t working for you.
- Farmers don’t even know the freaking words to Kumbaya. All the bickering and fighting between farmers that I have seen in the last 5 years has shown me that there actually is a right way and a wrong way to agvocate. If you have to bash another farmer or spout half truths to support your side of the story, you are doing agvocacy wrong. I am willing to bet money that least half of the people who read that and nodded their heads in agreement think that I am talking about organic farmers bashing conventional farmers. I’ll give you a hint… I’m not, because I see both sides doing it and it absolutely isn’t helping. Honestly, I don’t expect farmers, who’s very existence relies on independence to march to the beat of the same drum, but I don’t think it’s to much to ask to have us at least respect the other people out there feeding the world, no matter what their difference is.
- High school drama lives on long after you graduate. When I first dipped my toe into the the world of agvocacy the pool was so small there was no room for cliques. The good news is that the agvocacy world had grown by leaps and bounds. The bad news is that the growth has brought in drama, cliques and jealousy. In 5 years I have made amazing friendships because of social media and had heartbreak when those friends turned out to be different people than I thought they were. I have given my time and energy to causes that I believed in only to be turned on. Just like someone copying off a test in high school algebra so they can get a good grade, I have seen my words and my work ripped off by those who only care about the likes they get and not the work that goes into it. The people who have brought the drama to what was a really cool movement really suck and I am sorry that they have ruined agvocacy for so many people.
I cannot possibly end this post with out acknowledging all the good that has come into my life because I decided to start a blog. This list is 5 negative things, but the list of positives could be an entire blog series. Without this blog I wouldn’t have met many of my true blue friends. This blog gave me the ability to help others in need in so many ways. Without this blog I would have never had the opportunity to stand up in front of thousands of farmers and agriculturalists and encourage them to tell their story. I have been to France and Italy and I am going to Germany and The Netherlands in two weeks because of this blog. Because of this blog, our family has been prayed over and supported when we needed it. This blog has provided a way for me to pay the mortgage and buy diapers. But the very best thing about this blog, is the conversations that have taken place because of it. Those conversations wouldn’t have happened without all of you who read along, comment, share my words and join the conversation. I am so very grateful for each of you. Thanks for making the last 5 years pretty damn amazing.