I will admit that before I watched Greenhorns I was expecting to be watching another documentary on climate change that was either going to depress me or bore me to death. What I found when I watched the video was quite different though. I was able to see multiple perspectives of modern day environmentally safe farmers, and what their lives were like. Although the hopefulness of this new generation struck a chord with me, it was rather troubling to see those doing things the ecologically conservative way actually had a harder time at making a living. This might be why only 2% of Americans are farmers or farm workers. This is also a result of monoculture farming which places large plantations in the hands of very few people.
File:Ageratum at small farm (3797170833).jpg
While farming is a tradition as old as this country itself, monoculture is a phenomenon of the market revolution. We often associate American ideals with consumerism, but if we go back to the origins of our country, we are able to see that it is the small, independent farmer who so central to the American identity. The problem is, although the small farmer has been a respected figure in our community before, they have never thrived. This has only gotten worse with the development of monoculture, which completely dominates the agriculture industry and makes it impossible for small farmers to compete.
Image: Polish Sustenance Farmer
However, there is hope. Recently, there have been more studies displaying the danger of chemical applicants in our food causing birth defects. This has opened doors for smaller farmers to popularize their crops and sell them on standard markets. Urban nurseries are springing up everywhere with the objective of restoring growth and farming culture back into cities. The USDA, which regulates what crops are grown where and who should grow them, is now granting more liberties to small farmers. In fact, things like the Farm Service Agency are being created specifically to fund new farmers. Thus, while farmers are still at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, they are instituting methods such as Biodynamic farming which may in time become a more viable economic option than more traditional farming methods. Biodynamic farming is the fermenting of plants and animals underground in order to protect soil health and in turn increase crop yields. In cities farmers are using rooftop farming and dwarf plants where full-scale plants might not work.
File:Rockefeller Center Rooftop Gardens 2 by David
The solution lies in making environmentally stable, small farming a profitable career option. It is often true in society that the ones most deserving of recognition do not get it. However, it is paramount that we become benefactors of the environment, not merely for farmers, but for our future. The most feasible way to do this would be to incorporate some aspect of farming into our daily lives. I know that after reading this New Yorkers everywhere will be cringing, but even they have to admit that when the only plants you ever witness are made of plastic, that something must be done. By incorporating farming such as green roofs into cities and tightening restrictions on what we can and cannot sell in grocery stores, we can begin to make it possible for the small farmer to make a living, conserve the environment, and conserve ourselves.