President Dwight Eisenhower once said: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”
There are so many celebrities that I would absolutely love to see on a farm. There are so many internet sensations, authors, bloggers, journalists, television doctors, and movie stars that love to demonize modern agriculture. Many of them make a pretty penny doing it, too.
I always thought it would be wonderful to have those types of people spend at least a day on the farm. I’d love to see them tending animals in the cold morning hours, planting vegetables in the muddy spring fields, running a grain cart during a late fall night, or laying irrigation pipes in the sweltering heat. I want to see them get dirty. I want to see them work. I want to see them find out what it means to actually be on a real, operational farm.
Apparently, that’s exactly what Food Babe wants, too.
As you can see from a recent Facebook post, Vani Hari just cannot wait until the day she gets to live on her very own farm. That’s why she’s posing in this recreational vehicle in a designer fur-trimmed coat and designer sunglasses. It would thrill me to no end to see Vani out thinning peaches or pulling weeds by hand.
But let me tell you 5 (very snarky) things Food Babe would learn or have to change about her lifestyle if she wanted to actually live on a farm.
1. She’ll need to figure out what real farm equipment looks like.
Anyone can sit on a tractor, that doesn’t make you a farmer.
It’s true – on our farm we have ATVs, snowmobiles, motor bikes, golf carts, and gators. Lots of fun stuff. While they occasionally come in handy for scouting fields or getting from one place to another on the farm, they’re mostly for recreational use.
But then we also have all the equipment we use to actually farm. You know, big tractors, sprayers, plows, and planters. We have combines, the corresponding heads, and grain carts. We have big trucks and tractor-trailers. We have equipment that Vani has never even seen in her life.
But, I forgot, she has a romanticized idea of farming (see #5), so in lieu of actual farm equipment, she’s probably going to just use her hands and a pair of gloves.
2. She has to realize she’s going to get dirty doing farm work.
I’m pretty much the quintessential girly-girl. I don’t leave the house without make-up, I insist on having my hair done, and I don’t really like getting dirty. I relish being a lawyer because I get to wear my pretty clothes every single day. My least favorite farm job growing up was when we had to transplant the small fruit and vegetable plants from the greenhouse to the field. It was a wet and dirty job.
I hated it.
However, I have never worn a hot pink, designer fur-trimmed coat in the field with a bunch of chickens. Nor would I. Because that’s not how a farm girl dresses. We slap on our “work” clothes, throw our hair in a messy ponytail, and skip the make-up. Trust me, I tried to don my best field clothes (and I’ve never skipped mascara), but working on the farm is work, not a runway. You’re going to get dirty. You’re going to get sweaty. You’re going to look like crap.
Can anyone honestly see Vani throwing on some muddy jeans, a ripped t-shirt, and throwing her hair into a ponytail so she can go do manual labor that requires her to get dirty and sweaty? Exactly.
3. She’s going to have to cut down on her vacation time.
It isn’t the same for everyone, but vacations to exotic destinations for our farm family were very rare. In fact, if I’m counting right, we went on a total of 3 week-long family vacations, including one that occurred when I was in college. Otherwise, we would sneak in shorter trips over long weekends when we had the chance. Vacation over spring break or summer, however, was just a joke. If we had it bad, I’m sure that kids growing up on animal operations had it worse – animals need care every single day, whether you want to go to Disney World or not!
Now, I try not to keep up with Food Babe’s activities, because otherwise I would have to take blood pressure medication. But I have friends that watch her, and I’m told she’s a big fan of exotic vacations to tropical destinations. You know, the kind of place where they give you fruity drinks with tiny little umbrellas. She apparently takes these vacations a lot.
If she’s going to live on a farm someday, I hope she’s prepared for that to change.
4. She’s going to have to do real work, not just post affiliate links online.
Food Babe likes to brag about her ability to bully companies into changing their ingredients or food policies. No doubt she also enjoys when they pay her “consulting” fees for her work. Remember when she pressured Subway to change the so-called yoga mat chemical in their bread (and, consequently, the bread now sucks)? That’s her bread and butter (yes, pun intended).
But she also likes to post affiliate links on her social media pages and encourage her followers to go buy products at those links. What she usually doesn’t reveal is that she’s getting a cut for every product sold through those links. It works like this: a company provides a unique website link for one of their affiliates, such as Food Babe, to share and promote their products or services. When someone enters the company’s website via the affiliate link, the program keeps track of what that person purchases and credits the affiliate for the sale.
As a farmer though, Vani is going to have to do more than just share links online and watch the money roll in. Farming is work. Hard work. Lots of it includes manual labor. She’s going to have to water the plants, feed the animals, pull weeds (hey, she doesn’t want to use any herbicides…), pick the crops, carry baskets and buckets, and hawk her wares.
Personally, I would love to see Food Babe do some actual, decent work for a change.
5. She’s going to have to learn something about farming.
Unfortunately, as is quite evident from Vani’s advocacy efforts, she’s extremely misinformed about modern agriculture. It seems she has bought into a romanticized and nostalgic ideal of a small, quaint organic farm where the residents produce enough food for themselves and a couple close neighbors using absolutely no inputs or modern technology. Vani understands nothing about modern production practices, conservation methods, crop protection, agronomy, or even how to pull weeds. For example, as much as she complains about genetically modified crops (another example of not understanding modern agriculture), she applauded the increased use of no-till practices, something farmers have taken advantage of because of biotechnology. She previously demonstrated a fundamental and basic lack of understanding of seed treatments. I’m also slightly suspect that she doesn’t think farms should be profitable either, so I wonder how she’ll handle that one.
Vani, you do realize that your animals have to be fed on a daily basis; right?
I think it’s fairly safe to say that Food Babe has no idea what real farming is about, and she wouldn’t be too successful there either. Of course, if she was so excited about the idea of living on a farm someday, then she should have accepted the invitation by Kansas Farm Bureau to visit a real farm. But that might mean she would get dirty, or sweaty, or have to smell something weird.
Vani better just keep dreaming.