Thursday, May 26, 2016

Memorial Day....Remembering what made this country great

Dear Memorial Day, 

Remember when this country was great? 

Before safe zones, participation trophies and free handouts their was a generation of Americans who had greater issues to deal with. Last weekend I attended my grandpa's funeral and it reminded me of the men and women who shaped this nation. 

My grandpa was a man of little words. The three things I knew about him growing up was that he was a rice farmer, drove a tank in World War II and drank Old Milwaukee beer (I still question this one). I would ask him questions about these subjects and others over the course of my childhood but he would never delve into any of them, especially ones pertaining to his time in the Army. His usual answers consisted of "people spend too much time talking and not working" or quite simply "get back too work." He never yelled or screamed just said it in a tone in which you didn't question him. 

It took his passing to reveal how he, like others of his generation helped shape the world. When family went through his belongings after his death they found a treasure trove of pictures from his time in the service. As I flipped through the pages of his pre-Instagram scrapbook I was amazed. From snaps of German tanks and artillery units that he and his crew destroyed to mingling with people they came across in war torn Europe I found a sense of pride come over me with each turn. When I came to the last few pages my pride morphed to patriotism as I gazed at pictures of them holding up Nazi flags that they had captured on there march towards Berlin, all with smiles on there faces. They were teenagers and young adults thrust into a war halfway across the globe and you ask why they were smiling?...Because they were proud to be Americans that's why. 

They were fighting for freedom. They received no trophies for being there. His safe zone was the inside of that tank. The free handouts they accepted came in the form of food and supplies from the people in the towns and cities they came across who were grateful that they had giving up there lives back home in order to restore theirs. That my friends is what made the United States the greatest country in the world. 

As his generation continues to pass we lose sight as a country on what they were actually fighting for. It wasn't for who you could marry or which bathroom you need to be told to use, it was for freedom. You know the freedom that allows you and I to have these conversations and debate these issues like civil men and woman. We have let the petty things takeover and it continues to ruin the moral fabric of this country. 

Before the rise in liberals and far right conservatives we all knew where we should pee. It wasn't something that needed to be a national headline or debated. We also knew who to marry. It was the person you loved and wanted to spend the rest of your life with. We were taught right from wrong. If you were bullied fight back. If you saw someone being bullied give them a hand. When you scored more points then the other team you won. If you didn't you lost. Earning an education meant going to school and paying for it, whether it be through work, grants or financial aid (their is no better feeling in life than writing that last check for this). 

We are only four generations removed from the men and women who are responsible for all we have today yet we are so far disconnected from what they were fighting for. It was to keep America great. Not make it great or make it great again. It’s time to get back to the basics in this country and remember the ideas and people that made it great in the first place. Until we do this we are destined to fail and that’s not something that should be in any American’s vocabulary. Happy Memorial Day and God Bless….Merica.  

PS. Greetings peeps on this gorgeous day in God’s Country. I hope you all get to enjoy a long weekend filled with cocktails and time by the water and remember…There’s only one word that rhymes with Thursday. It’s vodka. Cheers…. 

#memorialday #veterans #america #makeamericagreatagain #election2016 #empireliving 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

GMO's: Not the evil that your parents told about

Dear GMO haters, 

For years now so called “experts” across the globe have spread negativity concerning GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) in our food system. Words like “Frankenfood’s” and “dangerous” have been used to describe plants of this nature. You know the experts I’m talking about. University professors with no background in agriculture and bloggers who's only experience with food is that at a grocery store. The National Academy of Sciences released a study this week to debunk these criticisms. Now I may not be as knowledgeable on the subject like a Michael Pollan (Wait a sec….I am) but when the country's most prestigious scientific group drops a 20 year study on the issue, I’m going to tend to lean towards believing what they have to say. If you shop at any given super market in the United States you have ate something that has a GMO derived crop in it. Chances are you've consumed a lot of a GMO crop. Most likely something originating from corn, soy beans or cotton (Thank you Midwest). The good news is you are not dead or dying from this nor will you be anytime in the future. The American farmer provides you with the safest, cheapest and most abundant food supply in the world. These are all good things. What he and she also affords you is CHOICE. You want to go Safeway and buy your food you can. If you want to head to your local farmers market and buy organic fruits and vegetables you can. It is a beautiful thing. Either you like it or not Mother Nature always wins. Whether it’s a weed becoming resistant to a certain herbicide or a bug that you just can’t rotate out your system. She gives and she takes away. It is the never ending cycle of life. The difference now is we have science to help us. Without the advent of modern agriculture the world would fail to sustain a population that grows exponentially more than it ever has in the history of mankind. Breakthroughs in the science of food production past, present and future will allow us to continue to feed a planet with and ever dwindling supply of precious farmland and water. Modern agricultural science is a good thing. Over the course of my lifetime I have farmed both conventionally and organic. I have seen the fruits or in my case grains of my labor be sold in stores across America. It has also been shipped in bulk too countries around the world. Hell, you could even find me hocking it at farmers markets across town at one point in time. There is no right way to farm and there is no right place to buy your food. I have said this numerous times when it comes to farming and ranching. Every niche benefits the other and the good ones learn from there neighbors. The fact that we continue to ignore in this society is we have a CHOICE on how we decide to feed ourselves and our loved ones in this country. If you don't like it, don't buy it! This logic is so elementary and simple. This is why the US food system is unparalleled throughout the world. So the next time you find yourself at Whole Foods dropping $30 on a gallon of GMO free almond milk, your local butcher shop grabbing a grass fed rib eye or the Walmart picking up a bag of Doritos, remember to smile. You are partaking in CHOICES a lot of the world doesn't get to enjoy. Plus, thank a farmer, they’ll always appreciate it…. 

PS. Happy pre-Friday peeps on this beautiful day in May. Hope you are having a good one as the weekend is not far away and remember….If the best things in life are truly free, then why am I still getting charged at the liquor store??? 

#GMOs #organic #frakenfoods #foodsystem #nationalacademyofsciences #farmer #empireliving