I took the midnight hay ride going anywhere, and I ended up on Superstition Farm in Mesa, AZ.
Upon first steps on this farm, I was surprised at how disconnected from animals I am, along with my tour group attendees. This was evident in the excitement over our first sight of a chicken walking in the open. Our faces said, “Wow! A chicken! These really exist!?” Upon first hearing a rooster crow, I looked around for the digital device making the noise. The whole trip followed this mythical, surreal theme as we continued toward other animal sightings including donkeys, dogs, sheep, and cows.
That’s right, this farm has everything from hay rides, horseback travels, a petting zoo, fresh food, local ice-cream, and a milk bar with 12 different flavors. Don’t worry, I had a designated driver.
My tractor trip inspired a realization of deserved gratitude for farmers. My journey through this specific farm helped me appreciate the value of farmers’ dedicated efforts day after day to provide fresh, environmentally ethical milk, eggs, butter, and other food. I appreciate the respect these farm hands have for their animals. On a tour, I passed rows of cows walking freely under the water misters, chickens mingling with other animals, and, of course, the farm’s dog, Toby. Their hard work truly showed through their upkeep and vast knowledge of the farm. The farm is their passion. The business is a side-effect. Their work is to provide for people.
Not only do the farmhands…well, farm. They provide for the people through farmer’s markets, daily tours, and horseback riding lessons. Farms must think of creative ways to survive in a society alienated from their food’s origin.
The tour guide/farm hand/store manager/animal caretaker asked a group of children, “Who wants to be a farmer when they grow up?”
No one raised their hand.
If there is no desire to be a farmer, who will ensure a food-filled future? Our ideal careers now center around money. We want to grow lots of money.
To show appreciation for the dedication and ethical practices of Superstition Farm, I encourage us to buy and eat local in order to encourage many future free-range, family-owned farms such as the Superstition Farm.
I imagined other hay ride tours of other existing unethical, business-driven farms: rows of cows lined-up with just enough room to stand, chickens violently fighting for breathing room, and Toby, the factory farm manager, fetching to make quota for the day. Factory farms are businesses fueled by money with another chain being built frequently. Our idea of a “farm” matches that of Superstition farm; yet, the supply/demand rituals worshiped by capitalism have altered our definition of a farm to involve massive outputs of product.
For more information about Superstition Farm, visit their website.
To read more about the consequences of factory farming, please read the Human Society’s report, Factory Farming in America.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” —Ghandi