When I was a child, I loved it when we got to go to my grandparents’ farm on Quaker Road in Holmes Township. I fondly recall the fenced-in pasture along both sides of the lane to the house, filled with sheep, ducks, and geese (even the occasional flamingo). Grandma had guineas and a peacock that would always greet visitors as they tried to exit the car. Grandpa had one of the best gardens I have ever seen. Along with many other crops, it was rife with a myriad of things like: pumpkins, gourds, corn, and potatoes. Not a weed in sight! My uncle had a small pig barn, complete with the “Pork Castle” sign on the side. My grandmother would fill our heads with tales of the farm from her youth as we filled our bellies around the table set with what seemed like a veritable feast. Stories were told of how neighbors helped each other do labor intensive things like harvesting crops, threshing grain and digging wells. I loved the sights, sounds, and yes, even the smells of the farm. The time spent there was foundational to my desire to reside in and to raise my children in Crawford County. The recent emergence of the wind turbine issue has reminded me of the time spent at the farm and how important farming is to the future of the county.
A “farm” is defined as, “An area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals, typically under the control of one owner or manager,” according to the Oxford dictionary. The term “farming” has been tied to the production of food since the early 19th century. We have had some new forms of farming come about in recent times. One example that comes to mind is aquafarming, defined as, “The cultivation of marine or freshwater organisms, especially food fish or shellfish such as salmon or oysters, under controlled conditions.” These new ideas, while innovative, still involve the production of food. Harvesting, in contrast, is the process of gathering. Harvesting is definitely a part of farming, but it is not the essence of farming. For example, if one goes to a blueberry patch to pick blueberries, we do not say they are farming.
While facilities for generating electricity using solar or wind power fit the definition of harvesting, they fail to meet the definition of farming. To apply the term” farm” to industrial complexes such as these is synonymous with applying the term to other industries that harvest resources. Sure we have tree farms where trees are planted and grown for harvest. But do we call the lumber industry a “wood farm”? We have the aforementioned fish farms, on which fish are raised for harvest. Shall we then refer to the whaling industry “blubber farming”? When was the last time you heard someone refer to a “coal farm”? Has anyone been to “Spore Gravel Farm” to pick up a load of stone recently? Likewise,has anyone ever visited the “Hoover Water Farm” in Nevada on vacation? All of these questions lead to the conclusion that siting an electricity generating complex on farm land does not make it a farm.
Many of those reading this probably have similar memories of their childhood. The look, the feel, the sounds and the smells of rural Crawford County. I wonder how our memories would be different had there been a dozen 670-foot droning and blinking monstrosities in the backyard at grandma and grandpa’s house? We need to ask ourselves, “If we allow these industrial complexes to blight our county, will the next generation of youngsters have a similar desire to live and to raise their children in Crawford County?”
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