National Future Farmers of America week, observed from February 21 -28, celebrates our connection to agriculture and supports our next generation of farmers. Various local FFA chapters have different ways of engaging with their communities, but one of the simplest is encouraging folks to grow some of their own food.
Many farmers, along with passionate gardeners, begin planning their gardens now. Planting seeds indoors is a great way to get a head start. My father likes utilizing the simple seed-starter kits that you can find just about anywhere. These starter kits can last for years if you use and store them properly.
If you are a beginner, I find Organic Gardening to be an excellent resource. Some seeds can be planted as early as February, including peppers, lettuce, leaks and onions, while it’s best to wait to plant others, like tomatoes. Even if you live in a city, you can start seedlings indoors as long as you have a window with plenty of sunlight. Don’t be afraid of getting dirty! Starting your garden indoors now is a great activity to chase away your winter blues and a great reminder that spring is on the way.
Engaging with the way our food is grown is one of the best ways to understand the challenges of farming. As Wendel Barry once wrote, “Eating is an agricultural act,” and this is true whether you grow your own food or purchase it at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Whenever you eat, you are contributing to the agriculture behind eating.
Click here to learn more about our next generation of Niman Ranch farmers.