If you ate today, thank a farmer…and…?

Surely you’ve seen this bumper sticker: “If you ate today, thank a farmer.”

That’s fine advice — farmers (of various kinds) play a key role in food production. But it’s also pretty narrow advice.

It would be more accurate to say, “If you ate today, thank a farmer…”

AND…thank a truck driver (for getting the food from place to place)…
AND…thank whoever loaded the boxes onto the truck, and then off again…
AND…thank an engineer for designing the farmer’s tractor…
AND…thank the miner who mined the iron ore that became parts for the farmer’s tractor…
AND…thank an accountant for doing the books at the various companies…
AND…thank the oil company that powered the farmer’s tractor…
AND…thank the grocery store clerk who helped you at the checkout…
And see also: Who Feeds Farmers?

About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
This entry was posted in agriculture, ethics, farmers. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to If you ate today, thank a farmer…and…?

  1. Lisa says:

    It’s a good meditative practice to be mindful of all the hands that went into the food on the table. It’s also fun to come up with more. Good reminder.

  2. Paul says:

    I pondered this after seeing it on a billboard, and wondered if the farmer thanks a plumber every time he flushes a toilet, or an autoworker every time he drives a car. Since I paid fair market prices for the food I ate, I suggest that maybe the farmers should be thanking me for that. Ultimately, if a farmer needs thanks for doing his (or her) job, maybe they should let someone who enjoys farming do it.

  3. ajbros says:

    Paul – I think you are missing the point. The idea behind the promotional campaign is to raise awareness in the market of the origin of the food.

    Purchasing meat in a plastic package, milk in a carton, pasta in a box and cheese presliced means that the majority of consumers have no real concept of where the food COMES from, let alone what it takes to get it to market.

    As a beef cattle farmer, with a partner who works in oil and gas, we do seem to be on the recieveing end of a large amount of vitriol surrounding pricing, and production methods.

    The frustration lies for us from comments by people who (like you) think that paying the lowest price, for the lowest quality product, then whinging about what you get or how it is produced (large scale to try and turn a profit, or by exploring in national parks).

    It is getting pretty easy to say to that group – “Well then, starve to death in the dark, naked!”

    Because without us, you all would be.

    Connecting the food you eat, the heat you use and the car you drive and the clothes you wear (let alone all the products that rely on farmers and oil and gas for their production elements) is just a small step to raising the profile of farmers and how important they are to your exisitence.

    In Australia we cut right to the chase our bilboards and stickers say –

    “No Farmers, No Food.”

    and on a lighter note:
    “No Farmers, No Farmers Daughters.”

Comments are closed.