Back in the early 80s, when giving directions to our first home, I’d tell folks to take a left at the llama farm.
I loved the rural feel of our suburban community, and that is what brought us back to this area when career opportunities allowed. The llama farm is long gone, having moved to make way for a pharmacy.
But the farm around the corner is still there, a pastoral Eden punctuating the surrounding subdivisions, providing a portrait of peace and serenity. No matter how manic my morning, I can always count on the calm of the cows in the meadow to mellow my mind.
Half a lifetime ago I had the time and budget to take the scenic view via horseback with friends at a small neighborhood horse ranch, and it’s comforting to know that ranch remains.
There are geese and ducks surrounding the perimeters of neighborhood lakes, a farm with a front yard filled with goats and the promise of bunnies and firewood, while around the bend is a pasture dotted with small sheep.
Near my old neighborhood there’s a dog kennel, and although high fencing prevents passersby from viewing the animals, I knew it was there from the shingle sign. They say tall fences make good neighbors, but I still recall hearing complaints of loud and constant barking from those who’d later build their homes surrounding the site.
In this season of sharing and goodwill, I prefer the thought of loving our neighbors as ourselves, and feel blessed to share a cul-de-sac with the most wonderful neighbors around and their yappy little dogs.
Which is why it is disheartening to learn that in our community of neighbors lives a family that was forced to get rid of their backyard chickens, productive pets that supplied their family fresh, organic eggs and taught their daughter how to humanely and lovingly care for the animals we depend upon for food. With childhood obesity rampant, studies show that children involved in the process of growing their own food are healthier.
Large industrial factory farms produce vast quantities of food more efficiently and cheaply than family farms, but maybe we’re outgrowing these giants as the demand for organically grown and family farm products rises with each tainted food recall. The latest scandal involves Sparboe Farms, one of the nation’s largest egg companies, supplying to McDonald’s and Target stores. Undercover video by an animal rights group that was released to national media alleges animal abuse and unsanitary conditions. Both companies dropped Sparboe as a supplier.
Given this economy and the frequency of commercially contaminated foods, raising our own is an attractive alternative, saving money and giving us domain over how it is grown. Our country was founded by farmers and victory gardens encouraged growing your own as part of the war effort. Today’s battle is to keep our homes and secure jobs that will support our families. Those who utilize their yards as ammunition in this struggle should feel the support of their communities.
Vicki Griffin has lived in Roswell for 19 years. She can be reached at email@example.com.