Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We're all experts.

I went to a very cool farm-chef event last week in St Catharines, and was intrigued when the host farmer , a man I have a lot of respect for, called me a bit of an agriculture activist when he introduced me.
Well, I don't think of my self that way. But like most farmers (and people), I do have opinions.
And I feel another one coming on.
Over the last week, I have had lots of reasons to think about this.
And my thought is that we live in a world of experts.
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of them all...that is the pseudo experts.
If you have a doctorate and have made what you are an expert in your life's work, i'll accept what you say.
Eliot Coleman-he is a gardening expert. But even he says not following the rules often works.
Mark Picone-yes, expert chef. He could certainly teach me a thing or two.
But honestly. I have been on the internet lately looking at what people are writing about gardening. That is, gardening experts.
Don't spot fertilize. I do.
Follow a rotation. I don't always.
Water tomatoes regularly. I don't.
I know for absolute sure that if you are a gardener YOU are the expert in your garden. You can get ideas from other people, but no one knows your land, your conditions like you do. The longer you do it, the better you become. Like so many other things.
I like to talk to older farmers. My dad's buddies, both in their eighties, have incredible insight. They aren't experts, and sure wouldn't want to see themselves that way. But the years have taught them lots of things.
I don't mean to be negative, but so many gardening events, especially organic, seem to be about being seen and projecting a certain image. Letting people know what YOU'VE done.
And some of "the experts?" Unclear to me how they are experts.. I heard a lot of bad advice being bandied around like the gospel.
I never want to be an expert. I just want to be a farmer, a grower. If people ask for advice, I'm glad to give it to them, but it is my experience only. They will have their own at some point.
And what I wonder about too, is people who have made it their mission to educate other people about- well say farming and local food.
Too many of them are not farming or producing local food..just buying it like everybody else.
Some are making money as middlemen doing this. Some are promoting themselves as local food heroes. Have some shame I say.
This is the stuff that makes me head out to the garden and pull weeds. Great therapy.
Nearly as great as talking to all the folks that head out here to chat, who have no agenda-other than buying good food and eating it. You know-the expert eaters!

1 comment:

inhabiting_trees said...

I believe tried and true first hand experience is the mark of an expert. Also, the humility and humble spirit to deny that one is an expert when one truly is. And a doctorate - that's hard proof.