“Although we are many miles apart – we share the same earth and the same sky.” This was the opening statement of my first Nuffield travel blog. Little did I know how it would capture the very core of my being and bring such joy to me as I met the many wonderful people along the path. As I prepare for another journey, I feel again the thrill of adventure and the comfort that I will find in another culture as we share our common interest of agriculture.
In all times and in all places, our very sharing of the same earth and sky knits us together. And, because we are connected in the production of food, there is a societal obligation to empower those who produce, process, prepare and present it. It is especially important to recognize and empower our global women who make up the majority of the agricultural workforce and grow more than half the world’s food. A quote of my own, “farming is without the restraint of border, class, gender, location, income, culture or politics,” reflects the extraordinary opportunity of the business that we are in. And although in my lifetime I may never be able to properly measure or fully appreciate the impact all those new friends across the globe have had on my life, I will always be connected to them with a common thread. A thread that through my studies has propelled me from country field right through to the urban stage so that those who eat our food may understand that we share something very special and that we, the world’s farmers, and in particular the world’s women farmers, are as important as the air they breathe.
As my Grandfather used to say “Once in your life you need a doctor, lawyer, preacher or policemen – but every day – three times a day – you need a farmer.” No other work is more honorable, no other life more complete, no other opportunity more exciting. Hear our prayer! No man, women or child will taste the salt of hunger, suffer the disgrace of illiteracy, sit alone without light or suffer from the hands of the unjust in our future as we live, learn and work together. Women and women farmers will untie the bounds of the past when they are empowered, liberated, and enabled to work in an equal world that holds in reverence the hands that grow and prepare our food.