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Not so long ago you and I, the common people, were not considered important enough to be written about.  For most of Western civilization’s history, the average man was used only as a foil for comedy.  The important writings spoke of gods and royalty.  The laborer was below consideration.  Barely three hundred years ago, the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau and the Age of Enlightenment in the 1700’s changed all that.  It was established that all men are important and each man’s story is the story of heroic struggle and momentous import.  Along came the Romantic writers in the 1800’s to build on this concept.  They believed that the rustic man living close to the soil was more godlike than the urban man in his crowded cities.  They believed also that what was important in writing up to that point, how the written work affected the reader, was misguided.  They believed that the written work’s most important relationship was to the writer.  The man at his labors was more important than the product of his labor.

In our world, we’ve lost sight of the Romantic vision.  Mass production has taken the nobility from craftsmanship.  It has removed knowledge of a trade from the production equation.  The modern worker assembles a product in a sterile environment.  His or her personal mark is not only not on the product, it would be illegal to have left a fingerprint of the human, trademarking and branding being what they now are.  We are solely focused to a great extent on the relationship of the product to the consumer, back once again to the writing and the reader. Simply step one foot into a telemarketing boiler room and see the absurd and disturbing trend.  These are workers following scripts to promote abstract products.  They have no way to make an impact on the product even if they were allowed because the product is air time or share time or cyber protection and not a physical thing.  These workers are generally to a person unfulfilled in their careers.  There is no personal fulfillment to be attained beyond sales numbers.  The human, however, still seeks to leave his or her mark.

Farming, even on the smallest scale of gardening, offers that reward.  Agriculture is still an option for those who seek the relationship between the product and the worker.  Yes, the market must be addressed, but the hands that brought the product to market are unique, and those hands produced that product in a unique manner.  Each farmer is his or her own person in the field.  They are individually who they are.  As God created us in His own image (or Her or Its own image) and as He defined Himself to Moses saying “I am that I am,” so are we all what we are, not faceless dehumanized worker bees, but beautiful individual creatures of God’s creation, never before seen in the history of civilization, and once passed, never to be seen again.  The rocky small farm Adolfo, Carmen and I set our shoulders to has our sweat and fingerprints all over it.  There will never be another like it, and there never was one the same before.  We make that mark for ourselves, and the tilapia, the St. Peter fish, the Jesus fish, our seminal crop, has helped establish specificity and magic.

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