Is progress really progress?

imageimage “The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields and forests. It was in kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard” -Joel Salatin

68 years. That’s all. In just that little bit of time, less than the average persons life span we have gone from a world where everyone had gardens, or knew a family that did, local farmers markets were the place to shop- not a chain grocery store, to this all too fast paced and somewhat frightening existence.

Instead of encouraging its citizens to raise their own food our government has encouraged us to become dependent on it for survival. Suddenly as our world has become educated, progressed and fast-paced we have lost the charm and healthy environment that we had just a few short years ago.

Just a few years back moms and dads were at the dinner table with their kids. And we weren’t worried about where the food came from; it came from our gardens. Not many moms worked outside the home, they were with their kids. I am not saying it is wrong to work- I have to work too. But I am saying our priorities have changed.

Just a few years further back, in the pioneer days farmers were often poor. Crops were easily ruined because of drought, rain, fires, hail, storms, wind, animals, bugs. Farmers often grew oats, wheat, corn, apples, cotton, potatoes. They also raised horses, mules, cows, chickens, and pigs. They used livestock for food, sale, trade and barter.

The women took care of children, cooked meals, cleaned house, tended a vegetable garden, washed clothes, churned butter, and pretty much did whatever was needed.

Even the children had jobs. No sitting around being lazy for anyone. They milked cows, helped harvest crops, helped with household chores like setting the table,feed the animals, and many other jobs. Children did not have a lot of toys, unlike today where they have so many they tend to take them for granted. Most of their toys were homemade. Children were expected to be respectful and polite. Does that mean they never had fun or got in trouble? Of course not, it just means they knew when to behave and they knew what the switch was for if they didn’t! And of course there was school, mostly in the winter, when it was not planting or harvest season. They learned how to do what we used to call the three R’s: reading ‘riting, ‘rithmetic.

Did they wish sometimes things were easier? I imagine so. Where they ecstatic when electricity and indoor plumbing invented? I can hear the hallelujah’s in my mind.
But, I truly believe a home cooked meal back then was good and good for you with no additives or preservatives. You can certainly bet your bottom dollar the vegetables from the garden were fresh! And you can also bet the divorce attorneys weren’t in business either. Families worked hard, loved hard, and stayed together. Yes, life was hard. And yes we have a lot more knowledge now than we did then,especially medical knowledge. But we we gained all this knowledge and progress I think we really “threw out the baby with the bath water”. There are so many parts of the past we should have kept. If we had, we wouldn’t be fighting so hard to bring them back.

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19 thoughts on “Is progress really progress?

  1. {\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252
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    1. Profound and well written. There is so much lacking in our culture today. We are becoming increasingly less healthy as a nation due to poor nutrition. Whether intentional or not, it keeps the pharmaceutical companies and agribusiness thriving. I’m encouraged to see more and more people question what’s in their food. Perhaps we can still strike the right balance.

  2. Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented:
    Excellent blog about the short time span between self-sufficiency and total independence. The large food manufacturers and our governments have us just where they want us. The worrying aspect of this is that should and Island like the UK be cut off from all the food that is imported and sold in our supermarkets there is barely a week’s food stockpile available. We were all encouraged to dig for Britain in the 2nd World War and we should all be encouraged to do so now if physically possible. Not because I am a survivalist at heart but because I am a foodist. If children learn how to grow food they will have a far greater appreciation of it and its benefits to their health as they grow. Thanks Cheese Acres Farm for reminding us that we can do something about this if we choose – back gardens have potential.

    1. Thanks so much. And you are so right. No matter where we live this is very troubling. To have once been encouraged to have backyard gardens and chickens to now feel almost helpless at the hands of our governments is very disheartening! Hopefully more and more people all over the world will realize we must be self reliant!

  3. Something I have thought about for awhile. I remember as a kid visiting my mom’s sisters. Most had never left the county, didn’t drive, and spent their time at home. But they seemed happy! They knew where their kids were, the chores got done, and the houses were always filled with the smell of something cooking or baking. And the highlight of my visits was milking cows, collecting eggs, and churning butter at my uncle’s farm.

    I wish I could have stayed home with the kids. The quality of life would have been so much better. It’s not until they are grown and moved away that I am growing and cooking my own food, and learning more about living off the land. Progress left society backwards.

    1. You are so right! It seems like we know the old ways were healthier, happier and certainly hectic. I’d love to be able to go back! We are trying the best we can, but still have a long way to go.

  4. Reblogged this on Cheese Acres Farm and commented:

    It’s been a year since I first posted this. We’ve made progress in some ways, yet still have a long way to go. I want to be as self-sufficient as possible. Our gardens really suffered in the last couple seasons. We need a good spring crop. We will be heading out soon to our local feed and seed stores to get plants and seed and get our garden started. Spring is around the corner!

  5. That life is NOT completely lost, and I don’t just mean people trying to revive it.

    I have a lot of friends among the Old Order Mennonites. They find our culture confusing, and your description of bygone days is still alive and well among them. Practically a zero divorce rate. Polite and hardworking “teenagers” (young adults!). Hard work. Respect. Good and wholesome food and the entire family at the table for every meal (except the school children for lunch). Neighbours who look out for each other and for all the children. And just in case anyone thinks that they’re all glum and seriousness, my best friend, married 25 years to a staid and upstanding Mennonite man and mother to 7 living and 2 deceased children, is so much in love with that man that it makes *me* blush. She signs their names with a heart for the & 😀

    I mention this because I’ve seen it in action. It really does work, and it’s wonderful. (Obviously not “perfect” but that’s because it involves us humans!)

    1. What is a shame is that is this life is not commonplace among us all any more. Agreed, it is common among the Amish and the Mennonite and those of us trying so hard to get back to homesteading ways but it’s just a shame we lost it to begin with. And btw, Farmer Cheese and I have been married 33 years!

      1. 33 years is wonderful! Congratulations. That takes a lot of work and patience, especially these days when our culture preaches the easy out. I hope you’re still head over heels for each other! 😀

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