April 2, 2022

Farmers have some of the highest suicide rates today. Mental health is suffering in rural areas - in part because of the low financial return, but also because of limited access to socialization and community. 

Living in a rural area simply means less people, but ideally those people have closer connections, deeper relationships. 

I don't think it has to be this way. While socializing in the COVID and corporatism area provides its own challenges, I think that even rural dwellers have enough human beings close enough to them to generate community: we just have to do it. We have to organize, plan, show up and change our mentality from me to we. Soon, the momentum will grow. 

In the last few years, we have struggled with these thoughts. But, I have realized we have plenty of amazing, community-minded people within an hour from us. If we feel there's an issue, it's on us to generate the solution to those desires. It's not about where you are physically, but mentally. 

When thinking of what to call our "farm," as I don't like its connotation, I realized that the word agriculture actually has the word "culture" in it. Maybe, before subsidies and thousands of acres, there was a rich farming culture. At least one that was more connected. 

So, I suggest we can build that back, or create that. Make working this land we all need to survive and thrive a culture - a healthy one, not one so depleted, like our soils, that the wind of isolation blows us away. 

May it start with me. May it start here.

Danielle Olson Jones

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