I’m part of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network. This content is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund’s America’s Farmers Community Outreach Programs. As always my thoughts and opinions are my own! #MyTownProud
My grandmother in law and I used to go on road trips together. When we were headed back and only a few miles away from home she always said, “it’s not much but it’s home”. She was right! I’m thrilled to share a few of the reasons I’m so Proud of My Town with you today!
If I’m going to be completely honest with you I need to tell you that before I met my husband I promised I would never do two things; marry a dairy farmer or live in Eastern Idaho. The thought of being married to a smelly dairy farmer who was married to his cows in the middle of the cold desert didn’t intrigue me at all!
Of course I started dating a dairy farmer from Eastern Idaho and ended up marrying him. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to be marrying him but less than thrilled to be committing to live in the cold for the rest of my life. That was almost twenty years ago and so much of the way I feel is the same and so much has changed.
Every summer I’m still bummed there are only a handful of species of trees and plants I can grow in my yard. Delicate plants don’t grow very well because of the bitter cold harsh winters that seem to last an eternity. On the other hand we have gorgeous summes and our climate is perfect for raising potatoes, grain, hay, and kids!
That’s right…kids! In my opinion our farmer packed small town knows how to raise kids better than anything else! Our kids learn how to start working from an early age. They know how to solve problems, and stick with a job until it is completed. They can’t quite wrap their heads around the idea that some people get off work at a certain time. They think everyone gets off work when the job is finished! That attitude carries over in everything they do from playing sports, to academics, to providing service for other people, and of course farming.
Our community has a “Family Fairgrounds Cleanup” night to get ready for our upcoming fair. Everyone shows up with rakes, brooms, shovels, weed eaters, loaders, lawn mowers, and muscles to pitch in and get the fairgrounds prepared. This father and daughter are working together to set up tables for the concession booth area! I happen to know this dad had been working all day and went back to work on the farm after our service project too! Watching families leave their own farms to come together and serve for the good of the community makes my Proud of My Town!
The America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs, sponsored by The Monsanto Fund, put the farmer in the center of the story. In rural communities throughout America, farmers not only provide food and fuel, but they are also pivotal characters in their communities often serving as the backbone in the areas where they reside. Through the Grow Communities, Grow Rural Education and Grow Ag Leaders programs, The Monsanto Fund, with the help of local farmers, celebrates the accomplishments throughout communities with grants to help them grow and thrive!
The America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs celebrate rural communities by highlighting their innovative and altruistic nature through the America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs. A new campaign sponsored by the programs called My Town will continue this celebration of the people, places and stories that make small towns great.
The mom of this cute little family was busy sweeping out the Cub Scout Snow Cone booth so they were entertaining themselves with an empty soda bottle and some rocks. That’s what makes me proud of my town…they are outside, taking turns and playing together when it would have been so easy to have handed them an electronic device and told them to watch a movie. Besides that I’m pretty sure when they grow up they will understand the importance of serving others because they watched their mom, and their whole town serve together.
While we are on the topic of kids lets talk about the activities our kids do for fun in our small town. These kids got together at a friend’s house for an afternoon of hanging out before football practice. You see we don’t have a swimming pool in our town, but we have miles and miles of canals! These kids had a blast doing cannonballs into the canal! Who needs a swimming pool? This is what kids dreams are made of!
Other activities our kids enjoy include going on horse rides together, riding motorbikes in the mountains, and bon fires…lots of bon fires! Whenever I go to the big town (you know the kind with grocery stores and malls) I see kids riding around the sidewalks on skateboards, meandering through the mall together, and lined up outside the theater.
I can’t even tell you how happy I am that our kids are busy working and involved in other fun activities. I love that the main objective of the bon fire is to get together and visit with each other. These kids aren’t glued to their phones, they are actually developing social skills with each other. It makes me Proud of My Town and the kids from it!
One of the reasons we love living in our town is that it probably really isn’t a town at all. I mean we really don’t have neighbors because nobody actually lives next to us. In our town though, we consider everyone to be our neighbor! I borrow cream cheese from my neighbor who lives three miles away from me. When our kids want to play with the neighbor kids we agree on a meeting spot somewhere in the middle, usually about 10 miles away.
This picture is of a mom and daughter who live in the same area, but not right next to each other. They are both avid runners. There have been several mornings when they both went for a run, without the other knowing, and ended up crossing paths! How fun is that?
Like I said the best thing we raise is kids and I think that’s because there’s never a shortage of work to be done on a farm. A good friend of mine told me, “Busy boys are happy boys”. It’s true. When the kids are busy they are happy, and they stay out of trouble! We start them young, we couldn’t farm without our kids! My dad always said “The best help you’ve got is the help you raise yourself”! It makes me excited to watch these hard working kids enter the work force as adults. They have so much to offer!
One day my farmer husband asked me to deliver lunch to all the guys working in the fields. As soon as I showed up at the field where my he was baling hay his radio toned out. Let me explain that. He’s a volunteer EMT with our rural ambulance. When someone in our area (about 60 square miles) calls 911 he gets an alert on his phone and his radio tones out. When that happens he, and the other ambulance crew members, drop whatever they are doing and go to the scene.
I’ve seen him leave in the middle of family dinners, kids sports games, during the night, or right in the middle of his work day. This particular day he was baling hay to feed to his cows for their “lunch” meal. As soon as he got the call he turned off his tractor, handed my his cheeseburger, and I drove him straight to the ambulance bay. He leaves everything behind to help others. That’s what you do in small towns because we car about each other. Our rural town is too small to justify paying a full-time emergency personnel so we are left to take care of that service ourselves.
There are mountains of other farmers who have stories similar to this. Follow the My Town Campaign on the Americas Farmers Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages to see more celebrations of small towns! Or check out the American Farmers website for more #MyTownProud stories! And be sure to share your own #MyTownProud stories on social media.
After moving to Eastern Idaho I quickly learned how unified our small town is. A young mother was diagnosed with cancer. A teenage girl was admitted to a center for eating disorders. A son/father was involved in a fatal farming accident. A teenage boy was in a car accident that left him paralyzed.
Each time one of these tragedies happened and help was needed and our small town responded in a BIG way! Fun raisers were organized and I was overwhelmed with the amount of support, both financial and emotional, that was given to the families. I’ve seen dozens of farmers leave their own fields and crops, pull their tractors to the neighbors field to harvest his crops because that farmers family was going through hard times. I’m Proud of My Town and the people who are an example of what it means to serve other people even when it’s hard.
So what’s stayed the same? I still shutter at the thoughts of heading into a brutal winter, slick roads, and getting cabin fever. There are days when I wished I could go furniture shopping without driving so far. And of course I still wish I could get trees to thrive in my yard.
What’s different? I’ve learned it’s all worth it! I’ve learned the weather isn’t what makes small towns amazing, it’s the people, it’s the way of life, it’s the love that’s here. Our town is almost like one big happy extended family, which of course has its own set off issues, but at the end of the day we all watch out for each other. How can I be anything but Proud of My Town?
Through research The Monsanto Fund found that rural communities are full of positive attributes and folks that are proud to live there. Of those living in small, rural, towns 95% say they have a sense of pride in where they currently live, and 96% feel that small-town innovation deserves more recognition.
Are you from a small town? Are you proud of your town? I would love to hear stories about what makes your town so great! Leave me a comment and share your story with me!