I used to think farmers and ranchers were like the people in the Grant Wood painting “American Gothic.” In fact, that painting hangs right here in Chicago, at the Art Institute.
I love the iconic image of that grim-looking farmer holding a pitchfork standing alongside his daughter in front of their farmhouse. Funny and cool is the last word you’d think of when looking at those two depressing figures!
Now that I work closely with local food providers,
I know better.
These folks are some of the smartest, funniest and, yeah, hippest people I’ve ever met. They work their butts off every day and take a lot of well-deserved pride in the products they produce, but they truly enjoy what they do and they want others to know it.
Think I’m kidding? Check out a YouTube video called “I’m Farming and I Grow It.” Written and produced on their Kansas farm by the Peterson brothers –Greg, Nathan and Kendal— the 3 ½-minute video is a parody of LMFAO’s hit “I’m Sexy and I Know It.” The Peterson boys wanted to “explain” farming to their city friends, but instead they created an international viral sensation that has attracted almost 4.8 million views.
Watching these young men dancing on top of hay bales, rising from fields high with corn and hanging out of huge tractors while singing hip-hop style lyrics in this low-tech but high-spirited video underscores the joy they take in raising the food we all enjoy.
A sample of the lyrics?
When I’m up at seven, the sunrise gives me a glimpse of heaven
I get right to work, a farmer’s life can be a little berserk yeah
This is how I roll, I feed the cattle till their stomachs are full
Treat em right, that’s my belief,
What’s for dinner? I say beef!
“American Gothic?” No way. More like “Americans kickass and love it!” When I think of American farmers and ranchers, I’m thinking of the Peterson brothers. They’re the future. Now “Chew on that”