Opinion: Dirt Roads To The World Wide Web

These days you often read our plugs for the many great offerings that our publication provides online in various websites and eNewsletters. And, they are a great resource to provide you information about growing the food and juice that we all enjoy and rely on. But, in the fast-paced online world we live in, I often find myself pining for the simple, small town I grew up in.


In my professional life I’ve lived and traveled in large urban areas, north and south, and I’ve seen the little smirks on the faces of some urban folks when they hear my drawl. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I have won over most all of them with my southern accent and homespun humor that you could only learn in a small town.

That’s Country

I spent my childhood in a home on a dirt road in the country outside of Unadilla, GA, where we were on a party line with four of our neighbors well until my youth. We were on the end of the line — now, that’s country.

I grew up among people from a different era. Old men would pass the day sitting on benches in front of my parent’s ag-chem business and feed and seed. They would spin their life stories of victory, defeat, joy, sadness, and folly — the same ones over and over — but they always were entertaining to us kids.

As I grew up and got that teen itch, I longed to live in a big city because I believed there was nothing to do in my slow, old hometown. But, with the wisdom of age, again, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The memories of the fun and life that we experienced out on those back roads in the country in those days pass through my mind almost every day, and it brings a quite calm in the non-stop world in which we live.

Worry And Hope

What worries me is a generation of kids today has no idea what a party line is and have no idea what do with themselves when the cable or Internet goes out.

What gives me hope is lately there is a sense of many to return back to a more simple life. Lot’s of urban folks have interest in small farms, rural life, and buying local. There is something in our gut that is calling us back to appreciate that way of life, along with our high-tech world. Neither can survive in the absence of the other.

I know many of you have the same life experience as me and are probably worried that we are just going too fast in this wired world. But, I have faith in the remarkable technology we have built to grow our productivity and quality of life, along with a faith in the abiding values that grew up in small town folks like us. Many city people are hungry for both and therein lies an opportunity for American agriculture.