The values of hobby farming
The connection between human kind and the natural environment goes way back in time. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that the first farmer was the first man. And yet, although it is not hard to visualize this first man working his land and earning his bread, we can barely visualize a modern man doing the same thing. Just a century ago, it was not unusual for people to go out and do some back-yard farming, that even if it wasn’t done on a large scale it was nonetheless enjoyable. With today’s society shifting its production towards more and more intangible online services, we risk losing the important lessons of simpler things.
Hobby farming is one simple activity that retains some spiritual and educational aspects of past experiences, by offering direct insights from the work process. Farming seen as a hobby is the rendering of traditional farming as a pleasurable way of spending some free time. This generally involves a diverse range of activities, mainly dealing with land cultivation and crop harvesting techniques to the extent of food production, however on a much smaller scale compared to the industrial farmlands.
This can be a great activity both for families and individuals, as it does not require excessive time, most of the tasks taking place only in the planting and harvesting seasons. Moreover, due to its emphasis on the right timing of actions (for example, each vegetable has its own period when the seeds must be planted which might not coincide with other vegetables or crops), hobby farming incorporates some important educative and spiritual values.
The educative values of hobby farming are:
1. Promotes practical knowledge
Biological discovery is ultimately a practical act. Children often have a hard time memorizing biology lessons via rote learning because they are not showed the practical relevance of the material they are taught. Hobby farming can cast light upon soil nutrients, plant health and water management, by allowing observation over real cultivations processes and yields produced, thus casting light on the functioning of the whole ecosystem that surrounds us.
2. Promotes self-reliance
Even the person who has farmed only once will be touched by the feeling of independence that growing a crop will provide. The fact that the ground will work by itself and provide man with the “fruits of his labor”, on the condition that he does his part in time, is an empowering fact to know.
3. Promotes discipline
In order to be able to do the amount of work needed on time, the individual needs to be disciplined and conscious, traits that will also benefit him in everyday life.
4. Promotes unity and family ties
In family surroundings, hobby farming can better illustrate the way family members are helping each other and the benefits of unity.
5. Promotes active relaxation
In the turbulent age of today, hobby farming can be seen as “a passion with deep roots”, which can be relaxing and healthier than just sitting around.