Ten percent of the U.S. population are farmers. My sister has a farm. Her husband has a farm. My daughter has a farm. The area newspaper’s associate editor has a farm. The grocery store worker has a farm.
But, like peasants of old who toiled only to pay exorbitant taxes to landlords and kings, these farmers never get ahead. Nor do they actually own their farms, which exist only in a virtual world. Zynga, owner of the online game “Farmville” on Facebook, is their landholder.
Interesting, isn’t it, that thousands of people spend hours every day working their “Minnesota” farms, caring for cattle, cultivating and reaping their crops, building fences and acquiring more land. Yet, they never get ahead AND they NEVER COMPLAIN about it.
Bill, my brother-in-law who grew up on a real farm, says, “This is the only kind of farming I want to do.”
Will this be our future? Will the young people who grow up playing virtual games prefer to pretend to live rather than get out and experience the world? Will our food only be produced by corporate giants?
Or is there an opportunity here? If folks are enthralled with simulated farming, is there technology to be developed to connect all those Farmville mice to remote controlled equipment that actually till, plant and reap? Think little farmer geek squads setting it all up and carting off the bounty. If milking cows can be automated, why not growing food?
That visioning session for Todd County is coming up in just a few days (June 8, 5:30 at the Browerville Community Center). All ideas for the future of Todd County are welcome- even geeky ones.