The other day I had this idea to go out and do interviews with people and stick 'em here on the web. So I got up, y'know, above ground, and who do I squirm into? George Siemon! Turns out George isn't just the big cheese at Organic Valley, he's the farmer here where I live and squirm. Which is pretty loose talk, since I live underground, and when you're underground, well, you're pretty much all over the place. What I'm sayin' is, this place here, where I live, it's the underground, and the underground is everywhere, when you're me. Sorta like space. But not really. Anywho…
Ovie: Good morning Farmer George. This farm you've got here is really great. See, I like healthy soil, and therefore, I like your farm. …the soil here is killer. I mean… man!… totally organic, dude. It sure seems like you know what you're doing. Have you always been a farmer? I mean, did you grow up on a farm?
Farmer George: No, I didn't grow up on a farm, but I did have relatives who had farms, so I visited my family's farms a lot.
O: So how did you get to be a farmer?
FG: Well, I always loved to be outdoors. I studied forestry in college, and farming was sort of a back-up plan…something I always thought about. It started with chickens and potatoes, I guess.
O: Chickens and potatoes, 'eh? Which came first, the chicken or the potato?
FG: The chicken came first. When I was…oh… about eight, I got some chicks at the state fair and brought 'em home to the city. And then…uhmmm… those chicks became hens, and started laying eggs. I got pretty excited about those eggs. I got a big thrill out of giving eggs to our neighbors. In college I had a garden and grew a bounty of potatoes. It was amazing to me. The value of food really dawned on me when I dug those potatoes. I got a really good feeling out of the whole experience. It felt good. It made me happy.
O: And now this…your own farm. Amazing. How would you describe the ideal farm?
FG: I think the ideal farm is a farm where the family can work together, sharing the farm chores. There should be all kinds of food, and all kinds of animals. There should be food for the people, and food for the animals. Ideally, it should be next to another farm that grows some different crops, so they could trade with each other to get the other things they need.
O: So, let me get this straight…the ideal farm has lots of different things on it, all working together?
FG: M-hmm. We call it interdependence.
O: Neat word, interdependence. And what if I was… say… a kid, and I was in the city--never been to the country--and thought I might like to become a farmer?
FG: Well…let's see here… if you think you might like being a farmer, that's a good start. That means there's a little farmer in you. If you'd rather be outdoors than indoors, you're a good candidate. Go to a farmers' market and talk to the farmers. Visit some farms. Develop an appreciation for food… real food--potatoes, not potato chips. Shoot, start a garden and grow your own! Make a hobby out of putting up food for the winter like farmers do. Get a little dirt under your fingernails.
O: Squirm-o-RAMA! That's great advice, George. Thanks for your time.
FG: You're welcome. Now get back underground and nourish the soil.
Get the low-down on OV's C-E-I-E-I-O, George Siemon.