Hope harvests the green beans

Hope harvests the green beans.

Our granddaughter’s name is Hope and she brings joy to all of our hearts.  Hope loves the ranch and is gaining a deeper appreciation for the rich things it provides for our entire family. It’s not an unusual occurrence for the dining room table (a table that has served the Robinson family for 80 years) to seat four generations of our family like it did last week as we celebrated my mothers 87th birthday.  Hope relishes the times that the whole family can get together.   Before dinner all the kids ventured up into the snowy hills to cut a Charlie Brown Christmas tree while the rest of us sat around the fire and drank hot cider.  In many ways Hope provides a special motivation for things like that.  The hope of sustainable living (and the future of all humanity) may well rest on sustainable generational relationships.  The day of the family farm being passed from generation to generations is in desperate need of repair.  The skills required to develop a small property into a productive farmstead are rapidly being lost as past generations die off and the younger population gravitates towards suburban lifestyles.   The world needs its emerging generations to grasp not only the importance of sustainability, but the joy of it as well.  A little over a year ago Nancy and I visited some of our coworkers in Zambia, Africa.  Africa as everyone knows is a continent in crises. The plagues of war, Aids, water related diseases and malaria are cutting deep into the fabric of this entire culture.  Huge populations of midlife adults are dying daily leaving twelve- and thirteen-year-old children to raise their younger siblings. It’s not hard to see the ramification of a condition like this and the extreme poverty that it is creating.  An aspect of the crisis that is often overlooked however is that simple techniques of sustenance farming are no longer being passed from generation to generation.   The emerging generations of young people no longer possess the skills of basic food production due to the absence of the parents and grandparents that once taught them.    In different ways this crisis is happening in America as well.  The baby boomer generation years ago began breaking relationship with their farming parents choosing suburban lifestyles and entering more lucrative professions.  The small family farm was rapidly being abandoned and sold off to developers and huge farming corporations.  The simple techniques of small yet productive organic farming were rapidly being lost.  New techniques were being implemented with the wide spread use of such things as chemical fertilization.  Even beef, pork and chicken production became industrialized to the point of becoming detrimental to human health.   Top soil was being slowly poisoned and overused to the point of loosing long term sustainability.  The hope of sustainability is literally Hope’s generation.  God spoke through Moses when the Israelites were traveling towards the land that God promised them.  A land that would be full of milk and honey; a productive and fruitful land.  He said, “Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you.  Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live!  And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”  [Deuteronomy 4:9]   There has been a major trend in America for our future generations loosing sight of the goodness of all God has done for our nation, and it is the job of the older generation to pass these things on.  Honestly, it is a matter of survival.