—Liberty Hyde Bailey—
Selection #5
From The Harvest

Dateline: 7 February 2014

They would have us believe that mechanical power will be so abundantly distributed and so pleasantly adjusted that the farmer may keep his hands in his pockets and not even drive a horse; for all the tillage will be accomplished by oversight rather than by labor. It is said by others that in some remote future we may cease entirely to till the soil in the current sense and raise food and other supplies from improved kinds of trees and shrubs that require planting only once in a generation or two and no attention of tillage in the meantime. It is said, also, that we shall raise plants in water of lakes and swamps and thus escape the tillage. Others, again, will have us cease eating and take our food in doses from a test-tube or other chemical contrivance or in capsules; and still others will practice some kind of subtlety with sunshine and nitrogen and derive our manna from the atmosphere.

It is surprising to what painful theories men will consign themselves in the hope of escaping labor; and it is the more amazing when the labor is altogether so satisfying as the tilling of the land. There may be an overplus of anything, but I never knew a farmer or a gardener who did not like to work in the soil; or if there is such a one, then he is not a farmer or a gardener.


A soil becomes personal to a man. The longer he works it the more it means to him and the greater should be its response. It never grows old to him. Memories become embedded in it, and it expresses the generations of men. There is a flair for new land, and yet it is on the old soills that a permanent agriculture must rest.

—Liberty Hyde Bailey
   The Harvest of The Year To The Tiller of The Soil (1927)

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Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

I concur and I also relate this to good old fashioned reading material vs. electronic material.

odiie said...

This is so true! I can't imagine farming and not getting my hands dirty. (hands, knees, feet, etc. ) These are great articles.