Amber Waves of Soybeans

. 3 min read
Amber Waves of Soybeans

We’re going home to California tomorrow. Before we go, I wanted to share a few photographs I took today of my family’s hometown, Oregon, Ohio.

Oregon is just outside of Toledo, just south of Lake Erie. Our family has lived here for generations. My great grandfather and my grandfather were farmers until they got driven out. They used to grow tomatoes, cabbage and beets, among other things, and drive them up to Detroit to the farmer’s market. Eventually they couldn’t make money at it anymore. My grandpa ran a gas station for a while and eventually went to work in a factory.

The streets are still named after us in this town. My family still owns 17 acres here. My grandma still lives across the street from my aunt and uncle. My great-grandpa died in the 70s but his old house is still across the street.

Here’s where my great-grandpa had his barn and greenhouses:

Great Grandpa's Old Place

This is where they used to have a garden where my great-grandma would grow organic vegetables just for her family and my grandma’s family (they lived next door):


Now it’s all soybeans. As far as the eye can see. The land is rented out to farmers. My aunt said the only way they can make any money at all is to grow soybeans.

I took this close-up photo of the crops just off my grandma’s backyard:

Soybeans in Grandma's Backyard

Here is a photo of the only cows left on the neighboring farms:

The Only Cows Left on the Neighboring Farms

Yeah. They’re lawn decorations.

You don’t see any cows on family farms anymore because they’re all locked away in factories or on feedlots.

The landscape says so much about what has happened to our country and to our food supply. All this corn and soybeans, which is grown to feed animals in factory farms, and to make ingredients like soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup for processed foods.

It makes me sad to see this. I hate thinking about what all this monocropping is doing to the soil. And I’m pretty sure that those soybeans on my family’s land are not organic. I’d put money down that they are all genetically modified and sprayed with chemicals.

It makes me sad that all the small stores here closed down when Wal-Mart moved in. And, sadly, Wal-Mart is where everyone here shops today.

But at the same time I’m so grateful for those of you out there who are buying grass-fed meat and dairy and pastured eggs and organic fruits and vegetables from local farms. And those of you who are raising chickens and goats and keeping bees. And for those of you who are growing organic produce in your backyard or in pots on a patio.

Thank you. You are making a difference.