Stefan Lynch was a participant of 1998 Bike-Aid,
JustAct's cross country ride
that raises awareness about global social and environmental justices.
The ride passed through rural Missouri, where Stefan met Bill Christianson,
an angry farmer fighting the overwhelming corporate takeover of agriculture
in the US and around the world...
The unassuming farmer who helped me find a shower after a long day
of cycling through rural Missouri works the 2,000 acre farm that his
family has operated for 150 years outside of Chillicothe, MO.
His name is Bill Christison, and he is a smart, relaxed, but angry
farmer. Enormous farms owned by stockholders in corporations who don't
farm, and don't live in the state are selling crops and livestock
at prices below Bill's cost for producing them. This has altered the
landscape of rural America by degrading the soil and water and putting
many family farmers out of business.
Over a potluck dinner, Bill, his quiet but essential wife Dixie,
and ten other members of the 15 year-old Missouri Rural Crisis Center,
talk about what they've had to do to survive as farmers, or how they
The stories ranged from Bill talking about his recent media tour
of Europe to drum up resistance to antibiotic laden meat from American
factory farms,to Jackie Reese who grew up a few miles from here, and
went to a one room rural school with 13 other students. Now she has
to work in town while her husband tends the hogs and her children
have moved away because there isn't enough work on the farm.
This is the face of the farmer that most people don't see, the one
saying don't support big agri-business, don't buy meat unless you
know and trust the person who raised and butchered it, buy organic
so that there's a market for it because we hate to expose ourselves
and our children to the herbicides, pesticides and artificial fertilizers
of conventional farming.
These are the muddy-booted producers saying to consumers: you have
got to stop eating at McDonalds because it's bad for and your environment,
and it's destroying our families. You've got to be more aware of where
your food comes from and how it was produced.