“Dr. Mom” working on my stitches post surgery

Here are a series of pics (out of order a bit) of my wonderful wife working on my wound post surgery …. ensuring it stays dry while I take my first shower in days and making sure it stays dry post shower.

What would I do without her?


In the meantime … I have to do this … please check out my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign which currently has 10 backers!


The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

Please also check out my new Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”


And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:


Update on Crowd Funding Campaign and my Bloomin’ Onion Quest!


Sadly, my Kickstarter Campaign has now failed.


Here is the message that I posted on the page to the 41 wonderful people that chose to back and support me on Kickstarter:

I want to first thank everyone that has backed me and spread the word about my project! I am extremely grateful. 

You are not just helping me get a book published, you are helping me to continue to do the public policy work my wife and I have been doing for the benefit of our community the past 17 years and what my memoir details. Our goal has always been to help out farmers, our community, our friends. That’s what the book is about.

I do have exciting news … my Muckville-hire an editor project now will be featured on the Crowd Funder Show. When you back me for every dollar you back you get a gift card from places like Best Buy, Sears, The Gap, Toys R Us or Home Depot of equal value. Total win-win. It’s like supporting me for free.


You have backed me on Kickstarter and I am very very appreciative of that, but if that campaign fails (Kickstarter is all or nothing) I hope you consider backing me on this program. Again, not only are you supporting a worthy cause you can receive a gift card worth the matching value of your donation at a place you will probably be purchasing soon from anyway.

Link for my blog article about it:


Finally, the new website for my new public policy organization that focuses on supporting specialty crop farmers, vegetables and fruits, is up … check it out:


Again, I am truly humbled by all of the support and appreciation shown for the work that Eve and I have done over the years!


One other update: Outback is not only giving me a free Bloomin’ Onion they re sending me 5 additional Bloomin’ Onion certificates! I will be giving them away via some sort of contest on this blog! Look for the contest to come soon!

Bloomin’ Onion campaign update … OUTBACK IS GIVING ME A FREE BLOOMIN’ ONION!!!!!!

So, as I was digging around the internet I found this article from SB Nation:


The article is entitled “2014 Outback Bowl rooting interests: Coconut shrimp vs. bloomin’ onion”

The article in part states:

Iowa’s playing LSU in the Outback Bowl, but the real story will be off the field! Way off the field, because nobody who eats bloomin’ onions will be in any shape to be playing any football for a while. Outback Steakhouse has the details:

Victory or defeat, everyone gets free eats Jan. 2nd. If LSU takes home the Outback Bowl trophy, Outback will give away free Bloomin’ Onions nationwide. If Iowa prevails, it will be free Coconut Shrimp for all. Just say “Outback Bowl” to your server on Jan. 2 to score the free app.

Simply lock eyes with your server. Hold your server’s gaze for some time. Grin. Signal for your server to come closer. Yes, just like that. Whisper in your server’s ear, like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, “Outback Bowl.” Choke down your reward.


A free Bloomin’ Onion … IF LSU WINS????????????????

Seeing this I immediately posted a comment to the article with a link to my initial blog posting about my quest to get a free Bloomin’ Onion:


I then took off for the Twitterverse and started posting replies to anyone that tweeted about this … including the author of the SB nation article and Outback.

A few minutes later I got a tweeted response … FROM OUTBACK ITSELF!

In fact, they tweeted to me multiple times. Here is the exchange:

@ChrisPawelski Everyone wins at the @outbackbowl! If Iowa wins, you get free Coconut Shrimp and if LSU wins you get a free Bloomin’ Onion

@Outback @outbackbowl Uhm … I don’t want shrimp. I want a Bloomin’ Onion. You need to read my blog to learn why. http://bit.ly/1bR14ye 

@ChrisPawelski But we can arrange a Free Bloomin’ Onion for you before game day. DM us your mailing addy #outbacksurprise

@Outback AWESOME! WILL DO! Thanks #Outback!

@ChrisPawelski Anything for a 4th generation onion farmer! Without you, there wouldn’t be Bloomin’ Onions

Link for the entire exchange:


So now I am getting a free Bloomin’ Onion and Outback is now following me on Twitter!

Thank you so much Outback!!!

Now I wonder … do you want to send a deeply in debt onion farmer, his wife and two kids to see the game with complimentary tickets, airfare and lodging? You can also feel free to support my Crowd Funding campaign:



LOl … just kidding! But all kidding aside … thank you Outback!

My arthroscopic knee surgery on my meniscus tear!

On Friday December 13th (yes, Friday the 13th) my torn meniscus in my left knee was operated on. This was my second surgery on this left knee. The first was 2008. As readers of this bog may recall on November 4th I posted an entry about my new tear entitled “Another meniscus tear” (https://muckville.com/2013/11/04/another-meniscus-tear/). On October 24th I saw my Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. John Juliano. As my blog entry stated:

In October I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Juliano again (I brought him two red onions) and he ordered another MRI. In my follow-up visit (which this Thursday will be 2 weeks ago) he said that the MRI was not 100% definitive but it appears I have another tear. He suggested I try a steroid shot in my knee and see how that worked. If after the shot the pain is reduced I could skip the surgery but if not I could get the surgery.

Not only did the cortisone shot not work, it actually hurt. And since it hurt and I had prolonged knee pain post shot I ended up over compensating while bundling boxes, causing me to mess up my back and requiring me to see a massage therapist.

So, based on what happened post cortisone shot Dr. Juliano felt I should get the knee surgery. And I agreed. Now Eve was afraid that the pain and discomfort I felt was not so much due to a tear but was caused by instead arthritis in the knee. That, obviously would be very bad. I in fact saw Dr. Juliano back in 2010 about the discomfort I was feeling then and he felt it was probably arthritis as well. Obviously all questions would be answered as to what was causing my pain via the surgery.

The following are a series of photos that chronicle this event. The only thing missing are pictures of the actual surgery. I know pictures are taken so I asked Dr. Juliano if I could have them for my blog. He laughed and said no problem. I hope to get them when I have my post-op appointment where he removes the stitches.

When you first arrive at St. Anthony’s Community Hospital one of the people checking you in gives you a number. These number cards are very important according to the woman at the next step who registered me. She said “Jerry (the name of the older man that escorted us to the registration booth) is going to want that back when we are done … they are very important.”


Eve with me at the registration booth … “you aren’t going to be taking pictures all day are you?”


Papers to sign … lots of papers to sign ….


An official wrist tag!


In the prep area.


Eve tying up my gown … then the bad news … the nurse said I have to get entirely naked.


I anxiously explained to the nurse that tonight Iowa was playing Iowa State in men’s college basketball and for only the second time in the over 100 year history of these interstate rivals playing each other they are both in the top 25 rankings.

Me: “Do I have to take them off? Iowa performs much better and generally wins when I wear my black underwear.”

Nurse: “Well, we like to have patients remove all clothing in case of accidental release of fluids during the procedure. it’s easier to clean-up.”

Me: “Oh … I understand … I will just put them back on as quickly as possible for the big game tonight.”

Nurse (laughing): “Okay, understood, I think.”

One note: Iowa lost to Iowa State that night by 3 points. My son Caleb and I are convinced the loss is due to my not wearing the back underwear during my surgical event.


The bed!


Behind the bed “Code Blue.” You always hear it in the movies … I wanted to start shouting “Code Blue” out, along with “Stat” but I didn’t.


My favorite sign in the hospital … where is the “Comfortably Numb” designation?


It took a while to get the iv inserted. As I explained to the nurse, it always does. I have small veins. When I had the intestinal blockage back in 2008 for my intestinal blockage they actually had to put it in my hand. The nurses couldn’t get it into my arm. I told her she did a fantastic job getting it in my arm. She laughed.


A selfie in bed.


Dr. Juliano came in and said “so, we are doing the right knee?” I paused for a sec with my jaw dropped and he laughed and said “gotcha.” He then marked the left knee. I like that!


As they were about to roll me in they finally put the hat on me. I told Eve she had to take a pic and she obliged!

I was then rolled out to the operating room. The anesthesiologist administered the anesthesia via my iv as we rolled down the hallway. I thought to myself that I would stay awake as long as possible and make a mental note of when I started to feel drowsy. I was rolled into the operating room and I do not remember anything after I entered the room.


I awoke post surgery in the operating room and the nurses were still cleaning up. I was then rolled back into the prep room and Eve was waiting for me there. They brought me cranberry juice and a roll to eat. I felt fine. No negative effects from the anesthesia and I wasn’t expecting any because I had been put under twice before and both times I experienced no nausea afterwards.


At this point Dr. Juliano came in. The good news, there was no sign of arthritis in the knee. The bad news, the tear was much worse than he thought it would be and the operation took about an hour longer than expected (surgery was over 2 hours). He said based on what this tear looked like it was not likely a repetitive injury from working the inching pedal/brake on our smaller barn forklift. Something more traumatic caused it.

I do so much stupid stuff on the farm I couldn’t even begin to isolate which stupid action on my part led to this. He didn’t rule out a repetitive action totally, but said it was highly unlikely.

He said I needed to keep everything dry until Monday, and then I could remove the ace bandage wrap and shower (I’m going to get stinky) and on December 23rd he’s remove the stitches and do his post-surgery evaluation. Eve then asked him when I should go back to doing physical labor. He was sort of surprised by that. To him it was a no brainer, a few weeks, mid January at least. Eve then told him when I had the surgery done last, back in December of 2008, the day after my dad called to have me shovel snow. He laughed and said that I should be doing any shoveling anytime soon. “Don’t ruin my work, the most you should do for a few weeks is sit at a desk. Make me the bad guy.”

I have two rare genetic blood clotting disorders. A couple of years ago I tested positive for one positive copy of Factor V (Leiden) mutation and I tested positive for one copy of the prothrombin gene. So Dr. Juliano said instead of taking 1 daily aspirin (which is what I normally do) I should take 2 daily aspirin for the next 5 days, to avoid a blod clot.

The nurse then brought an ice pack. I was given instructions on a series of post operative exercises to do and told to ice the area the next few days. I was still a bit dopey and only remember half of this stuff.


My lovely and extremely patient nurse.


When I sat up after getting dressed I was hit with a wave of nausea … I did not expect this. I told the nurse and she said it’s too bad I didn’t feel it before they removed the iv because they could have given me some anti-neausea stuff in my drip. I had brought my promethazine with me, fortunately, so I took one. It is one of three pills I take in a cocktail for acute headache relief. It prevents and controls motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

This time it didn’t work. I felt nauseous all during the drive to the Florida Pharmacy to get my pain meds and all the way home. When I would then lie on the couch I felt a bit better, though as I started to doze off I started to experience some serious gerd. Three or four times material started coming up on me. I also had a terrible headache. So, I took my cocktail of promethazine, tramadol and cyclobenzaprine. Because I took those I only took one percocet for my knee.

Despite all of those drugs, and all have warnings for drowsiness, I only fell asleep for a half hour or so.

Have I ever mentioned I have a very high tolerance for pharmaceuticals?

Now, one thing you will notice in the picture below is that Dr. Juliano obviously applied iodine all around the surgical area on my leg. Standard procedure of course. Unless you are a sadist. A couple of years ago I passed a small amount of blood. The medication that I was taking at the time for my headaches had one side effect of potentially casing kidney stones. I went to see this urologist in Middletown … Dr. David Cohen:


This jerk, and I don’t use that term lightly, did a cystoscopy on me. What is that you ask?


I asked to be given a local anesthetic for the procedure. he flat out refused, though I repeatedly asked him for it. He said to em “the procedure doesn’t last that long, doesn’t hurt and you don’t need it.” Eve wanted to walk out and leave but I just wanted to get through with it. After waiting a half hour he did this minimally though still invasive procedure with no anesthetic. He also did no iodine swipe before it.

Why did he refuse to give me a local anesthetic? Your guess is as good as ours.

The procedure was terribly uncomfortable, no, it hurt when he did it and I had pretty strong pain while urinating for about a week afterwards. He gave me no pain killers post procedure.

Well, back to the now!


As you can see in these photos I had two friends to comfort me, Chloe on my legs and Bauer on my chest. Chloe, who is a fat cat, actually at one point jumped onto my knee.

My scream was deafening.


These photos are taken the next day. I am doing my leg exercises. Thank the Lord for percocet!


Another image of my knee, wrapped tight.


Resting post exercise.


I always have to score some sort of trophy post big event … whether it be a placard or name card or in this case … those special hospital socks with the grippy stuff at the bottom!



Look for this blog for future updates on my knee and eventually for photos taken during the procedure by my doctor!

In the meantime … I have to do this … please check out my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign which currently has 4 backers!


The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

Please also check out my new Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”


And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:


Oh, it is now been 6 days since I contacted Outback Corporation about getting a free Bloomin’ Onion after it was announced Iowa would play in the 2014 Outback Bowl. How can they refuse gong a 4th generation onion farmer who is an Iowa graduate a free Bloomin’ Onion?


It’s not as if they haven’t given away free Bloomin’ Onions before:



Come on Outback … do the right thing!

Updates on Outback and my Crowd Funding Campaigns and other stuff!

On Sunday night I e-mailed Outback for a free Bloomin’ Onion and promptly blogged about it!


It’s now Wednesday and no response from Outback Corporation. Do they hate Iowa fans, or onion farmers, or just Iowa graduates who happen to be onion farmers?

Here are the two contact links I used … feel free to contact them and demand they give a free Bloomin’ Onion to the 4th generation onion farmer who is a University of Iowa graduate! Ask them why they don’t support onion farmers who are Iowa grads!



I now have 4 days left on my Kickstarter campaign:


39 backers pledging $1,627 is pretty fantastic but Kickstarter is “all-or-nothing” so it appears pretty unlikely I’ll make my goal of $5,000 in 4 days. hey, you never know … but many thanks to all that chose to support my project!

In the meantime my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign now has 4 backers!


The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

I now have a Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”


And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:


Wow … that’s lots of updates … arthroscopic knee surgery coming up Friday … hopefully I will be able to post lots of fantastic pics … will be asking the Doctor if I can only have a local so I can stay awake and take some neat surgery action photos!

We’ll see … though I doubt my wonderful and long suffering wife will allow it!

Updates on my Crowd Funder Show campaign and Farmroot!

While my Kickstarter Campaign picked up another backer it appears it will not succeed with only 5 days to go. It was close, and the backer support was tremendous, but with Kickstarter it is “all or nothing.”

On the other hand my The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign has picked up a new backer and is moving forward!



It is not “all or nothing” and it has some fantastic rewards for people that support me …. dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Sears, Home Depot or Best Buy. So if you plan on doing some holiday buying or post holiday buying at any of these locations please consider supporting me. You are essentially able to do it at no cost to you … and you are supporting a worthwhile cause … funding my endeavor to hire a professional editor for my first draft memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.” Once again, all contributions and any other support, including the passing along information about this campaign, is very much appreciated!

On another note, the website for my new public policy/advocacy organization that focuses on issues surrounding specialty crops, or vegetables and fruits, Farmroot, is now up and active!!!!!


Please feel free to check it out! Check to the issues page, the about us page, and feel free to spread the word!!!! look for exciting news regarding Farmroot to be appearing soon!

Finally … it has now been a day with no response from Outback regarding my quest for a free Bloomin’ Onion from them because Iowa is in the Outback Bowl and I’m a 4th generation onion farmer and Iowa graduate … I will keep everyone posted on this!!!!!

Iowa to play LSU in the Outback Bowl … and I want a free Bloomin’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse!

It’s official … Iowa will play LSU in the 2014 Outback Bowl!


The last time we played LSU was in the 2005 Capital One Bowl and we sent out coach Nick Saban as a loser at LSU in until the Iron Bowl this season was one of the best endings to a college foot ball game … evah!

But this year we are playing them in the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2014 … that’s right, the Outback Bowl which is named after the Outback Restaurant chain. One of their signature items is the Bloomin’ Onion:


Now here is the deal … I’m a 4th generation ONION farmer and a very proud graduate of the University of Iowa (1988-1990, M.A.) … and because of these two things … I WANT A FREE BLOOMIN’ ONION!

Tonight, shortly after the announcement was made of the fact that Iowa was selected to appear in the Outback Bowl I sent the following e-mail to both the Outback Bowl website and the Outback Restaurant website (screenshots of both e-mails below). Let’s see how these guys respond … I will keep you all posted!

Text of e-mail:


My name is Chris Pawelski. I am a 4th generation ONION farmer from Orange County, NY

see my blog: http://muckville.com

and my current Crowd Funder campaign:


I also was a student at the University of Iowa where I earned my Master of Arts Degree in 1990. I am a diehard Iowa fan! Just look at all of the Iowa clothing I am wearing in the photos in my blog and in the various stories I have appeared in over the years in the media.

That being said … being I am both an Iowa graduate and a 4th generation onion farmer I would hope you would be inclined to provide me with a complimentary free Bllomin’ Onion, being that Iowa will be one of the teams in the 2014 Outback Bowl (http://www.outback.com/menu/bloomin-onion#.UqUl4JHFOYA).

I will be posting about this quest to receive a free Bloomin’ Onion in my Muckville blog some time tomorrow (December 9, 2013). I can send you the link upon request.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Chris Pawelski

University of Iowa graduate and 4th generation onion farmer!

PS: Feel free to support my The Crowd Funder Show campaign to raise enough money for an editor for my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.” All contributions are very much appreciated!


Quick Crowd Funder Update!


Well, I have only 8 days left on my Kickstarter Campaign and it sadly doesn’t look like it’s going to make it. But, I am very appreciative to the 38 backers who backed me. To repeat, Kickstarter is “all or nothing” so if a campaign doesn’t make the goal backers don’t owe anything.

While looking to get exposure for my Kickstarter campaign I was contacted by The Crowd Funder Show. The show’s producer called me to tell me they’d like to do a segment on my campaign. I happily agreed! What I didn’t realize is that they create an entirely new promotion and they provide matching gift cards as rewards.

Each level has certain gift cards and I believe backers get to choose which ones but I am still not exactly sure. I have backed my own project and I will soon find out and post the information. It appears places like Best Buy, Home Depot and Sears are at the top 3 levels of support so if you were planning on making any purchases at these locations you may be able to support me essentially for free.

Coming soon also will be the show’s segment on my project. I will post it once it is aired and put online!

Again, I want to thank you all for your support and I hope my first draft completed memoir, “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life” can afford to be edited and get published soon.

Here once again is Eve’s introduction to Muckville:


Muckville. That’s where we live, both literally and figuratively.

And every day something weird is happening on this farm. In the early years I kept waiting for it to end, waiting for calm. After 20 years I now realize that for better or worse, that’s just not going to happen.  Part of it has to do with who I married. I think he described it best one night when we were talking about how people react to adversity. He said, “People basically fall into one of two categories: sheep or wolf. And I’m not a sheep.” I think I am a sheep who hitched a ride with a wolf. When we lost our crop to hail the first time in 1996 and our insurance turned out to be worthless and I was pregnant and large amounts of debt loomed on the horizon, I was perfectly willing to throw up my hands, quit and go do something else. In that respect I think I am like most people. Life is just easier if you can go along with the flow and avoid the pitfalls.  But if everyone did that improvements would seldom if ever be made.

If I’ve surmised anything over the years, it’s that problems come about seemingly on their own resulting from a convergence of factors: a misinterpretation of a law or regulation, a quirky personality, a do-gooder who is just plain wrong, and/or a bureaucrat who refuses to do anything other than “the way it’s always been done.” The result is that change takes a lot of work but more importantly perseverance.

So what do you need to make a change? The first quality just about everyone has. It equates to “What the @#$% happened here?” The second quality many people have, “I’m mad. I’m going to complain to the proper authorities, and this will be fixed!” But there are a lot of problems out there and it is just as likely that your problem won’t be fixed. Sure some may complain for a while but at some point most people simply cut their losses and walk away grumbling. If you are really determined to make a change, it takes more than complaining. Change comes about because you can articulate exactly what is wrong and why, AND you have mapped out and researched what should be done instead. Only then do you have a chance.

Chris (God bless him) has chronicled several things we have fought to change. Some of it is humorous. a lot of it comes under “You just can’t make that up!” and parts of it I simply cannot read because it was enough for me to live through it. We hope that you will be entertained and learn a little about production agriculture along the way. But what we really hope is that maybe the next time you see a problem, you will have the courage to be a wolf.

A photo collection …

The following are photos of just some of the people Eve and I have worked with over the years and the events I detail in “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”

Please support my project if you can!



Did I mention Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot, Starbucks, Subway, etc …?


Okay, it’s been a couple of days with this Crowd Funder TV Show campaign and as I mentioned in my last couple of posts, If you plan on shopping at:

Best Buy


Home Depot



… if you plan on spending any money there anyway you can back my campaign to help me raise funds for an editor for my unpublished but first draft completed memoir, “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life” and receive a matching gift card from those locations. In other words, you can help me with my publication without spending a dime extra. That’s called win-win.

And my Kickstarter campaign which ends in 9 days (and is only 30% towards goal), if I don’t reach the goal I get nothing. This campaign does not work that way.

I hate asking for your help. I really do. But after numerous years of devastating weather events

… I simply don’t have the funds to do it myself. I wish I did.

Why is this matter to you? My prologue for “Muckville” puts it best:

Muckville.  I can see you asking yourself now

Why should I care about a book about farming? Or one about public policy advocacy and dealing with the media? Or a about a book that combines the realities of farming with agriculture-specific policy, advocacy and dealing with the media?

We all have to eat. Every day if possible. Day after day. Until we die we have to eat. Food, along with breathable air, clean water and adequate shelter is one of our most basic needs. Since there are roughly 3.3 million farmers in the U.S. comprising roughly 2% of the general population, odds are you have never met a farmer. Despite the growth in popularity of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and local farmers’ markets it is most likely you have never met, spoken, smelled or touched a farmer.  Or set foot on a farm.

Though the United States was once a primarily an agricultural society and even as recently as the turn of the previous century roughly 40% of the population farmed, since then, and especially since the advancements associated with Norman Borlaug’s “Green Revolution” fewer and fewer farmers on less and less land space have produced one of the world’s safest, most abundant and cheapest food supplies.

And with that change has come an incredible level of disconnect between the people who primarily produce our food and the citizens who eat it. Sadly, when you mention the word farmer the first image that will pop into someone’s head will be Eddie Albert’s character Oliver Wendell Douglas from the CBS sitcom “Green Acres.” Or worse, some character from one of the various reality TV shows that keep popping up, and frequently aren’t so real.

Though farmers’ markets are exploding across the country and thanks to the foodie movement there is a strong renewed interest in agriculture, much of the information about farmers is not coming from us. Food critics and chefs will frequently pontificate about farming, and though some of them may have a small hobby farm, for the most part they are not farmers. They do not know what it is like, on a day to day basis, to be a farmer in the 21st century.

I simply don’t have enough heads for all the hats I have to wear. I have to be a soil scientist, a chemist, a financial planner, an accountant, a bookkeeper, a regulator, a marketer and frequently a public relations person and public policy advocate.

Farming today is governed by a myriad of laws and regulations that cover numerous aspects of our business on multiple levels. And there are so many groups, organizations and pressures out there trying to influence or change those laws and regulations on a seemingly daily basis.

In the mid 1990’s after leaving the farm a short time to pursue my graduate degree and after I married my wonderful wife Eve, I returned to the family onion farm. My brother and I are the fourth generation of the same family on a farm that started in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century. As soon as I returned I started dealing with a variety of issues and crises, including weather disasters and various labor advocacy organizations. I was baptized by fire. Eve and I had to learn, for the most part on our own, how to fight for our farm and our industry. It wasn’t easy at first (for the most part it still isn’t now, 17 years later).  But, trial by fire typically isn’t.

So why is this all important to you? Because as I said, we all have to eat. It’s one of our most fundamental needs. You should know something about how your food is produced. Not from sitcoms, or from food critics or from chefs, no matter how well intentioned they may be.  You should know from one of us who produces it.

Now, there are some books out there written by farmers about farming. Many of those books are about the adventures of people who eschew urban or suburban life to move to the country and take up farming. They extol the benefits of a more simple life.

That’s not the point of this book.

Life is not simple, nor, quite frequently, very fair. A hailstorm that decimates your crop mid season or a hurricane caused flood that wipes virtually your entire crop away is not fair. And how you deal with those scenarios is anything but simple. I’ve dealt with those situations, sadly, more than once. I’ve also dealt with very stupid government programs and terrible proposed legislation. And over the years my wife and I have had a fair number of successes in dealing with such situations. That’s what this book details.

Though it is a memoir about my specific experiences on the farm and in front of a camera or on Capitol Hill, what I relate, the techniques and the tricks and methods of dealing with the media or developing grassroot strategies to fight for a given issue can be applied by you. No matter what you do, or where you live, or what problem you may be facing, my example can provide you with a roadmap to how you can successfully fight for your cause.

The system is messed up. It sucks, to  be quite frank. But my specific experiences show that if you are persistent and you have a fraction of a clue as to what to do, you can make a positive change for your community, too.

Why should you read this book? Because I need better informed end users of my product. I need you to understand why after a devastating hailstorm or flood I need your support and help. I need you to have a better connection with the people who produce the food you eat.  And, you need to better understand the people who grow your food, and how the policy decisions can affect every aspect of the food you eat.

Why should you read this book? Just as important as learning about how your food is grown, I want you to read it and to realize that you can get off the couch and fight for your family and your community. Though the deck is stacked against you, like it is against me, you can still effect a positive change. All is not bleak. There is hope.

I  want you to read this book so that the next time you walk into the produce section of your local supermarket you will pause for a moment and just think about what was involved to get those fresh vegetables and fruits on that shelf.

So, any way you can help is very much appreciated. For those of you that have already backed me I can’t thank you enough!