Connections between city and county, farmer and consumer and simply people with one another was the focus of Tuesday morning’s Farm-City breakfast.
The Rev. Bill Coates brought that message to a crowd of farmers, politicians and other community members enjoying scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits at the North Hall Community Center.
“Everything is connected: the butterfly in the rainforest, the cow on a Georgia field, the people who drink the milk from that cow and the people who sit around the tables here this morning,” Coates said.
Local dairy farmer Dixie Truelove knows those connections well.
“This event tries to remind those who live in the city and those who are removed from a farm, but also those who live on a farm, that we are connected, and we each need each other,” she said. “We hope that those who aren’t on a farm remember all the work that goes into the breakfast even that was prepared today.”
Consumers buying milk from their local grocery store may benefit from her hard work. Likewise, someone enjoying a hamburger from McDonald’s may benefit from local beef cattle farmer Ronnie Green. And, of course, Gainesville’s poultry industry provides the chicken on many dining room tables.
The First Baptist Church preacher had a deeper message about connections, though.
In a world more connected than ever through technology, Coates lamented the lack of conversation about opposing ideas.
“People get angry if they disagree about anything,” he told the crowd. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. … I long for the day to return when we all can speak with civil discourse with one another. When that happens, we’ll feel that connectedness throughout our country again, and we'll get a whole lot more done, I think.”
What happens in Gainesville affects those who live in Hall County, and vice versa. And what happens here affects those in other parts of the country and eventually the world, which surely affects us, Coates said.
“The sooner we get back to remembering how connected we are — whether it’s agriculturally, whether it’s industrially, whether it’s socially, whether it’s just plain old kindness to one another and using good manners to one another — we will be so much better off,” he said.