Farm City Breakfast Raising Mental Health Awareness | characteristics

When the Farm-City Breakfast was first created over 40 years ago, the premise was for people from different walks of life to come together to celebrate the tremendous contributions of the farming community to our overall economic vitality.

The event showcases the rich history of our region and agriculture. But it also really shows the present and the future.

Recently, First Christian Church pastor Chris Michael said that children and youth are not the future of the church, they are the PRESENT of the church.

So are the FFA members in our community. Spending time with these young people shows that they are already doing their part to innovate, serve and inspire others.

Chloe Ebelhar, an FFA student at Apollo High School, was recognized nationally for her speech on mental health in agriculture.

She will share her message with us next Saturday and we will follow her call to action with a panel to discuss the various aspects of mental health as they relate to farmers and farming families.

That’s pretty revolutionary.

Our Farm Bureau and Extension Office have both been leaders in destigmatizing this issue.

If you have the privilege of being close to the people of farming, you know that times have been challenging and just plain darn tough.

They experienced these difficult times long before the rest of us in other areas of life.

And COVID has increased this.

We’ve all been programmed to “suck up” or “suck away” or “keep calm and move on” or “maintain a stiff upper lip.”

But I think one of the silver linings of the collective trauma of the past two years is that it’s becoming culturally acceptable to talk about mental health.

Our panel will feature Joan Hayden with Hayden Farms and Hayden Electric, Dr. Wanda Figueroa Peralta with RiverValley & Affiliates and Dr. Julie Marfell will be represented with the University of Kentucky School of Nursing.

Each of these individuals has a unique perspective on mental health and is known in their profession for being brave and strong in character.

I often wonder how many of our families would have been different if it had been okay to talk about these things years ago. As the granddaughter of two WWII vets (both of whom worked in agriculture at some point in their lives) and the daughter of a Vietnamese vet (also in agriculture), I saw them all suffer in their own ways.

Everyone overcame their problems, but only after struggles and pains – not just for them, but for so many loved ones.

It is true that we all have our burdens to bear. And we have to be tough to survive.

But I’d like to think that being tough is being able to admit when we feel the need for a little help. I know I have friends who rolled their eyes reading this and thought maybe I should follow suit!

I can’t think of a tougher, more resilient group of people than farmers.

They deserve our gratitude and deep respect. At the next meal, try to think about the men and women who brought the food to your table.

To our farmers: we owe you a debt of gratitude every day. You innovate, you work countless hours, and you devote passion and time to building something special—to leave it to your family and feed each of us.

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