A heritage broken?
But that kind of generation-to-generation heritage is threatened by modern conveniences, Tony Scoggins said.
“Nowadays the younger generation, they don’t know how to do it,” he said. “They come in and say I like this vegetable, but I don’t know how to grow it. Farming is becoming a past art. I just want to see it keep going.”
Richards said the younger generation — particularly people in their 20s — are hungry for a simple farming lifestyle.
“I think people are breaking away from the mainstream, especially younger people,” she said. “They’re becoming more aware. We’re more cognizant on things going on with food.
“We know that we can be healthier and treat ourselves better by watching what we eat. People are becoming more aware of what they eat and where their food comes from and to buy locally to help local farmers and help the local economy.”
Tony Scoggins said he also sees the desire in young people to break away from the “new age of convenience.”
“Our lifestyles today are hurried,” he said. “It’s go from one thing to another. It’s so easy to go down to the supermarket where food has been shipped in from here, there and everywhere.”
Hard work, but healthier
But that’s not always the best thing, Pat Scoggins said.
“You don’t know if it has been commercialized and what with,” she said. “If you grow it, you know what you’re eating. I just like eating what I know I’m eating. It’s a lot of work, I will say that. You go home and you work in the evenings and you work on the weekends and you sleep ... a little bit.”
“You work hard,” she said. “It is an everyday commitment. I can’t go gather my eggs or feed my pigs every now and then — it’s every day. It’s 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., a full-time job for me.”
That pays off.
“I’m certainly not a nutritionist by any means,” she said, “but ... I think people want a more natural product that’s grown locally. It’s healthier. There’s no pesticides or fungicides.”
The other advantage to farming is avoiding becoming docile and bored with life, Richards said.
As for Tony Scoggins, he says he has no intention to stop farming — even if that means coming home at 5 p.m. from a local dye chemical company and working until 9:45 each night.
“We haven’t had a break in several years,” Pat Scoggins said. “We think, ‘Maybe this year?’ We were going to plant less tomatoes this year, but we have 400 tomatoes. So, we never seem to cut back.”
Which is perfectly fine for Tony Scoggins.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s stress relief for me.”