Internet Freedom Bus Tour Day 3 Part 1 The Farm

It was 1am on <a href=”” http:=”””” 2012=”” 10=”” internet-freedom-bus-tour-day-2-kansas-city=”” “”=”” title=”” internet=”” freedom=”” bus=”” tour=”” day=”” 2:=”” kansas=”” city””=”” target=”” _blank””=”“>Day 2</a> when I got back to my hotel room. Which is precisely when I realized I had left my phone charger in my backpack… on the bus. Which was at a different hotel. And my phone battery was reading 8%.


Also, we had to get up at 5am to start the next day.

Double oops.

I set a wake up call - but I didn’t trust it. I’ve been waking up to my phone alarm clock for the past decade - I know that works and I don’t particularly trust wake up calls. Luckily, it worked. I woke up at 5am, met up with the documentary crew who is tagging along with us and away we went.

The first stop of Day 3 was breakfast at a farm in Missouri about 90 minutes away from Kansas City. As we were driving across the last dirt road in this big van, there were two huge white dogs sitting on the side of the road. As we approached, they stood. We slowed down, unsure what they were going to do.

As we passed them, they TOOK OFF running next to us and paced us at 25 miles an hour for a solid 20 or 30 seconds. Then they turned off and went back to their spot. I guess that’s how they get their exercise!

[caption id=”””” align=”“aligncenter”” width=”“600”“]The Internet is on Farms Now[/caption]

We pulled into the farm and it was awesome. I didn’t grow up on a farm. I grew up in suburbs and live in a city. It was awesome to see lambs, goats, chickens and cows roaming around 180 acres worth of grass, fields, and forest.

[caption id=”””” align=”“aligncenter”” width=”“600”“]I’M (petting) A GOAT![/caption]

This was a proper farm. We were here to talk to a farmer, <a href=”” http:=”””” “”=”” title=”” tom=”” parker=”” farm=”” meats=”” in=”” missouri””=”” target=”” _blank””=”“>Tom Parker</a>. He is incredibly passionate about raising grass fed animals. He told us a story about how due to a drought this season, he had more animals than he could feed. He could have supplemented their diets with grains.

[caption id=”””” align=”“aligncenter”” width=”“600”“]Tom Parker from Parker Farms Meats[/caption]

Instead, he culled the herd and took a loss rather than feed them grains. Tom is a true blue American farmer, through and through, and that is why we were there. This was a small business, the kind the political candidates are saying are the backbone of our economy. But… how does the internet effect small farms like <a href=”” http:=”””” “”=”” title=”” grassfed=”” beef=”” in=”” missouri””=”” target=”” _blank””=”“>Parker Farms Natural Meats</a>?

Our theory is that everyone knows that there are a ton of tech companies on the coasts, but people tend to forget about the middle of the country. But the internet is here, too… and it’s just as important (if not more) in the Midwest.

Tom told us he checks his email two or three times a week. And yet, 95% of his business comes from his website. We interviewed him and his family for a long time about their business, about farming, and about how the internet has effected how they operate.

Many people think of farmers as simple, primitive, or uneducated - but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Tom is super sharp, recognizes when technology can help him, his business, and his family, and is frustrated when Big Agriculture lobbies for laws that hurt small farmers and spoke elegantly about these issues.

He then treated us to an amazing breakfast of sausages (from recently slaughtered pigs), fresh made quiche, raw milk (milked that morning from the cow you see below), and some sort of desert that could only be described as a heavenly combination of cheesecake and cream cheese.

[caption id=”””” align=”“aligncenter”” width=”“450”“]A Cow Named Bambi. I drank from you![/caption]

I got a picture of a backflip in front of some cows (accidentally scaring them!), and then the bus head to leave to head to St Louis…

Written on January 1, 2012