It seems like one of the recurring themes in my recent podcast feed and reading list has been the so-called urban rural divide. Most interestingly, I seem to bump into this from both sides of the table. I’ll read in an agriculture publication that the urbanites don’t get it, and then I’ll hear on the radio that it’s the rural folks that just don’t understand. We seem to be crossing signals somewhere!

Call me naïve, but I don’t completely understand the divide, especially around food. I’ll admit up front that geography may skew my opinion, because although I live in rural Minnesota, I often take advantage of our close proximity to the Twin Cities. Like many folks in our area, we often say we have the best of both worlds. I can work all day on the farm and have dinner and a Twins game in Minneapolis.

That disclosure aside, I think both sides are missing the point if we don’t see how interconnected we are, particularly when it comes to food. As any of my ag publications would remind you, most city folks would starve without rural farmers growing their food. It’s a common refrain in farming. But, we can’t forget that the flip side of that coin is also true; most farmers would be gardeners with an expensive hobby if we didn’t have metro consumers seeking out the food we grow. We need each other, and in that sense, we feed each other.

It’s true that less than 2% of Americans are directly engaged in agriculture today. It’s also true that over 80% of Americans live in urban areas. This sounds to me like we all depend on the folks on the other side of the table to sustain our work or lifestyle. It’s basic supply and demand.

We probably feel this in our farm and business more than most, simply because we’re more directly connected to our consumers than many farms today. Still, I think we’d all be wise – rural and urban folks alike – to remember that we need each other to put bread on the table. While it won’t med the divide I keep hearing about, I hope farmers like us will do our part to go about our work with appreciation for the end consumer in mind, and I hope customers will give a moment of gratitude for the rural folks that bring food to the table. Afterall, we all need to eat, and there are few things better than a shared meal.