Protestors at Occupy Wall Street's Farmer's March wind their way through the streets of New York City on Dec. 4, 2011. (Brennan Cavanaugh/Flickr)
If you saw a Hollywood celebrity walking down Main Street in your town tomorrow, you’d be pretty amazed, right?
Well, the odds of catching a glimpse of Tom Cruise, say in Wonewoc, Wis., aren’t very good. Neither is seeing an organic dairy farmer in New York City.
When Jim Goodman, an organic dairy farmer from — you guessed it — Woneoc, Wis., showed up in New York to support the Occupy Wall Street Movement, some of the protesters were pretty floored.
“Farmers are kind of a rock star in some ways because people never actually see that many farmers,” Goodman said. “Especially when you’re in a group of people who realize the value of good, locally grown, fresh food and (you’re) someone who actually does that for a living, they’re very anxious to welcome you.”
Since then, the Occupy Movement has fizzled some, especially as much of the nation shifts toward presidential politics. Still, some Occupiers hope they can influence upcoming elections, even as the movement evolves away from staging large-scale protests, Reuters reported.
But the farming community doesn't seem to be playing much of a part. While some farmers like Goodman latched on to the Occupy movement, farm country largely ignored the protests. There were (and in some cases, still are) protest groups in places like Kansas City, Des Moines, and Lincoln, Neb., but the movement didn’t exactly catch fire in the Midwest.
Though he admitted that farmers willing to protest in support of the Occupy movement were rare, Goodman said many farmers he talked to at least started to understand the protesters.
For his part, Goodman sees the Occupy movement as linked to organized labor and believes the protests raised important debates heading into the election season.
“I think farmers are starting to realize that we need to work together with the people that buy from us to achieve the same goal of getting a fair price, whether it’s for farm work or factory work,” Goodman said.
Conservatives and liberals, Occupiers and politicians, protesters and academics, come from all walks of life.
Rock stars, though, they only come from MTV. And maybe Wisconsin.
“Well, it’s a nice thought, it doesn’t always happen,” Goodman chuckled. Maybe only among local food movement die-hards.
“They say, ‘You mean you really do that and that’s what you do for a living?’" Goodman said. "And they say, ‘Oh wow, that’s so cool.’”
What do you think? Does the Occupy movement resonate in rural America? Tell us!