Mon, 02/19/2018 – 9:27am
From March 1st to 3rd, farmers, educators, industry experts, and agricultural organizations and vendors will descend on Danville, IN to display and discuss their miniature model farms that have been brought to life with exacting detail, hand-painted accents, and handcrafted charm. Countless hours have been spent building miniature barns, housing 1:50 scale hand-carved cows, pigs, sheep, and horses, set in the midst of rolling astroturf hills and rows of mini corn. White-lacquered, distressed balsa wood fences abut jewelry-wire electric fences creating a visual dichotomy of pasture and homestead that is both functional and visually appealing. The grain silos made out of modified soup cans, the paper-mache rocks, and the twig trees with plastic, cotton-candy canopies all sing together in these operatic dioramas of agrarian whimsy.
Many would view these as a simple hobby, but miniaturizing your farmstead allows you to understand the relationships of various agricultural systems and the physical ramifications of minute changes to your structures. For instance, over time you would notice how the use of an inferior super glue to adhere the joints of your equipment shed walls would lead to the buildings early demise and costly repairs for the farmer. I mean at full-size it would be bolted, not glued, but, same principle. Or, after a heavy, spray-bottle downpour, those who used high-quality soil in their fields would see less runoff and erosion than those who used cheap, potting soil and paid little to no attention to the complex strata of soil composition that underlies proper drainage and good soil health.
All of these agricultural modelists have all come together to marvel at each other’s work and gain a better understanding of how starting small and making small changes on a miniature scale can really have a much greater impact on the expo center patchwork of to scale farms. Whether you understand the implications of what the Indiana Small Farms Conference is trying to do here or not you have to respect the people who are a part of it and live their lives promoting its importance. Everyone at the conference will be there in the hopes of learning from one another and working together to gain a collective voice and bring their cause to the forefront of the national agricultural conversation.
Wait, Mallory just told me that’s not what the conference is about….apparently, it’s not about miniature models of farms, but just small farms that are people-sized….oops….I think the same principles apply though.