Friday, August 20, 2010


I need to make a little correction to my last column. I do have a job, it's just not really my dream job. (And that's not really even true because I technically have two jobs.) I start today at my old job in Urbana. Before I moved to Chicago the second time, I worked for about a year as a Barista at Strawberry Fields. It's were I learned how to love coffee and it's part of why I'm obsessed with food. Such interesting people shop their and the atmosphere is very relaxed. It will be nice to work there again, although it does feel like one giant step back. Like the last five years never happened.

But that's not what's important. My important job, the job that will keep me sort of sane for the next however long, is my stringer job. I'm writing for my home town newspaper, the Piatt County Journal-Republican. Don't try to find it online, because it's not there. I've been writing a column for them for the last year or more, but now I'm writing actual news stories. And it's wonderful.

At first I scoffed at the idea of writing for such a small paper so close to where I grew up. I came at it with a fairly arrogant and impertinent attitude about the whole thing. "Why should I bother with crop yield?"Aren't I better than this story?" [Actual story I just wrote: Piatt county corn and beans count.] But what I found their was amazing. Crop yield deeply and profoundly effects the whole town. Without a good corn crop the town economy would plummet and the world would starve. But not only that, these people are some of the nicest people I've ever met. They genuinely care about growing food and feeding the world. The meeting shifted toward the worlds natural disasters effecting crops, Russian drought, Pakistani flooding. An old man spoke up. "Who's going to feed those people?" It was a very touching question that woke me up out of my urban ego. This is why I'm doing this, to tell stories about people like this, sometimes it's important to be reminded of that.

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