The Ladybug Letter is an open letter from Mariquita Farm to everyone with a curiosity about the people, practices, and politics of farming.
“Mariquita” means ladybug in Spanish, which is the language of daily work on our farm, and the ladybug is the mascot of the natural farming movement. As a farmer I’m a friend to the ladybug. As a “man of letters” I want to be a man of “ladybug letters.”
Today society takes it for granted that not many farmers are needed to grow the food that feeds the nation. The media has followed the crowds and largely forgotten about farming. When the press does turn its attention to the fields reporters often lack the experience or appreciation of context to know what questions to ask.
There is an agricultural media, but as far as I’m concerned the industry magazines I get in the mail are ventriloquist dummies that channel messages from their corporate sponsors that manufacture “crop protection products.” Farmers like me can complain about being misunderstood and ignored - or we can write the news ourselves. You have tuned in to my broadcast.
I don’t believe in the myth of journalistic objectivity. All that is at issue is whether or not a writer chooses to reveal their bias. There are no chemicals or artificial flavoring agents in the vegetables I grow, and I hope that where there’s sweetness or bitterness in the stories I write the perspective has grown “organically” too out of lived experience on the farm - no nostalgia, no regrets, no corporate bullshit. I hope you enjoy the Ladybug Letter, and I thank you for your time and attention. -Andy
Contact info for Andy and Mariquita Farm:
andy at mariquita dot com
po box 2065 Watsonville, CA 95077-2065