Wendell Berry said, “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: ‘Love. They must do it for love.’ Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”
That just about says it all. We all know about famous farmers like Wendell Berry, Jimmy Carter, and Barbara Kingsolver. But it might surprise you that some people who have become very successful in other areas just can’t resist the urge to farm. They don’t need the money; they don’t need the bounty; and they certainly don’t need the headaches. Why do they do it? They must do it for love!
Here are a few of the famous farmers among us that just might surprise you …
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has been a passionate advocate of organic farming since the 1980s, and is now an outspoken opponent of GMOs. “It is now 14 years since I first suggested that organic farming might have some benefits and ought to be taken seriously. I shall never forget the vehemence of the reaction … much of it coming from the sort of people who regard agriculture as an industrial process, with production as the sole yardstick of success.”
Comedian Roseanne Barr lives on an organic macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. “I’m a farmer now, and it’s fantastic. My goal is to be totally self-sufficient and grow everything that I eat. There’s something about earning your dinner that’s cool. I got the fame and the fortune that I always wanted. But I have to say what I have now, it’s even better.”
Actor Russell Crowe owns a 1,400-acre ranch in Australia where he raises over 700 head of Black Angus cattle. “It’s a total oasis. You go to the farm, and if you let the rhythm of the farm be your rhythm and dominate, whatever’s going on in your mind, you can settle it down and sort it out,”
Actress Nicole Kidman and her husband, singer Keith Urban, have both a cattle ranch in Australia and a farm in Nashville, where they raise alpacas and vegetables.
Actress Reese Witherspoon has a farm in Ojai, California, where she raises goats, pigs, and miniature donkeys. “It’s so good for the kids to learn about animals and kindness and compassion. I make them clean the stalls.”
Actor Tom Selleck grows 63 acres of avocados on his ranch in California; actor Jamie Foxx grows avocados right next door. Singer Jason Mraz also grows avocados near San Diego, where he harvests 30,000 pounds of the fruit a year!
Actress Elizabeth Hurley has a 400-acre organic farm in Gloucester, England, and recently launched a line of all-natural snack bars from food produced on her farm.
Actor Mark Ruffalo lives on a 50-acre former dairy farm in New York, where he grows strawberries and hay and plans to raise sheep.