Farming by hand

I suspect one of the images of Ukraine I’ll remember will be the view through a train window of huge, finely checkered fields with a single individual farming by hand. I’d see a lone babushka bent over in an enormous field planting on the little square which I assume was hers. I’ve seen a man pulling a hand plow, stepping and pushing hard to drag it over the loose earth. It looked like a giant comb with widely spaced teeth.

On one hand, growing your own food, self reliance, being in touch with the source of your nutrition is beautiful. On the other hand, farming by hand is grossly inefficient. Specialization and trade leads to prosperity.

A friend of mine told me he wanted to eventually move to his wife’s village and farm. I suggest it was good if one enjoys farming in itself and also self-reliance and nature, but that it’d be a mistake for him, who has no experience, to do it for financial reasons. I referred him to this funny story about a businessman turned farmer, turned farming-resort-manger.

Of course, there is also increasing investment in large-scale farming: