Today we visited family run businesses: an organic dairy farm, and an apiculture center. Visiting both presented a variety of shared purposes and similarities, but also differences that we can see between Barcelona and Chicago. La Selvatana, the dairy farm run by Anna Serra, has a combination of 170 cows, with 90 dairy cows producing milk. Anna led us through the farm introducing us to the calves who have been separated from their mothers for a while, and then leading us to the calves who have been just separated from the mothers while explaining each component; The separation leads to the production of milk and this occurs for about 100 days. 22 liters of milk are produced on average by each cow per day.
It was intriguing to discover the factors included in dairy production. At one point while explaining how milk production, Anna explained to us how she doesn’t appreciate when people say they love the “fresh, organic milk” and how everything is very warm; she enlightened us while showing the milking machine and talked about being realistic is a requirement when running a business. Each cow is about 6.45 euros to feed per day, and the cows reciprocate by producing the milk. Anna and her family have to also thrive and live prosperously while producing milks, yogurts, and cheeses for the community.
There were similar themes I found between the visit to the dairy farm and La Casa de les Abelles, the apiculture center, where with owner, Ramone and his wife, Cecilia, we were able observe beekeeping. The level of commitment of owners of family run businesses has been high with pure passion; at one point during each visit, Anna and Ramone talked about how they were very happy they were able to use their farms to make children happy. Anna did this by giving 15,000 schoolkids fresh, organic yogurt. Ramone began bringing kids to his property after his son’s class came to visit and word spread through town about what a wonderful experience they had.
The theme which surprised me most today was the idea of feminism within agriculture. We tend to stereotype roles of individuals in regards to what men and women should be doing; for example, when referring to a doctor or lawyer, we may use the pronoun “he” or “him”. In both areas, women such as Anna and Cecilia had lead roles in the organization and execution of each system, and females were in control or had power in production such as the dairy cows or the queen bees of the colonies. I believe these ideas should be encouraged more in the United States and Chicago. Even though it’s 2017, the idea of women in positions of power is still indigestible to some. If a queen bee can produce 250,000 eggs a day, and a dairy cow can produce 22 liters of milk a day, I think women can gain the respect they’ve been trying to receive for over a century now.