Oh Farmville, What Have You Done to Me?
Do you play the hugely popular game Farmville on Facebook? If not, you should check it out because over 64 million people in the world log into Facebook and play it every day. I admit that I am addicted to Farmville! It really is a catchy little game and it has absolutely taken the world by storm! The game involves planting and harvesting crops, harvesting livestock, growing your farm, and much more.
As a former farmer, I must admit, I was a little annoyed that some of the crops aren’t true to real life. I mean blueberries grow on bushes, not on the ground like strawberries! And potatoes grow under the ground, not on top of it! But in spite of those inconsistencies with real life, I still enjoy the game. And I think that people who play the game are actually learning a little bit about real farming itself.
For example, how many people, outside of farmers themselves, know what fallow land is, other than those playing Farmville? (For those who still don’t know, fallow land is land that is kept free of growing plants during the growing season, or rotated out, during crop rotations.) And how many people really know where their food comes from and what kind of work it takes to produce it?
In Farmville, after you plant your seeds in the land that you have plowed, your crops take anywhere from 2 hours to 4 days to fully grow. After they are grown, you have the same amount of time to harvest them before they start to wither. For example, a 2 hour crop takes 4 hours to wilt; a 1 day crop takes 2 days to wither.
In Farmville, like in real life farming, it takes careful planning to make sure you time everything properly to get the most return on your investment (your harvest). If you plan poorly, you will get a poor return on your investment. Crops that are left in the ground too long and don’t get harvested will wither or die.
In real life farming you have to know much more than just what to plant, or how to milk a cow. Our farmers need to know such things as consistency and Ph balances of the soil they plant in, correct nutritional balance for the diets of their livestock, which climate is suitable for what plant and when and much more.
I’ve also noticed that the game Farmville has made me more aware of local farms and where our food comes from. Maybe it’s just me, but every time I drive by a crop I want to know what it is. If I see fallow land, I want to plant it or put up a barn. Maybe that’s true with real life farmers too.
In the game Farmville, each time you plow, plant, help neighbors, fertilize neighbor’s crops or harvest your own fertilized crops, you earn experience points. In real life, the more you farm the more experience you get; which makes for a successful farmer.
Our farmers are some of the hardest working people in the world. Players of the game Farmville just get a small taste of the hard work that our farmers do each and every day. They can’t just quit the game. They have to keep pushing on.
So the next time you play Farmville and get caught up in planting and harvesting for points, consider the very real work that our farmers do every day which produces a very real reward; quality food that feeds us, and our world.
Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services.
For more information contact Julie Murphree at (480) 635-3607 or go to http://www.azfb.org.