By Corrie Quinn, member of Slow Food Indianapolis
“Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate from the world.” – Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871
Folks with a thumb any shade of green can guess that farming is risky business: betting on the weather and against pests, doubling down on a chef’s preference and nearly folding when endless days in the field culminate with working weekends at the market. We might say farmers eat onions together. They bare the bitter risk to provide us with sweet, secure sustenance.
In central Indiana, we’ve been painfully reminded of our producers’ risky profession as the news spreads of a tragic accident in the fields of Seldom Seen Farm.
Every day, John Ferree and his wife Kelly Funk bring their one-year-old daughter Laila to the fields that John’s family has been tilling for generations. While neither John nor Kelly grew up farming, they’ve been deeply committed to their work since starting the farm in 2004 and have been providing several Hoosier communities with good, clean, and fair food ever since. The couple hosts Slow Food Indy events and represented central Indiana at Slow Food’s Terra Madre festival in 2008.
Two weeks ago, Kelly and John waited in their barn for a storm to pass. The sky was clearing up so they went back to work in the field where Kelly was picking onions. She was struck by lightning and her heart stopped until her husband John administered CPR. Today, Kelly is in critical but stable condition; she is still unconscious while doctors begin to administer tests and discuss Kelly’s future with her family.