Breaking News coming out of San Francisco, CA - Millions of American farmers have found themselves out of work after the agriculture conglomerate, Zynga, announced that they would be shutting down FarmVille on December 31st, 2020. The notice has sent shockwaves across the aboriginal farming community after an eleven-year run.
When Zynga first released their revolutionary product in 2009, the farming industry was struggling. Agriculture had long been viewed as a demanding, labor-intensive career. The number of farms across America had stayed stale for years at around 2.16 million. With the introduction of FarmVille, though, a new generation of farmer was born. By fundamentally changing how the industry operated, it opened the floodgates to millions of new prospective farmers. This radical change helped see the way for American agriculture to soar from 2.16 million to more than 18 million farms.
Zynga's new product promised a life of meaning, prosperity, and a sense of community that had been lost in a world filled with office jobs and cubicles. Midwestern, suburban mothers across the nation saw it as an opportunity to build something significant; A chance to reap what they sowed.
FarmVille provided that; A new frontier of sorts. With its tremendous potential, millions of average Americans took their chance and started a new life in agriculture. Pastures quickly grew throughout the platform. People who were once stuck at dead-end accounting jobs and unbearable marriages were now still stuck at dead-end accounting jobs with unbearable marriages, but now had a virtual farm to wake up and tend to each and every day.
Of course, that's not to say the disruptive agriculture company didn't come with its fair share of cons. Despite the absurd growth in virgin farmers, physical crop output shockingly stayed stagnant. Experts attribute the lack of crop yield to inexperience and the fact that it was a computer game.
Many farmers also found that Zynga's promises proved to be empty. The idea that FarmVille would provide free and prosperous farming was far from the truth. Once sucked into the profession, many middle-class mothers found themselves stuck with no choice but to pay premiums at the FarmVille market.
Rationally speaking, one could not be expected to compete and grow into legitimate large-scale operations without spending cash. Those unwilling to take on debt were left to participate in pyramid-like schemes by spamming Facebook with requests to help find lost cattle, participate in coin giveaways, tend to crops and cattle, and even knowingly pawn off dangerous fertilizing jobs to friends.
Massive pressure was placed on farmers to keep up with their fellow peers. They were expected meet absurd demands and timelines for items like strawberries with a grow time of 24 hours. It was pay or fall by the wayside. With what felt like the weight of the world on their shoulders, millions of farmers began to cave. What started as a community of friends turned into a community of coworkers, and finally, into a community torn.
As the years passed, more and more families abandoned their farms, causing foreclosures to skyrocket. Time's were tough, and the lack of any real opportunity left a vacuum that lawlessness would soon fill. Thousands of farmers who's futures looked bleak turned to a life of crime, joining hate groups and Zynga backed crime syndicates:
Other’s fled in hopes to find more fertile grounds elsewhere…
Despite this mass exodus, millions of dedicated folks stuck to what they knew. It was the older generation that still maintained their sense of community. When things get tough, these people weren’t willing to abandon all that they had built.
Excerpt from an interview with my mother about my exes mother, and friend of my mother, about her feelings about her abandonment: "I don’t care that Jessica’s mother moved to the big City(ville 2). She could never commit to anything for the long term. That’s why she’s divorced and Jessica’s a skank."
But even for these noble few, the dwindling ROI was beginning to become increasingly more difficult to ignore.
Which brings us to where we are today; American capitalist values have no room for the everyday, simple, hard-working folk. People who once ran industrial-sized farms have now been left to fend for themselves; Reduced to mere subsistence farmers. Still, I held out hope that something could and would change. I waited to see if the topic would come up during the 2020 Presidential debate, but no word was mentioned. I then reached out to my senators for comment:
My search for answers was met with radio silence. Neither senator returned my emails. Incredible, really, considering Gary Peter’s has characterized himself as an ally of the farming people during his ongoing election battle against John James.
Perhaps I'm too much of an idealist. Maybe romanticizing those unwilling to evolve with the times makes me a fool. But with technology taking over and workstations now operating from the comfort of one's home, we mustn't forget about the people whose backs this nation was built on.
NO, NO, NO! IGNORE! IGNORE!
Like I said, the people whose back's this nation was built on.
After the many hours of research that went into this article, I struggled to decide on a proper ending. Thankfully, the gift that keeps on giving - Reddit - gave me that closure:
We may not be able to save those millions of FarmVille jobs, but we can learn from the great people that committed their lives to feeding our virtual nation. When Issac Cosand faced the reality that his livelihood was going to be ripped up from right under him, he didn't cry, "woe is me." Feeling bad for himself wouldn't help anything. In his mind, there was only one thing to do:
Time to grind.