I’m guessing that many of you have always thought that Daylight Savings Time was put into practice at the behest of farmers. If you’re like me you’ve probably always heard that farmers lobbied for the extra hour of summer sunlight in order to extend their planting and harvest season. Ironically, while doing some research on the subject for this post (this being a blog about farmers after all) I found that nothing could be further from the truth. More on that in a minute.
First, don’t forget to set your clocks ahead this Saturday so you don’t show up late for Sunday’s Winter Market session at the Bridgeport Conference Center! See, I had a selfish reason for talking about DST. As always we’ll be there 11am to 2pm with all the stuff you’ve come to know and love including some great grub from the BCC chefs. And, of course, our theme will be St Patrick’s Day so don’t forget to wear your green.
So, about those farmers. But first a little history on the origins of Daylight Saving Time.
The brainchild of DST was a well-known British builder, William Willett, who’s only real reason seems to be that he loved daylight although it seems he came up with the idea that it would also save on lighting and heating costs. In 1907 he published a pamphlet on the subject and convinced a member of Parliament that he was right. Unfortunately for Will he didn’t live to see his dream become law. It wasn’t until 1916 and the outbreak of WWI that the British decided they could save coal for the war effort by moving the clocks ahead. Ironically, it was the Germans who bought into Willett’s idea first for the same reason.
So why are farmers given credit (some folks would say the blame) for the idea of extra daylight? In actuality farmers were against DST. After WWI and the return to standard time farmers fought against it any time it was even suggested during peacetime. They were finally overruled in 1966 when we enacted the version we have today. So because farmers, thru their opposition, were the ones most commonly linked to DST they ended up being thought of as the ones who pushed for it. Only in America!
And why were they so adamantly against it, you ask? Well, I’m going to verify this with some of our farmers at the Market this Sunday but generally they preferred working in the morning light. Plus dairy cows adjust to it about as well as us humans. Don’t mess with the cows’ tight schedules!
And the idea that our great American Ben Franklin was behind it seems to be a bit of a hoax as well. In keeping with his “early to bed, early to rise” work ethic he once suggested that perhaps people should just get up earlier in the summer. I don’t know about you but, as a non-morning person myself, old Ben and I wouldn’t have gotten along.
These days there is a movement afoot, especially in Florida, to just make DST the Standard Time. After all, we’re only on so-called Standard Time for four months a year now. Or maybe we should just rename them. We could be on Standard Time for eight months and DLT (Daylight Losing Time) for the other four!
Until next time, Stay Fresh!