If you take the I-93 on an autumn day and drive three hours north from Boston, you’ll reach the foothills of the White Mountains. Roads wind around hills and are bounded by breathtaking and bountiful forests of white pines, red oaks and birch trees, all in various states of colorful transformation.
Although agriculture is probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of New Hampshire, farming is a major component of the state’s economy. But it isn’t an easy business and farms require a lot of physical toil and exposure to the elements.
Care and protection of their skin is an important concern for farmers. Hands and feet get chapped and cracked and arms and noses get burnt. Skin ailments that start small can escalate to debilitating issues quite quickly. If you can’t use your hands, you can’t farm. In this industry, your health is your currency.
The farmers we met spend their lives looking after other things, be it livestock, machinery, family or each other. This leaves little time for them to look after themselves. And many have either no healthcare or minimal healthcare.
But there is a big sense of community here. Most farmers are very active in their local towns and in turn their communities and local clinics look after them.
The Vaseline® Healing Project has been working to bring medical supplies and Vaseline® products to the community healthcare facilities in the region - providing the farming community with access to products to help protect their skin, whatever the work or the weather.
Deb, a dairy farmer, tells us that she has always looked for a product that fits with her busy lifestyle. “We keep a bottle of Vaseline® lotion in the bathroom, put it on twice a day and it just works.”
She chuckles as she tells us that her husband Doug, a farmer and a retired fire chief once said, “Real men don’t use moisturiser.”
She told us, “But you know, he complained so much about his hands cracking. I gave him a bottle I’d received and told him to put it on twice a day, and it’s made all the difference. Now he does it every day.”
She muses that a lot of farming folk wouldn’t think about using lotion to heal their dry skin unless they had been given some to try.
Wherever skin needs protecting, we're there.
With thanks to Ammonoosuc Community Health Services for their cooperation on this article.
Special thanks to Kris, and also Deb at Landaff Creamery