There is such an unnecessary division in agriculture. It’s such a diverse industry there’s small vs large farmers and family vs industrial then there’s “only what we believe” vs “everyone else” – and consumers just want food.
Wendell Berry once made a comment about food being too important to be a weapon. Yet here we are decades later and that is exactly what it’s come to.
Advocate purists say only organic or local or small farm (without saying what a small farm is!). They actively rail against larger farms without regard to their customers are a totally different market. We all eat – that’s a no brainer.
In working to set up a farm that caters to what many Twitter consumers say they want it fits with many personal ideas already. It uses ‘responsible’ methods, heritage and heirloom seeds and livestock (many seeds are organic), it allows for knowing where the food was grown and, with web cam transmission and other videos it allows absolute transparency. There’s a price that comes with that and yet talking about money brought a furious attack of being money orientated over everything else. Actually it’s being realistic – land costs money! The bigger questions come up – in talking with several people they love the idea – but can’t afford it. Feedback from out of the area brings the same comments – great idea…I can’t afford it but great idea!
Knowing full well this is a specialty market for under 40 people it doesn’t seem possible to deliver for what the market can afford no matter how much food is delivered. No matter the principles behind it – those who can’t afford it simply can’t afford it.
OK so we take out the large farms. We eliminate all who don’t think on this level – what do those people eat? They can’t afford to buy food from custom places. There isn’t food (bulk produced) at the store so what is their option? This has not yet brought a single clear answer – it’s just seen as saying small farms don’t work. NOT what I said! They can and do work – and better as our nation is much more rural than city!
But the question remains – if they can’t afford $700 or $1500 or $5,000 for a custom raised situation what do they eat? Especially if not having room for year round raising of food themselves?
Options are wonderful! Many move to the country to raise what they can and barter for what they can’t. But what about those who can’t afford it? It seems that even though maybe it’s not ideal by many standards that volume produced food, processed or HFCS or whatever, is better than going hungry.
When you go 3-4 days without eating because you can’t afford food it changes a great deal of perspective. We need large farms and small. We need volume as well as choices. There is no excuse for anyone going hungry in America and yet due to legislation, regulation and fear of lawsuits produce and milk is better dumped than given to the hungry.
Things have to change. Forcing people to go hungry isn’t the way to do it. Those clamoring for change put the $$ up and make it change!