Monday, June 27, 2005

Cheap Food, New Farms

Cheap Food, counting the costs

The economists on Wallstreet keep telling us the disappearance of farming in America is good thing. Let them make food were it is the cheapest they say. Just as the heartless fools can't count the human and environmental costs of the destruction of the family farm and the rise of the specialist monster that devoured them, they also lack the wisdom to realize that growing our own food is central to our independence as a nation. I found this quote from John Ikerd interesting....

The US in the future could well become as dependent on the rest of the world for food as we are today for oil. Economists argue that it doesn't matter where our food is produced. If producing food elsewhere in the world will be cheaper, we will all be better off without agriculture in the US. But how long will it be before an OFEC (Organization of Food Exporting Countries) is formed to restrict world food supplies causing our food prices to skyrocket just as we have seen skyrocketing prices of gasoline. Perhaps we can keep food imports flowing -- through our military might, if economic coercion fails. But, what will be the real costs? How many small wars will we have to fight, and how many people will we be forced to kill just for the sake of cheap food? Can we afford the real costs of cheap food?

While some in our day have the moral courage to say "No Blood For Oil", I can't see anyone who is hungry and poor yelling "No Blood For Food". The thought of our children dieing so there countrymen can eat should scare us just a little. Will it come to that,Maybe not, probably not, but the fact that it could should make us rethink our cheap food policy.

A New Kind Of Farm

Tom and I both make our living from our farms. Both of us have seen a lot of changes and challenges(Tom because he has been at it longer). Its funny that we both have come to some of the same conclusions about the future of farming. If we are to survive we will have to distance ourselves from "industrialized Ag" which caused a great deal of the problems we now face as we try to keep our farms alive for the next generation. Its not easy changing the way you've done things your whole life, especially for farmers. We are implementing changes to our farms to make them even more "family friendly" and environmentally sound. I liked the way it was explained in this article.........

Thankfully, a new kind of American farming is emerging to meet the challenges of corporate industrialization. This new kind of farming is not being developed by USDA, by the Land Grant Universities, or the major farm organizations. The agricultural establishment seems willing to bet the future of humanity on biotechnology the latest tool of corporate industrialization. The new American farm is being created by farmers. Literally thousands of new farmers, all across the continent, are creating new and better ways to farm. These new ways of farming promise better days through better ways even though the struggles of our former years have fallen far short of their early promise.

These new farmers may call themselves organic, biodynamic, holistic, ecological, natural, practical, or just plain family farmers, but they are all farming by the basic principles of a sustainable agriculture. At least three regional sustainable agriculture conferences in the U.S. regularly draw from 1200 to 1500 farmers each year. Several more conferences draw from 300-500 per year, and the number with 100-200 in attendance is too many to count. But perhaps more important, their numbers, their enthusiasm, and their optimism for the future seems to be growing each year. These farmers are on the frontier of a new and different kind of agriculture. Certainly, they face struggles and hardships and there are failures along the way. Life is rarely easy on any new frontier. But, a growing number are finding ways to succeed.

Many of these farmers may not identify themselves with the name sustainable agriculture, but their farming methods are, none the less, more sustainable than are the industrial methods that they all reject. They are creating farming systems that are more resistant, resilient, regenerative, and renewable, and thus, are sustainable over time. They are trying to make a good living from the land, but leave the land as good as they found it. They are meeting the needs of themselves and of society in the present, while leaving equal or better opportunities for those of the future.


At 6/27/2005 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homesteader Life, I have just begun the trip into the home farm lifestyle. My wife and I live in Texas and are starting to plant our own garden and have just completed our first chicken kill. I must say that I do so desire that our Lord would help me to be able to work in a home business and to teach my 4 boys still at home how to be Godly men. My main regret at this point in life, is that it has taken me 49 years and two children lost to the world to find out that working 7-4 is not really the way I need and now want to earn my living. Looking forard to reading your blog daily.....
squareye56 in Texas

At 6/27/2005 7:01 PM, Blogger reformed farmer said...


Glad to hear your on your to agrarian lifestlye. Sounds like your making progress! Your boys will thank you for it, I'm sure. There is no finer way to grow up. We all will be praying for folks, keep at it!

At 6/27/2005 10:36 PM, Blogger JM said...


So well said... Looks like you are attracting some great readers..


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