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Why Is Farmers Working Together a Threat?

February 9, 2012

In a very practical way we stand on food choices. It is food choices that lead customers to trust us with growing their food. It is food choices that allow so many choices that we in America are spoiled beyond belief.

There’s plain food. There’s organic, natural, vegetarian, vegan,kosher,  heirloom, heritage, slow food, fast food, home grown. There’s a diversity of ethnic offerings for those that want chickens with colored feathers or other options. And with all of these options are farmers offering choices by growing it.

So with the diverse markets and options it is amazing to me that there are people who do not want farmers to get along. They thrive on discounting and creating division. There are individual farmers who hurl insults and are willing to take advantage of such ‘opportunity’. There are those individuals who discount anyone working together as “supporting the status quo.”

The oxymoronic thing of course is that in action we don’t – but for those consumers who don’t buy from *us* it offers them choices. After all, if 20,000 people signed up with us for farm shares, we’d no longer be a small farm nor would we fit on 11 acres! With 200 people we’d be scrambling to supply those food choices…and there are many with the same point. There are other farms that are larger, and specialized. We have friends that dairy, and produce almonds, and cotton experts, aquaculture and citrus growers. There’s friends who produce hogs and beef and chickens in volumes that we don’t want to and can’t conceive doing!

And that’s ok – because there are people who need what they have, and there’s people who choose what we have. Most are not the same consumers. There are those who look down at places like us as a “hobby” that “aren’t serious” because we don’t deal in volume, and there are small places who lob “factory farm” insults at anyone larger than them.There are those large organizations who can’t possibly learn from someone with a smaller vantage point, so discount them.

And when those of us who support farm and food choices band together to try to present a picture of all in agriculture, it sometimes takes funding from those who can afford it. That is, then, a bad thing. Somehow when operating costs are covered by a company that has the money, it then changes the message.

As a supporter of the AgChat Foundation I’ve seen many people try to discredit the network of farmers within the umbrella. There are those who say that because a major company provides financial support it then alters the message. Yet they also criticize if small farms aren’t included in activities! Clearly, no matter what is done people love to criticize and find fault!

So here’s the thing, straight up. A while back I was asked to serve as director on the AgChat Foundation, an honor I accepted. Last year it was criticized because some (not all) funds were donated by Monsanto. It could just as easily been from Slow Food USA or Gardens Alive or other organic producer operations – but for whatever reason they chose not to donate to an organization that empowers all farmers to tell their stories of what happens on their farms.

Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time knows who we are and what we are. There is no company or organization that is going to bother with what we’re doing. We exist for our customers and the preservation of animals and plant varieties we believe in. If that sweetens your tea then by all means visit our food and sale pages and buy from us or sponsor something! If it doesn’t great – go find a farm that supports your food choices and buy from them!Are there critics? Sure there are – those who don’t want food choices or farm choices.

Without the patchwork quilt of agriculture none of us have choices. Preserve it, cherish it and support it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2012 7:57 PM

    Yeah. I’m not a big fan of Monsanto, but sheesh. I’m tired of the labeling and the us vs. them. As a farmer squarely on the fence between organic and conventional (we are both), I feel the pain of being on the fence and having rotten tomatoes lobbed from both sides. =)

  2. February 10, 2012 10:18 PM

    Same here Lona. I think often farming is not nearly as consumed with Monsanto or GMO etc as others are. Only a few can be served with small operations…there are millions who need food and I’m thankful there are other places to serve them also. And feel that pain too. A little less all the time, but there will always be critics. As long as we know who we are, don’t let others define who we are.

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