Organic, conventional, sustainable, small, large, factory, family owned, cooperative, every farm is necessary. There is an ever increasing demand for local, organic, family farmed food. And that is great for dwellers who happen to live within miles of where produce is grown. I am lucky to live in California, where I have access to fresh and local food all times of the year. But to someone living in the rural Montana mountains, what are they suppose to eat in January? Beef and mushy potatoes?
We need larger scale farms to be able to produce food to feed areas in the country and world that don't have access to fresh, local food all year round. If I lived in Montana I would certainly get tired of eating steak and potatoes after 4 months and crave a big garden salad, or a crispy apple or mound of berries. And thanks to farmers in other parts of the country, they have access to these things.
Farmers Markets are a great way to access local and fresh food. In California, we are lucky to have year round access to these markets. Now, lets travel to Texas. In Austin, they have thriving farmers markets for four summer months. The remaining 8 months of the year they have to shop at super markets to have fresh produce. The farmers across the country are growing fresh produce in those 8 months, so that Austin families can still have access to fresh food.
Community Supported Agriculture is a great subscription program where farmers fill a box of fresh produce and consumers can either pick it up or have it delivered to their home or business. These boxes are great for people who live within 120 miles of these farms. But I don't think these farm boxes would look very fresh by the time they made the trek to Alaska in February.
All of these programs are great and necessary to meet the needs and demands for the people around them that thrive with these small farms. But for the consumers across rural America, or in bustling cities it doesn't quite work.
What about the New York businessman who works 10 plus hours a day and picks up dinner on the way home, while riding the subway to their 500 square foot apartment. Most of these apartments don't even have room for full refrigerators and some of these city slickers are just fine not having to cook meals either. They prefer the fast and convenient, prepackaged meals they can pick up. Or if they are like Carrie from Sex and the City, they store shoes in their ovens because they care more about storage then preparing food.
Now these are all just examples of programs, farms, and consumers I have ran across in my life. But by no means are these everyone's situations and opinions. Just like no two consumers situations are the same, no two farms are the same.
What an organic farm is able to yield is not going to match a conventional farm. A small family farm may not have the same logistical resources to be able to ship their produce across the country as a larger scale farm would have. But with different soil, climate, water, fertilizer, temperatures, or seeds these farms are all able to grow different crops. None of which are better than the other.
In a world where we constantly are pegging one thing against the other, we are blessed to have options. Why must we pick one? Every farm has a demand. They wouldn't be in business otherwise. We need to support each farmers right to choose what works best for their farm. We shouldn't boycott a farm because he's not organic. We shouldn't protest a farmer because he ships his produce to another country. We need to support everyone.
As consumers should we really be telling the farmer how to better farm? Farmers are farming so you don't have to. I farm so you can be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or whatever make you happy. When I am sick I go to the doctor, I don't try to diagnose myself and write my own prescription for medicine I need. When you get hungry you go to the store and expect what you are craving to be there. Because of farmers across the world, it will be.
Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny