Thanks for posting Pat's note. It always interests me that we forget that
sustaining the farm and the farmer must be part of sustainable agriculture.
As a country and a planet, we can save all the farmland and ecosystems there
are but if nobody wants the job called "farmer," where is our food supply?
I farm organically and as sustainably as I can. The prices I can get in the
marketplace barely cover the additional cost of tracking my organic inputs to
prove I'm "doing it right."
We push our local farmers to further diversify and "extend the seasons."
Farmers work 14 hour days, 7 days a week in season.
The "solution" offered to the poor economics of sustainable food production
in this country is to do more of the same, harder.
For farmers, whose small acreage is in orchard, the Hobson's choice is to let
their family go hungry, lose the farm or save the crop and try it again next
year. Like the dieter at a conference who has no control over the food
served, we should applaud the recurring resolve of the next day, rather than
condeming the sustanence of the moment. Any anger we feel should merely
strengthen our resolve to support each other economically, more strongly and
to continue to educate others.
Until we all are willing to eat only locally produced foods, in season, pay
the real costs of production and see that farmers have a living wage even
when an occasional crop fails, we should recognize that we, too, are
contributing to the pressure against sustainability.
Compassion, community education, and personal example can change the world,
but right now were a long way from the hundredth monkey.