>>I believe we need to ask larger organizations (perhaps non-profits whose
>>goal is to preserve farm land) to step in and support farmers who wish to
>>continue farming but will promise to try sustainable techniques. That way
>>others in the community can see examples of how sustainable ag will work,
>>and at a profit, after the initial transition. Here in California, we had
>>over $1 million in state funds for farmers wishing to transistion to
>>organic practices left last year because no farmers had applied for it.
This brings up the subject of farmland preservation, about which I become
increasingly nervous. Many millions of dollars are being spent in
Pennsylvania to buy out development rights and preserve farmland.
But the program will succeed only to the extent that willing farmers can be
found to keep that land in agricultural production. As farming turns less
and less of a profit, fewer takers will be found. The land will then sit
idle--and, I fear, become prime land for development of any public-purpose
project. After all, taxpayers have already bought the development rights.
If it can't be a farm, why shouldn't it be a freeway interchange, a sewage
plant or a municipal office complex?
Thus a program intended to save farmland could easily, in a good lawyer's
hands, become a prime instrument for its destruction. I hope I'm being
paranoid about this.
The second from David Hine:
>When supplies are high in a food product, the wholesale price falls. With
>grains, this may have some impact on buying as the grains may go to other
>purposes. With fruit and vegetables though, people are unlikely to buy
>more. The demand for fruit and vegetables is comparatively price
>inelastic. So reducing the wholesale price means very llittle to the
>consumer, but communicates a strong mesage to the producer. And the message
>is that food must be produced very cheaply.
Precisely why we practice "customary pricing" in both our direct-market
outlets and in our wholesale restaurant accounts. The price of lettuce is
XX per case, in peak season and out, and the price is based on our cost of
production plus a reasonable profit margin.
When romaine lettuce was selling for $55 a case a month ago because of El
Nino's effects in California, our farm was charging $18 a case. Restaurants
we never HEARD of were clamoring for the lettuce, but we only had enough to
supply our regular clients, because we only GROW enough to supply our
regular clients. When lettuce is flooding the market, and is down to $6-7 a
case, we'll still be charging $18 a case. And we will still sell all we can
Why? Because our clients know they can trust our quality and our honesty.
And that's another reason to put food consumers back in touch with farmers.
Does this only work on the level of small-scale farming and direct
marketing? I don't think so. Large brokers and retail outlets, too, can be
loyal to their suppliers.
Flickerville Mountain Farm & Groundhog Ranch
Nothing is easy. The best is worth the effort.
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command