P.S. Me and another farmer have been making a weekly trip to Chicago to
sell pork and eggs. Its been going pretty well. We are still working out
the logistics of selling chickens. (Processing and distribution is a
serious problem of farmer direct marketing.) I've been roasting at least
one pig each weekend. It has not been an easy task but we are very near
not needing a commodity hog market. Next weekend will be our first two
events to go and sell pork sandwiches and kielbasa. We just picked up our
new concession trailer (and Licensed kitchen) this Monday. It has been fun
working with various health departments to get permits to cook and process
our pork. (Regulations and even knowledge of the rules by various health
departments and FSIS are also a serious obstacle for small farmers.) I
think Joel Salitin is right that in the end it is the persistent that
Very soon we will put up a post about our 3rd annual field day. It will be
the 21st of August. The meal (roast pork) will start at 2:00. Come and
join us for a farm tour, presentations on sustainable agriculture by area
farmers, a consumer, land grant, and a rural advocy group. We expect USDA
officials, state and national legislators, Farm orginization
representatives, prominent midwest chefs, and consumers.
> From: Lester Loam <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Cc: email@example.com
> Subject: RE: obstacles to sustainable ag
> Date: Thursday, July 29, 1999 8:28 AM
> "Emily Young" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >...What do sustainable agriculture farmers need that they don't now
> >Specifically, can you think of a niche for a business or a group that
> >support farmers? or make essential partners? I have been looking into
> >farming co-ops, food processing plants, distribution firms,
> >education/training, business incubators, and information systems
> >for sustainable agriculture, ...
> These all sound like good ideas, especially if they help farmers get a
> larger percentage of what consumers spend on food and there is incentive
> farmers to think and act for the long-term.
> We must exercise care that these new marketing channels don't pick up
> of the bad havits of the old system. For example, just because there is
> great market for organic soybeans, farmers should resist the temptation
> plant more than their farming system can handle. (Beans aren't great for
> erosion-prone soils.) Middlemen must resist the temptation to skim off
> much profit at the expense of farmgate prices.
> The ultimate partnership that must be forged is between farmers and
> consumers. If you survey sustainable farmers, you'll find one of the big
> needs that they express is to educate more consumers to value what they
> produce and be willing to pay what it's worth. (I don't have a citation
> this. But I think if you check out the surveys done by the Organic
> Research Foundation, you'll find something like this.)
> I don't want to speak for Greg Gunthorp (a frequent sanet contributor),
> I think that's what he's trying to do. He's got hogs raised in a way
> is kind to the environment (as well as low cost). Now he's trying to
> way to get them to consumers who think what he's doing is a good idea.
> Sustainable farmers need a bigger pool of consumers willing to go out of
> their way to do this, and they need help with the logistics of getting
> products to those consumers. In this age of fast food, mega-supermarkets
> with slotting fees, and consumers who are too busy to cook very much,
> is no small task.
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