> My query concerned people's serious lack of understanding of where food comes
> from, e.g., not knowing that (most of) it starts out as plants or animals
> on farms. In summary, I would call the results underwhelming.
Admitting my own bias on (what seems to be) the opposite side of yours,
I'm a little disturbed that you seek to draw conclusions from such an
extraordinarily small and unscientifically collected data base.
> I have a small amount of evidence -- I won't say from where
Equally disturbing is your apparently broad generalization of ignorance on
the part of family farm and sustainable ag advocates based on "a small
amount of evidence" without even quoting the source - how can anyone be
expected to lend credibility to a statement without knowing the source?
> for example, that the number of corporate farms
> is tiny compared with the number of family farms,
Actually, this is the root of my concern about corporate concentration in
agriculture - the lack of diversity in ownership of production.
But comparisons based on farm numbers may be misleading. Do you have
stats as to the number of acres farmed, or units of production? Quote
the source, please, and give a definition of your dividing line between
"corporate" and "family."
> or that only a small
> fraction of cropland (roughly 1/5) is treated with insecticides.
Are you suggesting that 80% of the cropland in the U.S. is farmed without
the use of pesticides? If this is true, then I am indeed operating on
assumptions based in ignorance. But I find such an assertion
incredible. Again, please cite your source of information.
> if my (admittedly poorly substantiated) impression is correct, then
> instead of wringing our hands too much about how little the public knows
> about food
Actually, my concern is not that the general public is unaware that
vegetables are plants and meat is from animals - I really don't think
that's a problem. What *is* a problem, in my opinion, is that our
predominantly urban society is increasingly cut off from any direct
interaction with natural biological systems, whether wilderness or
farmland, but that they hold the majority decision-making power in
setting policies for stewardship of such resources. Such ignorance leads
to misleading perceptions such as the statement I saw recently in an
animal rights group's brochure stating that dairy farmers are cruel
because they keep a cow pregnant for 11 months out of the year.