Monday, February 25, 2013

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Every time there is some sort of food recall or outbreak of food poisoning involving conventional production, someone in the sustainable/alternative/organic sector cheers…”I TOLD YOU SO!” the comments following this article.

When Stanford released its study stating that organic produce is not necessarily more nutritious or has less pesticide residue…it’s just more expensive…I read countless articles from the conventional wing of Ag saying…”I TOLD YOU SO!”

Prop 37 in California had anti-GMO folks nationwide vocally supporting labeling, while saying nasty and un-true things about “the other side”.

Mark Lynas’ lecture at the Oxford Farming Conference had the supporters of GMO crops pointing out that most of the “information” about GMO’s had absolutely no basis in science. That one really got people talking.

The LOCAL FOOD crowd wants to demand/legislate/dictate that schools, food banks…everybody…feel it necessary to get their food from small, family farms within 50 to 300 miles.

But, our global community has global tastes…there are folks who desire strawberries in January and don’t mind that they came from a country they’ve never heard of...  They will fight for that right.

There is the whole crowd who has to shop “within a budget”…versus…those for whom “money is no object when it comes to feeding my family”.

Then, there is the bunch that thinks that EVERYTHING should be “chemical-free” and “hormone-free”.
These folks seem to miss the fact that without chemicals and hormones…we would have NO life! (more on that one another time)

The list could go on and on.

It seems there is no middle ground. Rather than attempt to understand a different viewpoint, it seems that a lot of folks would rather make rude comments and false accusations. The  constant bickering among the factions keeps any real progress from happening.

While it is true that the average consumer knows little about farm production and the animal rights groups are making things more and more difficult for farmers by spreading false seems that there is growing dissension within the various factions of Agriculture. Those who would identify themselves as “foodies” or “food activists” further muddy the waters.   The inability to recognize that there is actually room for all types of farm practices, farms of every size and the need for folks committed to farming may be far more harmful than any future regulations.  There is absolutely no reason to make disparaging remarks about any other type of farming…they all have their place.

We live in a country that prides itself on choice.  I applaud that choice.  I want that choice! I know other that people want that choice as well.

Yes, we are a small operation…producing and selling our farm products locally. But, we completely support our bigger, older Agricultural “brothers and sisters” whose farm models are nothing like ours. I would hope that they would support us as well. We know that there is no way we could supply everyone that would care to eat by following the model that works so very well on our small farm.  Part of the reason that it does work for us is the fact that our operation is so small. For us to demand that our model is the best...perfect...the ONLY way...and that everyone should follow our ways would be ridiculous. But, it works for us.

We have some customers that feel it absolutely necessary to have some sort of connection with the person who produced their food.  I am glad that there is FOOD to answer that need.

I know folks who shop strictly by what is the cheapest way to feed their family.  I am glad there is FOOD to answer that need.

There are people for whom food is nothing more than a way to stop that ache in the pit of their stomach.  I am glad there is FOOD to answer that need.

Some folks find great pleasure in the whole dining experience.  For them, there is a great delight in the rare food, the unusual source, the uncommon taste.  I am glad there is a FOOD to answer that need.

Whether it is eating a strawberry in January while living in an area with 2 feet of snow on the ground, making do with beans or mac and cheese, indulging in a little candy bar snack washed down with a diet MountainDew, or dining on the very finest organic produce and pasture-raised meat and eggs…the choice should be YOURS…and yours alone.

The same holds true for farming practices.  There are myriad reasons that a farming operation chooses one practice over another.  What works for one farm in a particular location may not be appropriate for any other operation. Farming practices do not come in a "one size fits all" package.

I am pretty sure that it will make someone…somewhere...mad for me to say that EVERY single farm and EVERY single farming practice has a place in feeding the world’s population. But, consider this… there are 7 billion people on the planet.  For any of us to assume that everyone should be “just like ME” is ludicrous.  It would also make the world a pretty boring place.

So, let’s revel in the fact that we DO have a food choice….a farming practice choice…and support each other in that privilege.

I have no idea how to finish this one, except to say...

Can't we all just get along?


  1. So thanks for finding my blog so that I could find your blog! This is a fantastic post. I SO concur. Right now I am reading "No More Food Fights" by Michelle Payn-Knoper who writes about having a more productive, less polarized discussion on food and food production practices. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

    1. What a small world! I, too am reading Ms. Payn-Knoper's book. It's great and I hope that the real, civil conversations can take place in many places.
      Thanks for your kind words. Best to you!