There was an opinion piece in the New York Times this week entitled Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers that I’m sure you have all seen. If it hasn’t been shared with you dozens of times via Facebook, twitter and email, it must be that you are not a farmer.
If you have read the article I want to let you know – that isn’t us. We do not have off the farm jobs. We do not rely on, or receive, any Department of Agriculture or foundation grants. We are not operating at a loss. We are not in a neo-feudal relationship, working the fields of wealthy landowners. We are not former hedge fund managers or tax lawyers. We are not hobby farmers. We don’t even take an agricultural exemption on our land. We don’t have a new tractor and we don’t have any bank loans (other than the mortgage on the farm).
On the other hand, we are low-income and there is what we consider unfair competition out there. The non-profit farms we feel would do better to use their foundation money to sell vegetables at cost to low-income families. The out-of-state vegetable delivery schemes should stop calling themselves local and stop calling themselves CSA’s. I am angered when I see so many out-of-state farm trucks at local farmer’s markets. Even though we do not sell at farmer’s markets, this affects the market for all of us.
The article may not have been meant to induce guilt in the very people who do support small farms, but that is how it is being shared and that is wrong.
The people who support small farms – you – are the only reason farms like ours exist. Do not feel guilty, you are doing your part. What we need is more people like you. Just like you. People who know the value of fresh food and small farms. People who put their money where their mouths are.
Right now we are at a critical part of the year. The money from spring is almost gone and we have fall shares to sell. Fall is never as popular as spring/summer, but it is essential for us to sell shares in both seasons in order to continue farming. I didn’t write this as a sales pitch, but farmers make hay and the sun is shining 🙂
What I am asking is that if you share the Times article, please include ways that people can help local farms and the farmers who work them. If you haven’t signed up for a fall share, consider signing up now, and if you have signed up – thank you – please consider telling your friends about us and why you love us. A good review on local harvest never goes amiss either.