I just ate a big, fat, delicious, golden-yellow tomato. Straight off the vine and into my mouth, one juicy bite after another… nothing but water to accompany it. The smell of the leaves still lingers on my hands.
“Organic” food used to be one way to connect more directly to the farmers who produce our food – and give them a bigger proportion of our food dollars. Salon
has an interesting article
(and equally interesting letters
) on how that is becoming more and more difficult to do.
Over the weekend I saw a documentary
on the decline of rural communities – of one particular community – Delafield, Minnesota. It was a moving, personal story, but it offered no solutions, only frustration, anger and most of all sorrow.
I kept thinking, they keep choosing the wrong path, following the phantom of financial efficiency into ruin. In their goal to feed more and more families from the output of a single farm, they give up their ability to feed just one – their own.
The many families they feed are abstract, indirect, unknown. The family they fail is right in front of them. There has to be a better way – one that starts with self-sufficiency.
I think people like David Kline and Wendell Berry are on the right track, but it takes courage – and faith – for farmers to walk away from the system of giant agribusiness and government payments that has kept them going (but just barely) for so long.
At the end of the film, the narrator (director Mark Brodin) says, “I wonder at a future without rural churches, small communities and family farms. I know it’s not a future America wants, but we’re on that road.”
I am no farmer, and I’ve always lived in or near cities, so take this with a huge grain of salt – or even better, take this as an invitation to teach me. What can we do together to change that road?